Friday, September 25, 2015

The Fortress

The Fortress
a sonnet

Love is unassailable; we only quit
one tall battlement of her defense
to reach another. We make a face to fit
our hands' shelter, to withdraw hungry when
it weeps upon our fingers. Every lantern's candle
inside her hidden chapel burns forever;
tho flames become obscure and smoke the mantle
tho some must flicker in the dirty weather.

Love is insurmountable; more clever
than the casks which hold her wine and water,
more lasting far than they, more put together,
living well with harmony or slaughter.
Yet when we find at last we can't define her,
with war and treachery we undermine her.

~September 2015

posted for     real toads

inspired by the poetry on somewhere I have never traveled, especially Love is, by Shanel Ranjith: 

"...When he told me he loved me forever
And infinity was our melodious endeavor..."

Image: The Battle, 1947, by Remedios Varo, fair use via


  1. That picture is amazing! I've got to check out Remedios Varo. I love the quote you used for inspiration, and like those lines, yours just roll smoothly along, never a jolt or wrong word.

  2. Oh that last line.. as often is the case it's the undermining that will topple any walls, not the battle and the death above ground.. yes that's exactly what love is.

  3. This is a grand sonnet, Hedge. Such attention to the rhythm and great use of rhymes give an amazing sense of progression from octave through to sestet. I like how you included a rhyming couplet in the final division. Such a strong close.

    Thank you so much for participating in this challenge.

  4. Hey Joy--this certainly does flow beautifully and confidently. The rhymes and slant rhymes work super well--never intrusive, yet certainly there--I especially like the description of the candles--and their flickering in the dirty weather--and the wine and water in the casks seems to me especially to turn this into love in a bigger sense poem, although I guess it was a marriage at Cana, it feels like a greater kind of love, love of various types--the undermining is a great turnaround here--when you can't knock down the walls-- how you can still sink them--very apt. Great pic too. k.

  5. "more clever
    than the casks which hold her wine and water"

    Like Karin, I was grabbed by the wine and water as a biblical reference. Then the "harmony or slaughter" knocked my socks off. Then . . . oh, hell, this is just really, really good.

  6. What people can't conquer, they sometimes destroy. Perhaps it's because they hadn't realize that it never had to be about conquest in the first place.

  7. The contrast on your post couldn't be worse. Really hard to read. Sorry

    1. Do you meant post text--black on grey--or what? Are you on a mobile? I have terrible eyesight and when I changed templates made my font larger on neutral background because of it, so not sure what you are meaning.Anyway, sorry too.

  8. I loved this flow--you make this seem effortless--as I struggle to figure out form and make it work in my pieces, I recognize real skill and artistry when I see it--your work continues to get me every time

  9. Oh, wonderful explosion of the forevers and other superlatives of love! It weeps, it moans and demands forever--it lies. No wonder wars are fought. Romantics altogether need to be buried under a broken castle--except for me, of course. Powerful piece.

  10. Odd that the dragon slayers & Crusaders considered themselves romantics, with God & Love strolling the battlements, first on one side, then the other; really enjoyed your piece.

  11. The last two lines end this poem so well. Stark and strong.

  12. Oh yes, very true, but why oh why do we do that???

  13. How beautiful this is! Especially "every lantern's candle inside her hidden chapel burns forever." Wow.

  14. Bravo! You had me from the very first line. But I have to say, front to back, over and again, this poem is absolute perfection.

  15. Really nicely played Joy.
    The last couple lines on defining love by war and treachery
    is rather stomach turning if for nothing else
    than its truth. While we may never reach loves peak,
    she always seems to find a way to crawl onto our backs -
    maybe it is our addiction to her that misleads us so.

  16. " well with harmony or slaughter."

    I love the sort of natural balance this line speaks of--at least to me. Love and life are can be horror and beauty (and they usually are); being all right with that, "living well" with it... makes all the difference, methinks. ♥

  17. "We make a face to fit
    our hands' shelter, to withdraw hungry when
    it weeps upon our fingers."

    I love that..A beautiful piece

  18. this to me is the definitive modern sonnet, where rhyme serves and enhances, rather than obscures or diminishes the pen. you carry the trope so skillfully that in my mind's eye I could see the figures swinging up the parapet - and then the twisting, final dagger. superb. ~


"We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric, out of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry." ~William Butler Yeats