Aurora Pantoum

It’s often turned out for me that the way to break into a difficult topic is to try an unusual or complicated poetic form. Having to concentrate on the rules seems to free the material.

Brief but intense seems to describe a fair number of my relationships, Lachlan included. We met when I was living in Ross-shire and I finally realized that since I lived two miles from a fishing port, buying seafood at the store was really, really dumb. He sold me my first langoustines, and I kept wandering back.

Our relationship was a lot more courtship than it was anything else; he was the most reticent man I’d ever been interested in, and I was recently burned. It ended up being mostly very sweet. He’d put aside the best of the catch for me, to his uncle’s great amusement; I’d send poetry books out with him, because there’s a lot of downtime in the kind of fishing he did, and he was a reader; and of course, he took me out on the water to see the aurora, far from land and lights. It all broke down when we tried to take it from courtship to something more concrete, but the parting wasn’t a bad one. I got to keep the good stuff — like this, which a prompt to write a pantoum finally unlocked.

***

Aurora Pantoum

(for Lachlan)

The night I knew you loved me,
You took me out to see the northern lights
Far out on the water between Skye and sea —
A green sky at night, not the old rhyme’s delight.

You took me out to see the northern lights,
Though you’d surely seen them a thousand times,
A green sky at night not the old rhyme’s delight
Or even anything new to your eyes.

Though you’d surely seen them a thousand times —
No miracle to you,
Or even anything new to your eyes —
And the night I knew I loved you was

Also no miracle to you,
Far out on the water between Skye and sea,
The night I knew I loved you was
The night I knew you loved me.

2017

(photo: Wikipedia)

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