Phewee. Took me ages to actually get around to this. Sorry about the delay. Without further ado:
For this, I’ll stay on a general basis, because I think that there’s quite a bit here worth playing with. I’ll be brutally honest with you and tell you straight away that while you have a lot of potential here, my advice to unlock this potential will be to strip your current poem to the bare bones and draft a more concise version. Like a phoenix out of the ash. Or a new spring following upon winter, as it were.
The seasons as a life and death cycle have very often been done in poetry. Therefore it is difficult to pull a poem like yours off without drifting off into cliché. I feel that you were aware of that danger while you wrote your piece and did your best to avoid clichés. Kudos for that. I’ll try and nudge you in the right direction where I feel you could use a little help. Mostly that means I’ll try and give you the confidence to be a little more oblique. Trust your readers to “figure it out.” In particular I’m thinking about lines like these:
Autumn, my Reaper,
so full of life but only bringing death.
As I said, the seasons mirroring the cycle of life is so much a part of most Western cultures that these lines come off as extremely cliché. Patronizing, almost, if you see what I mean. Also, there is no need to capitalize the seasons.
My advice then would be this: Right now you’re amalgamating the seasons with the story of a love who spends time with the narrator over the summer. Autumn comes to bode a separation in the immediate future. Winter – the narrator is alone. Spring – the loved one returns. The poem uses the seasons to illustrate the relationship. Instead, what would the poem look like if the seasons symbolized the relationship? You could rely on your readership’s knowledge of the symbolism of seasons and carry your point across without ever mentioning a relationship.
Essentially, I am talking about turning the whole of the poem from simile to metaphor. To help you get a grip on this idea, try and remove both the lyrical I
from the poem. Try to work around it.
A second point I wish to touch upon is wordiness. I think the word count of this poem can be reduced quite a bit. That’ll make it more crisp and snappy. The root of this problem, I believe is two-fold.
Firstly, the poem sometimes feels like it’s rambling on, re-iterating very similar points in merely slightly varied language. Let me give you a few examples:
Autumn carries flames
through the sunlit sky.
“carries flames” already gives me the idea of a “sunlight sky”, so this can be just one line:
“Autumn carries flames through the sky”
and the fallen leaves bathe in it.
The soak it in, red and wet
Bathe, then soak. That’s saying the same thing twice, essentially.
“Cold”, “wind” and “cold wind” re-appear quite a lot in the second half of the poem.
My heart will grow still and frozen as the earth
and only the soft caress of Spring will melt it.
It’ll lie in waiting
until the warm breeze blows away the wreckage Autumn left,
Here’s another instance where basically the same thing is said twice in a row.
The second piece of advice I have on making the poem shorter and snappier is to try and remove unimportant words like pronouns and prepositions and conjunctions, wherever possible. Couple examples:
the jagged edges cut at her veins,
-> jagged edges cut at her veins
and the fallen leaves bathe in it.
-> fallen leaves bathe in it.
I hope this helps, and I hope I didn’t come across as harsh. As I said, you’re onto something good here. Just keep at it. Ganbatte.