I am thy fool in the morning, thou art my slave in the night.
Paul Dunbar ~ Paradox

Though you outrank, I outwit 
and enact the dayglo birdbrain beauty
by jest, by gesture

by command an unbidden entertainer
wound like a top, I teeter and pirouette
jibing with a wicked play on words

by appointment to amuse
squeezed betwixt matters of status and state
and that aristocratic Alcázar in the air

by servility I'm levelling the ground
by devious pricks at pride, by turning cartwheels
on these SM machinations.

Come the night, come clawing at the door
on bended knee to peer at the lock-shaped shaft
and staging it all, I'll disrobe for the uncertain voyeur
the undisputed guest puzzling the password
wondering how it is that you walk celestial spheres 
yet the draw of the moon pulls down and down
to these dirty, rumpled, reclusive sheets 

By day you hold me in a vice, to promises unsaid.
Dreaming, I am bound to surrender your will. 
- Which of us then, has cast the last spell?

Taking ‘paradox’ as literary device, I’ve chosen the Dunbar line to set the tone of this poem for my Poetics prompt: Beyond Meaning or The Resolution of Opposites

39 thoughts on “Spellbound

  1. The beginning really pulled me in, and I like the battle between the day and the night, that comes full circle in the end with the day being like night (at least that is what I read)

    1. Damn Laura! This is by far more than I expected to read of a Paradox…

      Love how this came out as a battlefield that you enjoy.
      Your last line, posed as a question sounds like you’re opposite equals nearing an agreement.

  2. I love where the Dunbar line took you and your poem, Laura, which had me spellbound, and the wordplay, such as ‘outrank/outwit’, ‘jest/gesture’, as well as the wonderful sounds in the phrases’aristocratic alcazar in the air’ and ‘sadomasochistic machinations’. My favourite lines:
    ‘wondering how it is that you walk celestial spheres
    yet the draw of the moon pulls down and down
    to these dirty, rumpled, reclusive sheets’
    and the final question.

    1. many thanks Kim for your comments and appreciation – was stuck midway with this poem until I let the night relationship have a different tempo and mood, part of which you picked out here!!

  3. Sounds like office politics to me. Those vying for power and control in government are some of the worst. Your word choices and word smithing never fail to please.

  4. You’ve captured the haunting essence of the Dunbar poem, and particularly the chosen line here, Laura. I like the wordplay: ‘outrank/outwit,’ ‘jest /gesture’, ‘status/ state,’ serving to outline the oppositions set up by this particular paradox.

  5. I am literally swooning right now 😍 this is such a deliciously woven poem, Laura! I love how my tongue rolls off on the sounds in “aristocratic alcazar in the air,” and the way you describe the eternal battle of power between day and night. The closing question made me clap and whistle in applause. Love it!! 💝💝

    1. since so much of your poetry is sensual I thought you might appreciate this but am touched by your enthusiasm!! These two lovers swap roles yet each has something of the other by day and night

  6. I love this contrast and the paradox it offers. Each gender has its abilities to manipulate and get what they want. It is the story as old as time itself!

  7. I absolutely love your use of words in this, ‘birdbrain beauty’ ‘wicked play on words’. Your third and fourth stanzas are so exquisitely beautiful in every word. But your last stanza is the clincher, a sensual weaving of words and roles!

    1. I appreciate your comments Kate not least because the wordsmithing is integral to the poem since it alludes at one level to the medieval fools/jesters who used it to good effect

  8. Quite the relationship you describe here — yet who is the manipulator, and who the manipulated, roles that seem to be turned on their heads as readily as night and day. Imagery of the half-bitter, the half-ironic serves to describe the interplay of this paradox so brilliantly!

  9. kaykuala

    Though you outrank, I outwit
    and enact the birdbrain beauty by day
    by jest and gesture

    Even the opening itself reveals the natural tendency to great poetry. Choice of words is prompted by the prompt you had chosen for us for it elicited from the mind to go deep to bring out the choicest words. Thanks, Laura, Ma’am!


  10. Wow, I am so amused by yr wordplay and wit (and
    sexiness, did I mention sexiness?) It was truly an enjoyable read/ Thank you, gray

Comments are closed.