Thursday, May 20, 2010

I love this poem from Alexandra Teague's new book Mortal Geography. The two parts of the poem are the exact same words, in the exact same order -- only the punctuation is different. But they tell wildly different stories about the narrator's feelings for her beloved. Apart from the technical skill (which is amazing), I admire how this poem says something about the thin line between love and hate, how it can turn on a pin.

Two Drafts Written After a Fight
by Alexandra Teague


Do I love you: yes or no?
The question: Is love a figure of speech?

I do - sometimes. Everyone wonders about our love; still,
there can be no doubt I have been true (almost always).

Happily remembering the start of our romance; it seemed
so promising ...

And is love continual happiness or not?
Is not what matters?

I cannot tell you who I want to spend my life with.
Enough about our love.


Do I love you? Yes or no - the question is, love,
a figure of speech. I do.

(Sometimes everyone wonders.)
About our love, still, there can be no doubt.

I have been true, almost always happily
remembering the start of our romance;

it seemed so promising, and is. Love,
continual happiness or not is not what matters.

I cannot tell you, who I want to spend my life with,
enough about our love.



Emily Lloyd said...

Ahhh! Well done, especially those last two lines.

This is still one of my favorites.

Peter said...

Hi Emily: glad you enjoyed the Teague poem. I think it's brilliant.

In fact, I want to copy the form. I admired it so much.