Forfeits

I let no lover loose my hair. No lips,
No kisses trace the contours of my cheek.
I let no whispers brush my fingertips;
In love I do not let my lovers speak.
But hands I do allow, and silk and steel,
If this is where my lover takes delight.
I make no pledge, no promise to reveal
The patterns of my passion in the night.
Just once I yielded: breath upon my skin,
Your mouth upon my mouth, a moment’s lapse.
I came too far. I let you breathe me in
And catch me in that deadliest of traps.
Unbind me now, let down my tangled hair.
Love, speak my name, release me to the air.


Rowan promised me a sestina if I would attempt a sonnet. This is what happened.

20 responses to “Forfeits

  1. There’s a lot going on here. I felt like I was peeling back layer after layer. Enjoyed this!

  2. Gah, for some reason this really got me, I just teared up. Really, really achingly beautiful.

  3. Just gorgeous!

  4. What an absolutely gorgeous sonnet.. somehow I get the an image of the vampire myth here.. or some other sinister creature of darkness – maybe it could be the Neck.. the stories here in Sweden are filled with tales about the dread of this waterspirit taking the form of young man who lure women into the streams by playing on his violin… really well executed. Wonderful.

    • Oh, I’m so pleased you like it! I’ve been an admirer of your poetry for ages, so that means a lot. I didn’t have vampires in mind, though there’s definitely a certain darkness in the speaker.

      How interesting – in Russian mythology it’s a female waterspirit – rusalka – who lures people into streams by singing, if I remember correctly.

  5. This flows seamlessly from one line to the next. I’m not sure I’ve ever written a sonnet before, but I’m guessing it is not as effortless as you make it look. You convey all of the hurt of being too close and getting burned, and that resoluteness that humans often resort to protect themselves: touch but don’t kiss. Poignant, Christine. I so love your writing.

  6. “Love, speak my name, release me to the air.” SO beautiful!

  7. I loved this! I don’t think I could ever write a sonnet. Please don’t take this the wrong way but the steel made me think of the only thing that struck me about 50 Shades. Gorgeous writing instead of that crap (I hated that book by the way). But the whole idea of how small things completely change a relationship. You can have sex but as long as you don’t kiss, don’t do the small intimate things, letting your hair down, you won’t fall. It seems backwards but it’s so true.

  8. Absolutely beautiful! I read it twice I loved it so much. And there is so much going on here. I have to agree with a previous comment. It’s like layers are being peeled back. Like a breach in the wall was broken when the mouth opened to mouth. Like something was released.

  9. Love the movement from the beginning to the end here, Christine. I also like that you used the same words you gave Rowan.

  10. You and Rowan are such geniuses individually. But when you two play off each other. . .well I’m just grateful you two don’t charge per view.

  11. This is so so beautiful! Sensual, restrained, pained, and beautiful. Every word, every rhyme, the whole rhythm is just perfect. Love it!

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