Devoted Nightmare

Like the pressure of twin fingers
Upon my cheek, my throat, my hand,
I feel two unseen eyes behold me
And with that unseen look, command.

And though my bed and home are warm
And though the garden air is chill
And though I catch the iron rails
I must obey that Other’s will.

For all the flowering vines are traitors;
About my wrists, they twist and rove;
Their thorns constrain my striving will
And bind me for their scarlet love.

And when the shadows part I see
A darkness draw to where I kneel;
The moonlight strikes me like a sword;
I cannot fly, can only feel.

O, tell me, how do you compel
My blighted ardor, to you consigned?
I feel the fetters at my wrists,
But what are those about my mind?


This poem was written as a companion/response poem to Edward Carney’s “Nocturnal Volition.”

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1 response to Devoted Nightmare

  1. T. G. Rivard says:

    Another wonderful piece! I enjoyed how it worked on several levels. It beautifully walks that liminal space between fear and pain on the one hand and erotic delight on the other – roving hands can delight, but these roving vines bite and prevent escape from…something not entirely benevolent I think.

    Viewed as a more traditional poem of love, who hasn’t felt that wonderful, painful, and terrifying knowledge that a person has captured your heart? Felt the anxiety brought on by the vulnerability that accompanies falling in love? An object of love can certainly haunt and torture.

    Again, a beautiful poem. Thank you for sharing it!

    Liked by 1 person

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