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A collaboration over too much coffee.
coffee and pen

03 September, 2005

Poem for N.A.

You wear your darkness like a cape,
comfort-clung with the ease of years,
trust requited in its drape:
perfect sanctuary for fears.

Each languid swish fans the air,
unsettles winking stars like dust:
sequined specks in a cloud of hair
that shimmer with each gentle gust.

But these are no fairy lights:
no friendly goblins’ tease and play,
nor merry dance of elves and sprites
to keep a wicked witch away.

For they are fires lit by shades
to cleanse the fearful night of dread,
and light a way through pain-hung glades
to take the living to the dead.



Blogger Alex said...

:-) thank you...

05 September, 2005 16:44  
Blogger david raphael israel said...

to find simple A/B/A/B rhyme-stanzas handled so deftly & subtly as this, is a pleasure.

The first stanza seems "almost perfect" -- marred (if I may say so) by what feels like a poss. rhythmical misstep with the word "santuary." A pity, too, since meaning-wise, sanctuary fits so well. The only word my thesaurus proposes in lieu of santuary -- which fits better rhythm-wise, but might be too vague meaning-wise? -- is "harborage." The line "trust required in its drape" is so strangely suave, the toe-bump on sanctuary comes as a let-down. Hence my pendantic ministration.

Perhaps this kind of "workshoppish" treatment isn't suitable for a newbie to this board.

If you'll excuse one further such gesture -- might you consider adding one word to line 5 of the poem? thus:
| Each languid swish that fans the air

either that, or else the 6th line could be
| unsettling winking stars like dust

-- either of those would clear up the grammar just a tad, imho.

The 2nd half of the poem is bold -- well really the whole poem presents a bold kind of idealisation. (It suggests a writer having read much & deeply in & into the honored poet's work.)

In certain respects, the poem harks back to a realm of ideas one associates with (e.g.) the 19th century (and beyond). [from this p.o.v., maybe something so arcane as "harborage" could be contemplated; must say, I don't know if I'd stand for somebody else proposing word-changes in my poetry, so I do apologize for the horrid manners]


06 September, 2005 20:26  
Blogger SPECKLED_BAND said...

David, thank you :) To elucidate:

"Each languid swish.../unsettles winking stars..." are two sentences unconnected, hence the comma after 'air' - I could have used 'and' (the only possible connector) before 'unsettles', but that would have detracted. 'That' is definitely out of the question in the first line: it is NOT "Each languid swish THAT fans the air", it is "Each languid swish fans the air", saying what the swish does (it fans the air, it ALSO unsettles, etc.)

"Harborage"?? Oh no! Sanctuary it is! More familiar, more elegant (therefore less clumsy), and certainly appropriate!

06 September, 2005 23:51  
Blogger SPECKLED_BAND said...

And David, it is 'trust requited' - meaning trust returned - not 'trust required' as you have typed! World of a difference :)

07 September, 2005 00:06  
Blogger david raphael israel said...


thanks for clearing up my confusions there. The "requited" I did note (and appreciate), but misquoted, my bad. Worse was my missing (somehow not seeing!) the comma at end of the line ("Each languid swish..."). Of course with the comma, the lines are right. So my bad again. And I can understand favoring santuary to something so murky as harborage.

Next time I should read more closely if I'm going to be commenting w/ particularity.


07 September, 2005 20:33  
Anonymous graham said...

if i may, i too would like to offer my thanks. yes, it could be made more perfect but surely it's imperfection creates a greater link to human emotion and, more importantly for me, gave me something i needed, in just the moment i needed it. thank you for helping to release the tears that have lain hidden all day.

05 September, 2007 04:26  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh my.... i have just noticed my inapproriate use of apostrophy in my comment. please forgive my 'it's'. i write this in u.k. time of 00:29 hours and it has been a long, long emotional day for me.

05 September, 2007 05:01  

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