Lovers – A Game For Fools

© Jan Piller

With love and trust, a home and ring you pledged;
your prismed heart, you claimed, outshone the stars!
Our bid for jeweled suits, our glamour spread
on thin veneers of tangoed nights in bars,
we danced a dark exciting repertoire.
Then came the days you spread your tissued lies;
you sped on ribboned streets in racing cars
and played the deuce with packs of money guys.
But clubs left me word-scarred with no disguise;
you partied on and on while I played solitaire.
All night I walked the floor and sought reprise;
you left our home and fled the life we shared.
My heart lies rent in frozen splintered shards.
Our home has fallen like a house of cards.

© Gay Reiser Cannon * 9/13/2012 * All Rights Reserved

34 thoughts on “Lovers – A Game For Fools

  1. nice…really nice storytelling through the form….sad for sure…being left behind while they trip the night away…not a lot of fun…word scarred with no disguise….really like that line…

  2. Ow-ooo!!! (That’s a triumphant howl.) What form, precision, hits on every image, turning in the 7th, and coming home to score–on the poem, that is. I hear the loss, but sense a triumph too in finding this way of seeing and saying. It’s got the brittle cutting edges of a real diamond. I hope the heart is healed; the game is left for fools; and the door is open for someone who does not attempt to outshine the stars.

  3. The game of chance metaphor really works through beautifully and provides a felt perspective on this relationship. The narrator’s emotions are clear and resonate through the rhyme and form. Lovely craft on display here, Gay.

  4. Oh Gay, that’s a story and a half and lyrical as a song – maybe one by the Eagles? I love iambic pentameter, always have it as the roots of my internal rhythm. Great form and love the story.

    • How I would love to hear you read that.
      Such an intricately arranged poem with the sharp angles of the cards, the red and the black, all taking up residence in these saddening lines.

  5. ‘Our bid for jeweled suits, our glamour spread’ glittering gem among your silken verse. Heartbreak was never so elegant, fantastic sonnet! Thank you immensely for your erudite yet accessible article, it gave me the courage required to try. You have a true gift.

  6. thin veneers, tissued lies, ribboned streets… this sonnet rings in every sense. an old story, an old form, you’ve a sweet crisp eye for new phrases like word-scarred. magnificent.

  7. Yes! Another poem that I can actually understand!
    And, it brings me back to read several times — for the fine choice of phrases and the actual story.

    It is nice to read one like this occasionally or I’m afraid I’d not return to these forests. I do enjoy the abstract, jumbled image-heavy poems but I can only read them for a while as my skills of understanding/feeling poetry are infantile.

    Concerning form: I thought that Shakespearean sonnets were suppose to have a twist (starting in the third stanza). Is the thought of the “twist” new? From your post, I thought that the sonnet not only had form for rhyme and rhythm but also a structure for the plot — which seemed interesting.

    But if I am not mistaken, your poem has no twist. Right from the first stanza, I suspect exactly where you are taking us when you say: “thin veneer of tangoed nights in bars”.

    Also, I am not sure of the analogy for the whole poem. I your poem an analogy or a real biography. I see individual analogies to your life together with a partner: thin veneer, thin tissue, solitaire and then a house of cards.

    But either the analogy was very good, or this was indeed a story of a life with gambling bringing the downfall.

    Since I know lives hurt by gambling, this sound like biography and not an analogy. Just curious — I am hoping it is OK to ask questions on poetry sites?

    I did not follow one of your lines:

    But clubs left me word-scarred with no disguise;

    Could I ask for a hint?

    Thank you for the excellent poem — is it your voice, or that of someone you know or created? Either way, you seem to know them well.

    The poem does have a sad element: the speaker laments the house of fallen cards but nowhere seems to acknowledge her/his part of chasing the “jeweled suits and glamour spread”. It is as if the speaker would have been happy if it all worked out and the veneer became her/his life. It is as if the tragedy of the poem is loss of a partner and not a life built on a veneer. I don’t feel the responsibility side, just the blame and anger. Just my feelings.

    Great prompt — and your educational post was fantastic. Thanx much Gay. Your heart felt poem was a pleasure to read several times.

  8. Sabio, I looked for an email address but didn’t find one on your blog. I will answer here. I’m happy the story was understandable and you liked the turn of phrase.

    Yes ideally sonnets should make a twist or turn particularly the petrarchan and the elizabethan ones which require more skill in construction; however this is a spenserian sonnet and remember this paragraph from the article: “Spenser often begins L9 of his sonnets with “but” or “yet” which should signal a volta; however if one examines his “turns”, they aren’t really turns at all. If there is a change in his sonnets, it usually comes where the pattern changes in the end couplet.”

    As Susan said, mine starts really on L7 (though it’s only the slightest of turns, because you are correct this is a story poem and plot is fairly straightforwardly laid out). I am writing a set of poems reflecting the occult cards of the Tarot deck. This one is for the Lovers. If you thread back through the blog you will see some of the others – The Empress, The High Priestess, The Emperor. So I set my subject from the first wanting a form poem for the lovers and I wanted an anti lover poem. On the Waite deck the devil stands behind the couple and they are chained. I decided to use the terminology as a way of talking about their shallow relationship. This has no parallel for me in real life except in a vague and general way.

    And as John said this “lifestyle” for lack of a better word has a bit of the cliche of Western movies in it. Not surprising because I have lived in Texas all my life and this blog was meant (at least initially) to have a Texas base and reflect the culture; although I have to admit to only seeing this in the poem after it was pointed out and didn’t set out to write a strictly Texas poem as I did in the Silver Locket which follows this.

    As to “clubs” I understand that may have been difficult for you. Even though these poems are based on the tarot deck, this poem was written with “playing” cards as the metaphor. Clubs being one of the suits. (The others of course are diamonds, hearts and spades). That line could have gone several ways, but in this instance clubs is meant to be “night clubs”; in the twenties called “clubbing” or going from one to another, I believe now they are places to dance, drink and in many cases for men to meet other men with whom they do business. In Texas they are often Western clubs with live bands and line dancing.

    Please never hesitate to ask any questions. I am happy to answer. Again thank you for your comment!

  9. @ Gay,
    That is great — that is what I needed. Thank you for the instruction in the Petrarchan style.

    Also, the Tarot card stuff is fascinating. I am so glad I asked. I swear, if blogging poets just wrote a few footnotes with their poems to explain a few things, it would make the reading experience so much more rich !!

    The Texas info, for instance, was great to read about. Your poem is now so much more full for me.

    Thank you for your generosity!!

  10. Gorgeous sonnet, Gay. My favourite two lines are these;

    “My heart lies rent in frozen splintered shards.
    Our home has fallen like a house of cards.”

    I read your comment to Sabio, and how intriguing that you are doing poems based on the “Tarot”. I look forward to the progression of those.

    p.s. you ended up in my spam folder, not sure how that happened¿

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