While out for a scroll the other day across the groups and pages where poetry is shared, a post caught my attention.
Someone wrote of previously having dropped a poem directly to the group, only for someone else to . . . Let’s not mince words. The ‘someone’, Fern Stone, is mid-twenties and female; while the critic male and heading the wrong side of middle-aged.
Cringe worthy stereotypes abounded from the latter with unabashed aplomb.
If assuming how this so far makes any woman reading feel, I risk falling into the same dark hole of misogyny. I might safely suggest based on what women have told me that it’s at least a sinking feeling and inner groan.
It—things like trying to buy a part for a motorbike, only to be asked ‘what model does your boyfriend have?’—can be relentless. Perhaps that should even say is.
What the grand old ‘expert’—of course there were all sorts of ridiculous credentials thrown-in as validation for the critique—said does not need repeating by me; plenty enough gist will be found below.
After all, I hadn’t seen it directly either when reading Fern’s reply. It wasn’t necessary. Her response says it all.
To emphasise how incredible I thought it, my comment included the offer to guest post (when accepted, I asked if there were any pics Fern would like included; turns out she’s also a make-up artist with tutorials on YouTube!).
In the following messages, Fern revealed only releasing a handful of poems into the wild, cautious of what the response/reaction might be; also that her poetic reply to the detractor might’ve come across as too sensitive.
I found sensitivity to be its core strength, it’s everything for it; so finely in tune as to stop in admiration of the slightest breeze, while having the quiet fortitude to gently, though thoroughly, crush any objection, regardless of size, standing in the way. The voice that rose—steady, measured, focused with absolute precision; while equally fully alive, brimming with feeling, emotion and something positive to give—in response to the grey negativity took my breath away.
Below is Fern Stone’s reply as it appeared on Facebook, though divided into two sections:
Addressing a problem I had a couple days ago with someone who could of easily made me not want to write anymore . I understand people love advice and critiques but I fear some can be very disabling and quite hurtful to the point of not wanting to write . So hopefully this will show how I feel and it comes across ok and hope that you have an open mind that It’s not that I think I’m a great writer when I don’t take advice it’s just that I’m not looking to better myself as really I write for fun and therapy. I’m happy with the way I write , it does well at making me feel better about a situation .
I have written poems since I was young
Never for competitions, books or shows
I’ve used it as a form of release
Easier for me, than to directly word my woes.
What I mean by that , is this;
Metaphors , visuals , colours and rhyme
Allow my inner child to dance
And my pain to spill out like wine
Dark and red all over the page
Love , joy , hope and change
Or depression, anxiety and rage
Can sink into pages like a stain
A stain of my souls true meaning
Poured out into painted words
If this doesn’t look like a poem to you
Then YEAH that really hurts
Because if poems,
Can be a sentence long
Or can be spoken out loud,
In a rap or a song
And the definition of a poem
Is “an expression of feelings and ideas”
Then I must defend what I’ve done for years
I appreciate stanzas
In perfect lengths
Neatly wrote out
I think they are strengths
Poems about history
Politics and war
But I also adore poems that are
Unruly and free
A “ stream of consciousness“
Is fine by me
I like a poem that makes me feel connected
Whether it’s calculated or momentary
I want to be injected,
With a dose of daily tears
Or a smile met with laughter
An understanding of others fears
Or a happily ever after
Advice is not my enemy
The advice I’ve got from mentors
Have saved me
Criticism is not my demon
Critiques I’ve got from teachers have changed me
Been kind to me
But to be told my work is screaming for attention
By a random stranger,
Fills me with apprehension
Alerts me DANGER! DANGER!
Being told I need ‘tough love’
By a man who does not own me
Telling me what I need , it was triggering ,
and then to isolate me…
Telling me other readers
Would not look at my poem as a poem
Made me want to run and hide
And I don’t even know him .
Anyway , to conclude this speech
I really just want to say
If I want your opinion I will ask
If not then please refrain .
I’m a sensitive soul ,
I write for fun and therapy
I don’t want to change my ways right now
If I do I will ask happily.
Don’t let anyone tell you what you need
Or that your art isn’t art
Keep strong and scribble on
I mean that from the heart .
Fern might only be taking tentative steps with where her poetry is shared, but they’re solid ones; having also created a spoken word video using not only her footage, but also music.
Talent like this needs celebrating, its praises sung from rooftops; to be shared for all to see, appreciate and enjoy; not berated by some old fart well-beyond his sell-by date, if, that is, they were ever before it to begin with.
The poem that started it all will be coming to these pages as another guest post soon; in the meantime checkout the links below!
All content attributed to and images of Fern Stone are Copyright © Fern Stone 2021
Find more Fern Stone here:
Thanks for reading 🙂
N. P. Ryan