There was a time when time was endless, When lost battles were only setbacks, When you and I would never change. We could always fix things, then, Tears were fleeting, and we knew That love would always win. We never realised that the tide was coming in, That we’d never find the missing piece of the jigsaw, That our hot chocolate would go cold. And so we dreamed of perfect summers, Of adventures without regrets, And days undarkened by fear.
The third in my series of self-critiqued breakup poems.
Strange feelingI called you love and maybe I was right But from the moment that we said the word We were forever tangled up in words: Phrases, weightier than feelings, drowned us, Built walls of difference and blame around us.
You can really over-analyse things, especially in your teens and early twenties. Before you have acquired enough experience to know what love means for you, you can spend a long time worrying about what you feel is in fact love. If you put two people together who are both inclined to over-analyse, you have a recipe for disaster.
This poem is really about how “phrases, weightier than feelings” can somehow mess things up. It’s a simple little thing and I think it works fine as far as it goes. Not sure whether I get away with the triple mixed metaphor… maybe I can pass it off as an illustration of how words get in the way of true expression, with words tangling us up, drowning us and hemming us in all at the same time.
What do you think – about the poem or the issue raised in it?
It’s really hard to critique your own poetry, but it’s what you need to do to get better at it. Here’s the next in this series of breakup poems, with accompanying comments. What do you think? Continue reading
Over the next few days I’ll be posting a short series of poems on breaking up, all of them written a while ago. This time I thought I’d do something a bit different and follow each one with a short critique. I really hope others will jump in and let me know what they think; am I being too hard on myself, or maybe not hard enough? Anyway, here’s the first.
The rain that day, too light to reach the pavement, Was borne on fine winds here and there, and brushed Our cheeks as we walked. The tiny droplets lined The black shoots of your hair, rested in dark Eyebrows. Remember me, that morning said. Vivid as ever you talked, your joy or grief (I don’t remember which it was this time) A monument to feeling, frank, confused, Gentle. I laughed at you sometimes, as if I found your sudden changing moods absurd; But still I hung around you, devoured your every word.
Today you laughed the way you used to, And the heavy years fell silently away. There was a you, once, who didn’t fear a thing, Who craved experience, not safety, Who painted life in colours now forgotten. There was a me, once, who loved you for all that, But now I love you for the heavy years, The years that washed away the daring colours And left us slightly faded, like postcards. Those years have brought us closer too, and yet I loved to hear you laugh today.