The First, In Lieu Of

       You said this wasn’t how it’s meant to end—
       you even wrote it down in your own hand
       as though that made more meaningful its stand
       against the close we’d wanted to pretend
       already had against our bid been penned.
       Did not you always have our next month planned
       out in advance, each word at your command
       prepared to voice what you might chance intend?

       You knew I’d swallow it. I never learn
       to wait to see what’s coming past the break.
       I thought tomorrow wasn’t my concern
       as long as there was time enough to burn
       enough to let what’s burnt feel free to ache
       past loving love. Still, now where do I turn?
                                   [posted for Sara as of date written]

1 Response to “The First, In Lieu Of”

  1. 2013.07.23 at 12:19 pm

    A beautifully written Petrarchan sonnet, and a wonderful part of what was to have been an exquisite sonnet crown! Going through notebooks Sara left, we’re only now beginning to see how far this stretched.

    Her ending line here —

    past loving love. Still, now where do I turn?

    — chains over to her opening line for The Second, Before

    “Past loving, love still.” Now where do I turn

    — for which the final line would string over to her third sonnet, and so on. Eventually, the final line of some future sonnet would then circle back around to the first line of this one —

    You said this wasn’t how it’s meant to end—

    Originally Sara had intended the 30th of this sequence to circle back, since she had made it harder on herself by doing this sonnet crown in response to the November 2010 daily prompts from Poetic Asides. Challenging, since she had her overall sonnet crown theme, her initial line of each new sonnet, a building history of rhymes she didn’t want to repeat, yet wouldn’t know in advance what forthcoming prompts would require of her. Her own notes shrug at that demanding set of conditions, questioning whether it’s any more demanding than fitting our lives into any emerging events.

    She intended her first line here to echo the first line of my own Sonnet 1. Mine was for a sonnet chain planned and carried out to be 100 sonnets long. But mine was far easier than Sara was reaching for — I was not using the more demanding Petrarchan form; and I didn’t mind repeating rhymes and even particular end words; and I had no comprehensive theme other than to tell some of my tale to my friend; and I had no daily prompt to fit to.

    Mine was far easier in one other respect that we’ve only recently discovered in her notebooks — instead of only 30 sonnets, she had mapped out a huge cycle of 360, carefully repeating each rhyme set 12 times throughout the full series. She’d seen the early drafts of a similar sonnet chain I’m writing, and she had hoped this chain of hers might make me smile.

    She was trying to reach me at the time. I speak some about this in a note to my poem Waking Promise. I don’t turn against a friend nor run away, like some malicious gossip has claimed. Only those who don’t really know the liar very well at all find it easy to believe that lie. And any like Sara who know me at all know better than to ever think me gone. Most of the detail of that time is more private than I care to disclose, but the personal space of Sara was being directly threatened by a sexual predator who had latched on to me through a friend who then advised me to just shrug it off. I needed to put distance between him and Sara while I fought for myself alone. Sara was calling out for me here the only way she knew how, and she did hear me whispering back, from this very first sonnet.

    But all that’s the personal private side of this. As a very accessible public poem, it is every bit as fine a piece, even without any explanation of form and content.

    And her voice lives on. This WAS how her work IS meant to NEVER end.

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