Monday, July 25, 2011
The last conversation
Back here in Portland, it was different.
Everything I knew was here, alive.
What I’d left behind seemed a dream,
good dream, yes, but an escape, not real,
only a dream, nothing more than that,
memory, fondness, no regret, silence.
What I heard was not a silence.
It was not what I knew before, but different,
a memory, I agree, a song, and more than that,
bursting with life, living, breathing, alive,
etched in my mind, my heart, a real
life, a first life, more than only a dream.
How can it be more than a dream,
you there, me here, subsiding into silence,
here where it lessens its hold on the real,
fading to a fleeting moment, different
than what is before me now, when I’m alive
when I’ve become more than that.
We spoke of a future, nothing less than that,
I did not invent our words in a dream;
we moved in time, the first time feeling alive,
touching our hearts especially in the silence
we both knew was profoundly different,
even from what we didn’t before we were real.
It is my life here, not there, that’s real.
It is my life here, my reality here, that
is what I want, always, nothing different.
What we had was good but it was a dream;
the dream is gone, leaving behind it the silence,
and it is our silence that must remain alive.
What we had was dead then, is not now alive;
I believed it as a love that was real.
You’re leaving me with an empty silence,
a scarred nothing, a bleeding hole that
has sucked emptiness from a dream, our dream,
a hope that this time we would be different.
I will only look back at that
now and see the end of a dream
that was only a cliché, nothing different.
Over at The High Calling, there is a photo play prompt for capturing a conversation, using background, angle or distance to establish the context of the image, convert it to black and white (no one said this was simple), post it on the High Calling Flickr group page, and then tag it.
I did not take the photograph above, but I did find it online and figured out how to convert a color photo to black and white; that’s as far as some photographically challenged person like myself could go (but I was very proud of myself for figuring out the conversion). But the photo prompt also said that if you were poetically inclined, you could join L.L. Barkat and Dave Wheeler and write a sestina poem about a conversation. Since I was also sestina-poetry challenged, I almost gave it up. But even I could follow the step-by-step instructions found here and here. And also here. (Nobody said this was going to be easy, and they were absolutely right. This took some research!)
So that’s what the above poem is, sort of (I hope I got it right but I’m too exhausted to care at this point): a sestina, a poem that uses the last words of the lines in the first stanza in a specifically structured repetition. A sestina has six stanzas of six lines each, and then a final stanza of three lines.