a chance never spoken
resolved through inaction
sadder i, no wiser
in terminal decline

still uncomprehending
life, love and laughter
hostages to fortune
at a ransom i can’t pay

thus i kneel at the altar
of misanthropic futures
cursed and reviled
by those who know no doubt

so bring me a winding sheet
kiss me, despair for me
then go and leave me
to drown in the dark

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  1. damommza

     /  August 7, 2011

    Love the visual of a “winding sheet” as it sets the entire ending of the poem. I got stuck at the homophones “know/no” as they impeded the flow with the redundancy of sound but the overall poem truly was “dark”. it’s the perfect title too!

    • Interesting. This poem began with the line “bring me a winding sheet” and was built around it. One thing I always do, with all my poetry, is recite it (in my head, I am incredibly bad at reciting aloud) to check the flow and scansion. Prior to starting this blog nobody ever saw my poetry, so it never occurred to me that others may not find it so straightforward, but here my reading puts the stress on the first or second syllable of each line, so you have “by THOSE who-know-no-doubt” which allows the line to tail off slightly, easing the flow. Having said that homophones and alliteration have a habit of sneaking into my poetry, and I have to keep a watch for them.

  2. damommza

     /  August 7, 2011

    A “winding sheet” is not an oft used phrase and so it is evocative and filled with great imagery. A “shroud” doesn’t have the same weight as it appears (at least to me) as a simple noun, just an item. A winding sheet brings forth images of hands, cold, pale, attending to the dead. The corpse, blind, unfeeling, great silence, lonliness, etc. I would have liked it at the beginning to set the tone as the poem becomes “darker” at it’s mention.

    The other interpretation of the line “By those who know no doubt” is “By those who know, no doubt” meaning the speaker has no doubt that this is what the others think as opposed to the other’s having no doubt about what they believe.

    When I read your poems I look for the word, the phrase, that brings the whole poem to light. You have pretty much done it in every poem and it is a joy to find it. Sometimes I have to read the poem more than once, other times in different voices (speaker vs listener) but I am seldom disappointed. 🙂

    • An alternative read of “who know, no doubt” wouldn’t work, I don’t think, as it adds an element of questioning when he is comparing himself to others he perceives as full of a certainty he does not possess.

      The poem starts and builds from the idea of him being bound by doubt, indecision and lack of self worth, but the winding sheet, when introduced, becomes an external binding, he no longer has to take responsibility for his inability to act (except, of course, he has asked for it), and can sink into death, of ego or body, thus introducing it too early would alter the structure of the poem.

      I like the lines “kiss me, despair for me; then go and leave me” because they show, for all his lack of involvement with the world, he is still demanding the world care about him.

  3. Ai fink dis be too dark for me right now. Ai has a happi, though, that u be showing ur great poetry to teh world and ai has a even bigger happi for peeps laik damommza who can discuss it wif u. Ai is no good at discussing it, ai just appreshiates it. Sumtimes it makes me happi, sumtimes sad, but is awlways good to read. {{{Sunovawot}}} + {{{damommza}}}

    • Ohai Upfi, not one of my more cheerful pomes I agree, and definitely not one to read if you need something to cheer you up. {{{Upfi}}}


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