We move at nights as if through sliding sands,
hands cupped.  They’re true sands of a sort–time’s grains,
brain’s siftings–what shifts down from the dreams we man,
woman.  We’re close, yet sleep’s a lonely lane,
feigns, only, a residing populace.

You kiss me back, when I kiss you, surfacing,
pacing contact like swimmers pace the turn,
churn, of head, the breaths in crawl’s spacing,
hastening–but slowly (for in these dunes,
moon’s dominions, all snails glue-footed)–to sink,
unthink, unlink, ourselves, slipping down,
‘round, into, oblivion’s sole skin.

Gingerly, we reach–when self once more floats up
cup-palmed–to catch, to hold–but soft– but softly–touch.


Here’s a sort of sonnet, inspired originally by the wonderful chained-rhyme Scrimshaw Sonnet, of Hedgewitch, Joy Anne Jones.  I am posting it also for dVerse Poets Pub Prompt, by the inimitable Brian Miller (!), called “breaking and entering” about using a form but also breaking the form.  In this case, I’ve used very poor slant rhyme at times, and there’s at least an extra foot or two in the last line!  Plus I’ve broken up the sonnet in an odd place–after the fifth line, rather than sixth or eighth.

This poem has gone through vastly different iterations.  The places that rhyme leads you are always quite surprising to me–and a few changes of words can and did lead to extremely different poems.  I’m not sure any of them quite say what I wanted!  Still, I rather enjoy following rhyme’s lead–it releases the mind from certain types of decision-making in a way that is quite freeing.  

I am actually posting this from an airplane–a long flight–so I am way too cramped to make a new drawing and re-did this pic I had saved.   I am not sure that the above really works–it’s supposed to be a couple lying down in bed!  (Perhaps moving through sand?) 

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14 Comments on “Intimacy”

  1. claudia Says:

    nice… that place between sleep and being awake – the being aware of the others presence and drifting at the same time

  2. Oh first I need to do this type of Sonnet .. I really love how you have created in the water.. there is a special connection we can only share when in the water…in dreams or not.. we always return to the connection of the water.

  3. MarinaSofia Says:

    I find rhymes also a struggle – forcing me to say things I don’t quite mean (or say them so slant that I may be misunderstood). But a really interesting take on the sonnet, I thought, rather enjoyed the near slant rhymes.

  4. hedgewitch Says:

    This has great freedom to it, indeed, k–I like that you have broken the lines according to the poem’s whim–it also gets the mood across with more allusion than explanation, which i think is always preferable. I love the vowel sounds in the second stanza especially–the soft ‘oo’s and ur’s and the harder un’s–it seems like a sort of sleep-murmur. Safe travels and happy landings, and so glad you liked the form enough to play with it and make this with it.

  5. Brian Miller Says:

    i found much of my own meaning in this…esp that last little bit…the unlinking and finding one self again…hands cupped…i am rather there right now…smiles.

    personally i like slant rhymes…

  6. Incredible sensuality in this, brought to life with the flow, the internal and end rhyme. This is magnificent, Karin. And as much as I turn to free form, I do find delight in experiencing the draw, the surprises that come with rhyme.

  7. Snakypoet (Rosemary Nissen-Wade) Says:

    I absolutely love this poem! Brilliantly done.

  8. othermary Says:

    I love it too…such adept word-play adds layers and lushness.

  9. Ah K – brilliant. Loved that you wrote a “broken” sonnet too. This captures the thing I miss most about losing my husband. Yes it’s been many years and yet every night I miss that there is no one to hold as we both slip into that place of solitude, that subconscious realm of dreams, of uniqueness that is sleep while our bodies would hold on to our togetherness. I use a pillow now but there is nothing bonding there. This poem is very special to me, and yet in itself is eloquent and exquisitely structured whatever changes you have made. I’ve missed reading you!

  10. Tony Maude Says:

    Love the pacing and gentle intimacy of this piece k. Safe travels.

  11. Susan Chast Says:

    Love. Snails glue feet ….sand/sleep and the moment of sliding in and out with a companion, a lover along for the ride. Beautiful, evocative, true.

  12. shanyns Says:

    Totally cool! Love this.

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