Posted by: John Looker | 21 June, 2015

Moonstruck

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A warm summer evening with shooting stars overhead and glow-worms in the long grass, the hum of holiday traffic and the perfume of night-scented flowers suspended in the slow-moving air.

Here in the garden the party-goers’ voices rising higher than each other, music playing, and intimations of Persia or Arabia with glasses of sherbet, silk-clad women and sword-bearing men. 

And before him her eyes: lovely as lowland water, so bright on the surface but veiled in the depths, and a spell cast over him.

Caught in the wrong spell, his phial of love-potion dashed to the ground and he, made invisible, knowing she looks right through him.

© John Looker 2015

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Responses

  1. “lovely as lowland water” is just exquisite in all its nuances. You have inspired me to post a poem that I wrote some time ago, which draws from a similar experience, I hope you enjoy it, as I have this poem.

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    • It’s very good to hear from you Kalila, as I make a point of looking out for your own poems. I agree that there are similarities, in mood and scenario, between my poem and your latest – which I love.

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  2. How beautiful! A moment of failed intimacy unnoticed by the other party-goers but laid bare before the reader. We feel a little guilty for watching. And I agree with Kalila about ‘lovely as lowland water’. A vivid image – we want those eyes to notice us as well! But we’re invisible at the party too – just as he is by the end. Spells make people invisible (‘a spell cast over him’) – and this lovely, multi-levelled piece of writing casts a spell of a different type too. Clever and – to agree with Kalila again – exquisite.

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  3. This is a departure from your customary shorter poetic line, John. And yet I wouldn’t call it a prose poem…..it is much finer cut than that. Nor does it seem to be of that new genre called flash fiction, which seems to be growing on the blogosphere….though it is indeed narrative and cinematic. A puzzlement, full of your usual gorgeous imagery, that I have been re-reading , enjoying, and wondering what to say about….

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    • The long lines came naturally as a kind of incantation. I tried various ways of breaking them up but always reinstated them. I did however tinker with them, borrowing certain features from the sonnet. Thank you for your interest Cynthia. You are both supportive and helpfully challenging.

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  4. So interesting, John. I’ve re-read the poem in the light of what you say here, paying close attention to rhythm and I hear it! The iambic meter,intentionally, beautifully,regular but musically relieved by other kinds of feet.

    I was caught by the visual difference, on the page, between prose and poetry, which is, essentially, the line, and the line as the size of a breath…the line as our “clue” that we are about to read a poem. These lines need to be read for sound—but their “look” on the page fooled me into neglecting that, I am sorry to say.
    If it “looks” more like prose than a typical poem, one may tend to read it more quickly, to get to the point, rather than amble along and taste it a bit at a time. (The downside of too much to read, in too little time these days, maybe.)

    I’m glad you were true to your intuition in the end, and thank you for a new experience of the poem as well as a good thing to think about!

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    • You’re right about the visual clues to poetry and prose. I think other people browsing WP must have had the same reaction. Decisions, decisions! 🙂

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      • Layout can be important, visually. For instance, I continue to think center-justified is a gimmick and a crutch. And, as Mrs. Slocombe would say, I am unanimous in that! 🙂

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  5. as Charles Mingus once put it, ‘Ah, um”. Beautiful, John.

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    • ‘Beautiful’ is generous, Jim. ‘Ah, um!” Is pretty encouraging too!

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  6. Lovely, John. The feel of a party and the eyes meeting… Love is in the air 🙂

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