Tears obscure

Madly in the air they’re dancing
solemn butterflies, as soot:
letters torched,
tickled death, battered breath
drawn from dust it’s scorched;
mute in numbness of defeat
live as ice in heat.

Boldly letting skies be floating
like when you squeeze your eyes
tears obscure
stones as glass. churchyard grass
tears he faked for you.
Afterwards he takes your hand
tighten wedding bands.

Woman battered with a cane by Francisco Goya

Woman battered with a cane by Francisco Goya

At toads Margret let us try out old challenges and I laid my hands on the challenge by Kerry to write stanzas by Paul Lawrence Dunbar. Tomorrow I will link up at Poetry Pantry.

October 24, 2015

36 responses to “Tears obscure

  1. So…did you write this about the image, or are these words by Paul Lawrence Dunbar that seemed appropriate to the image? Either way, this was a captivating read. I’m not sure whether I grasped the meaning, but it was interesting trying.

  2. So awesome. So so so so awesome. I adore your rhymes. And this: “tickled death” … My word, isn’t that the way to go (out)?! This makes me think of when you have a tickle-wrestling war with someone, and losing is really winning, no matter which side you’re on. 🙂 There’s honestly no better way to “tighten wedding bands” than to keep laughing and wrestling together.

    I love the picture of tears as butterflies, floating through the air. Tears fall, so one would have to be up high (on a cliff or cloud, in heaven) for them to get suspended in air, and even take flight … to fly-dance! Love. 🙂 Then you call them soot, which I think means they’re those gorgeous black butterflies … also that metaphor of burned letters. You’re trying to slip in some sadness and abuse perhaps, but I guess I’m too over-caffeinated today. So I think it’s just adorable. Plus, husbands really must learn to fake tears if they want to keep their wives happy. 😛

    “live as ice in heat” … Man, I love that muscle rub stuff. That is the BEST smell in the world. Makes me think of old people, my grandparents … that, and peppermints. The magic of staying married for decades and decades.

    Can you tell I’m crazy over this poem? AND that I’m slightly manic today. 😉

  3. Knowing it is about abuse helps me, who is more literal than figurative, understand. The ending indeed is painfully chilling.

  4. I read this through a couple of times and then it hit me – abusive marriage/relationship. The fake tears and tightened wedding bands cinched it for me. I’ve always been big on symbolism and sneak it often in my haiku but no one seems to pick up on it – I don’t think many people look for symbolism nowadays – symptom of the times where people want to be told everything up front. One of my favorite classes in university was a seniors honors program on symbols and American Literature. I ended up writing my senior paper for that class on the Elements of the Grotesque and the Symbols of Flannerty O’Connor.

  5. Even though the images seem pretty and romantic in a way, the picture you posted and some vybe just give me an ill feeling. It is cruel, how harsh a beautifuly writen poem can be, and how we must use that to teach about the gruesome through the beauty.

  6. tears he faked for you.
    afterwards he takes your hand
    tighten wedding bands

    Starting out he does not seem to be sincere if the can fake for sympathies. Ripe ingredient for problems ahead


  7. Sometimes butterflies do aggressively dance and I often wonder if they are having a bit of a battle. But they are so pretty and “soft” it is kind of funny. “Numbness of defeat” … yes, quite often there really is no “winner”.

  8. This is a difficult topic to turn into poetry, yet the form has lent the subject a precision of expression. I especially like the lines which contain the internal rhyme – all is most succinct to convey a powerful message.

  9. Such an arresting poem – in many ways..to be bound to another in solemn tears and shackles is indeed sorrowful – butterflies, church grass and maybe even wedding bells should be very far from soot

  10. Wonderful double meaning in last line! Very interesting to see the possibilities of this form, and the way you have used the dancing rhythm to underline the serious content rather than distract from it.

  11. Life as dance. I like it. When you say “solemn butterflies, as soot”….it’s like crossing whatever they trying to fake….Interesting interpretation/form.

  12. So powerful, the faked tears, the tightened wedding bands…….your word choices are exceptional in this poem…..”tears obscure
    stones as glass. churchyard grass”. Wonderful, Bjorn.

  13. Very effective rhyme and alliteration work together beautifully to set up some powerful images. Indeed your somewhat, daring (though, perhaps somewhat discordant would be a more accurate description) word choices give the piece a reverberating disquieting edge … a sense that no good can come from a union so steeped in dissimulation and fakery. Awesome writing, Björn.

  14. Wow. You’ve created images beyond what Paul Lawrence DUnbar would reach for! I was confused at how the battered diction of the first part tightened wedding bands. But the power and entrapment is real to me.

  15. Live as ice in heat. I like this line though at first I was thinking ‘as an animal in heat’ so that part wasn’t making sense. From my own experience I know that it is hard to repress tears when a person is all alone.
    Did you know that under old English law it was not battery (or assault) for a man to beat his wife if his stick was no larger in diameter than his thumb?

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