Description: As it stands, this is a bit too rhymey for my taste. I need some advice. I have not written in a very long time, but felt that familiar pull tonight. Criticism is welcome, but be gentle, at least to start.
Okay, constructive criticism. I don't like the title, I feel like it is not in line with what the poem is conveying to me at least. The strengths of the writing are actually the rhyme and the vast ground covered within, throughout we see this person expected to rage and burn brightly, to be up on a pedestal, or terrible to behold in her power. The poem resolves this bluster beautifully, with a very strong ending, where she is seen more truthfully. To call that a downgrade however, to me is too negative and ultimately does not attack people's perception or expectation of her, it kind of sides with the spectators more than the subject. Kind of like if you called someone "degraded", rather than question someone else's behavior as "degrading". You are in effect saying she has been downgraded to nothing but a lonely girl, but that is where the reader should be empathising rather than feeling superior. So, for those reasons I think you could reconsider the title.
As for the rhymes I have no problem with most of them and in fact found them to be effective. There's not many that seem strained and they simply add to the poem without overstating themselves by being clever, rather they just accentuate the movement of the poem.
I agree with Daniel Barlow about these two being questionable:
spiraling but to no affair
Not even a heavy rain
But they are phrased so strangely that they interest me, like he says, consider changing these or the lines around them, but try not to lose anything, the rhyme of "affair" could be a key to unlocking the poem, turning train however, is awkward to me, but that's because I've never heard that phrase before as a colloquialism, but that's just me, if it;s something you want to go with, go with it.
"no tidal waves
no mass graves"
I love these two, they actually provide the poem with colour, as if the graves were underwater, even though they aren't there, you;re still conveying a lot in six words, it builds up with the natural disaster imagery of the hurricane set up earlier.
Can I ask why you have used little punctuation? It's not a negative to the poem, it makes it feel uncontained to me, more wild, but if you don;t mind I;d like to know as a writer why you chose to do it this way. I have issues with my own punctuation where sometimes I use it and sometimes I don;t, and sometimes I use it badly. So I'm interested in your choice here.
To be honest, I like this poem, I don't think it needs much tampering with. I think if you made the title more to do with the woman/girl, even if you called it lonely girl, or woman, it would have more unity overall, that or something referring to the climate events described.
If your not sure about this because of it being overly rhymey, maybe you should continue with things like this until you are comfortable. A simple rhyme can feel transgressive in this day and age, with modern poetry seen as having nothing to do with rhyme, but it's good to go against the tide, I do think it's turning back myself.
Strong start, strong ending and plenty of movement in between. It's a good read.
I actually thought this was full of the goods, JanePlane.
I feel the opening is compelling & full of awesomeness,
but i do think you could turn away from the rhyme @ spiralling....
spiralling, of no account.
Return to it thereafter.
The four lines that follow: line 2 seems a little off or under put or something, but i'd encourage working on those verses rather than easily throwing them away.
Rhyme is rhyme, rhythm is rhythm, i suggest
Saying... 'not even a single human death' which, i don't know, i think it makes it mere and therefore strident.
Then you could put
in their own lines which is a shout back/out to that mere thing and really helps control the pace, land on a point and counteract/control the rhyme thing.
The poem is really good, like you're the author, you created it, but i can read it how i want- and the poem is really there, just needs a little thought on it, and that's great, you gotta love to write. :)