Fear makes tyrants of us all. Of you I’ve been warned.
Petty and small the view, you just might steal from me;
affection is the key I guard most zealously
to all doors opening and wonder at the pain
with deep security that never goes away.
And so you write of grief, the twists and darkling turns
to feign a lack of joy, these creases I have earned
sweet misery crowds in, yet lonely do I feel.
Two masters cannot be in service to the one;
cast off and leave behind memories of sorrow.
In every pairing lies treasures immeasurable
accessible to only hearts undivided;
the mind serene sees true, all else dissolves like salt.
Let’s call a halt and throw to fiction tyranny,
let this romance begin, love’s certainty to win.
In my previous post, “Punic Threads: An Alexandrine Fantasy”, I had all I could handle with 12-syllable lines and an ABCD rhyme scheme. This time, I’ve abandoned rhyme to give the hemistich (a.k.a. medial caesura) a whirl. This is a 6-6 division in each alexandrine line that creates a natural pause in reading. The ancients sometimes denoted the pause visually, with so-called double pipes ||. In this poem, I’ve opted to italicize the second half of the line to show the break, and to indicate a dialogue between left and right…the warring selves, the brain hemispheres?
As a tribute to the Spanish romanza, which I do not claim this to be, each half may be read on its own, downward, to give you a sense of the opposing views that reach harmony at the end.
(p.s. I didn’t completely achieve 6-6. There are a few 7-5s in there.)
© Elaine Stirling, 2014
Ulysses resisting the Sirens,
ancient mosaic from the Bardo Museum, Tunis,
photographed by author