Friday, April 13, 2012

three sonnets on a theme

Lost (game, set, and match)

The games we seem to need to play,
with their profusion of costumes and tools,
do not raise us above the beasts, as some might say.
Beasts, when they play at all, abide by their few rules
of engagement, without recourse to the referee.
It’s we folk, in our queerness (as they say up north)
Who resort to the sly dig when no-one can see;
our disregard of fairness calling forth
a matched response from our opposition;
cries of ‘foul!’, and ‘just try that again…’,
inevitable recourse to greater ammunition,
and ignoring the ball, in pursuit of the pain.

Even the language of ‘lose’ and ‘win’
echoes the concepts of ’grace’ and ‘sin‘.

Lost (in translation)

All the edifices are erected:  neat,
with their separate garden plots and motley doors.
Terraced houses on suburban street,
and each frank face, each one implores
us look!  And look again - these are my eyes.
And there, disclosed behind the curtain-net,
this one irons and that one plans goodbyes,
these drink their wine, and others frig, or fret.

And in each room a television glows,
and on each screen a disembodied face.
And in each mind suspicion slowly grows
That by our separate-ness we’ve lost all trace -
All trace of individuation
lost.  Lost in the translation.

Lost (for words)

I don’t have a poem for her.  Words
like love, bled out in lead-hot shower
long ago.  Limbs severed by swords,
lives scythed down;  red poppies in the flower
of their youth, terminated.
Wounds picked at by clacking crows.
Life and Love and Breath abated,
yet still the cold blood somehow flows.

Oh, but I loved her.
To the depth and breadth that my soul
could reach*.  Lost her
and my self.  Stranded, drown-ded, beached, dead-cold.

We Enemies, hearing voices in the mist,
took aim, gave shot, and…  missed.

*with thanks to W.S.  If one must steal, steal from the rich…


  1. This is a cool series of sonnets, Bruce. The play on the iron curtain of 'Lost(in translation)' makes for a fascinating dimension.

    1. tks, Brad. i hadn't considered that particular connection (and i LOve when that happens, btw), but of course you're right - it's about barriers, and (in)tangibility...

  2. Brilliant. Razor-sharp and enduring in my mind, that's for sure.

    1. hi Matthew John D. my, what a way with an epithet you have! u cn drop by any time..


  3. You've just become one of my favourite writers for dragging me to places I've been trying to reach myself for a long time.


  4. hi B

    you've just become one of my favourite readers...