Love Poems at the Masquerade Ball

Tuesday night, it was a Tweet Poetry (poetry jam) utterly unlike its predecessors, a kind of romp through the worlds of fiction and history through the eyes of famous couples.

The instructions from @tspoetry: Tonight, a party challenge: ‘Love in Character.’ All quotes from Julia Cameron’s poetry in The Right to Write: An Invitation and Initiation into the Writing Life. Try to write poems in character. Famous couples (include indicator somewhere in poem). Pocahontas & John Smith, Jane Eyre & Rochester, Cleopatra & Mark Antony, Cyrano & Roxanne, Lancelot & Guinevere. Shah Jahan & Mumtaz Mahal of the Taj Mahal, Elizabeth Bennett & Darcy, Scarlett & Rhett, Romeo & Juliet, Samson & Delilah, Owl & Pussycat.

The owl and the pussycat?

The participants: @llbarkat, @doallas, @poemsandprayers, @mdgoodyear, @mixings, @calebjseeling and @gyoung9751. We also had three unexpected cameo appearances. One was @AnnVoskamp, who wandered into the middle of the poetry tweets (without realizing it) and posted a line that, oddly enough, actually fit the section. @PeterPollock did exactly the same thing. I don’t think either intended to do this, but we adopted them into it anyway. And then @publiceyestl retweeted one of my own contributions and used the #tsp hashtag. If you use the hashtag, you’re in.

Love at the Masquerade Ball

First prompt by @tspoetry: “Misery, I remember you before the hemlock,/I remember you proud and fierce…”

With kohl did Cleo paint almond eyes,
Marking time till Mark arrived to bid her well.
Antony: I remember you before the asp.
Cleo: I remember you before the sword.
[Timeless RT: Antony: I remember you before the asp. Cleo: I remember you before the sword.]
Asp did leave a mark
Greater than mine own mark on Mark.
Forgive me, Mark,
Your ship arrived;
My almond eyes
Could never let
You go.
Mine eyes hold you, Cleo,
As sun holds light.
We danced in the sand
Under the light of the pyramid moon.
On honey and bread we dined.
Mark’s ship goes out on sands of time
Cleo an uncontent to show
In kohl-burned eyes.

And yet the glint of thine own eyes, Mark
Leave me stunned.
Who said love was
Softer than the asp?
It bites the heart.
Does yet one bite of asp
Leave you for loss of tongue, dear Mark?

Interesting shapes
Do our sands foretell if there be
Pyramid moon.
She turned to fortunetellers
To see the lines of the sand.
Such be the Sphinx;
Enigmas be all we have.
Quick sand does pull us in,
Honey gives of too much that’s sweet
And on pea green boat do we wreak such havoc.
Mark’s ship goes out on sands of time
Cleo an uncontent to show
In kohl-burned eyes

Second prompt by @tspoetry: “Dreaming the dark places,/Caves and the back of stars…”

The caves of Ali Baba,
The stars of Jasmine’s eyes.
Vault of marble
Cave, emerald-studded
Calligraphy holds my love
For whom, at death
I plucked out
Artists’ eyes.
You strum on the strings of my heart.
Flying carpets,
Threads aflutter,
Magic lamps to rub and wish.
Mumtaz, would that
You could echo voice
Over this dry river
Through this dark tomb
Light my heart once more
Like stars.
Jasmine’s sweetest smell of all,
Turning heads.
Magic is one wish yet granted.
Honey drips from cave walls,
Leaving Ali and his thieves in sticky situation.
In all of India
No heart cries more
Than mine for thee.

Third prompt by @tspoetry: “The stars at night were someone’s baby teeth.”

The baby teeth of the angels
Swirling through the desert sand.
Teeth lie unfound in sand,
Covering a thousand lost wishes.

Fourth prompt by @tspoetry: “Our every slip of tongue is graceful./Our best syllables are silent.”

When you stepped
Under the Eastern Hemlocks,
John, I still had
A few stray baby
Teeth. You licked
Them sober, tall;
I left the shores.
My native ground
Scarce left behind,
I traveled to England,
John’s country.
A curiosity, they found me there,
Though John did soothe
My longing.
In John’s England did I
Find myself
A proper lady.
I still remember
How your bangles,
Whispered glass,
Love through the halls,
Your hair coconut fragrant,
Hands henna red.
in a boat of dreams we sail the indigo waters
Heart hears silence
As its call.
They said I was spectacle,
Eye-catching of courtiers
[@PeterPollock That’s right… blame the English guy. Everyone else does!]
My skin be red yet soft.
John saw the difference,
Made of it a dream.
We dreamed together.
The redness of mine,
The whiteness of John’s,
Our skins peeled together
The curry leaf
Floats, curls
‘Midst black onion
Seeds, brown sauce
And I think once again
I taste your love
Upon my tongue.
I need not ask their courtesies.
My John saw to that,
Defended me.
The courtesies of courtiers
Were like sharpened knives at the table.

Fifth prompt by @tspoetry: “I am missing you./My ‘I’ stands like a lonely tree./This landscape is denuded.”

I watched them
shave your head
clean, strip your strength
In fallen locks.
Now I am missing
You, your hair like rope
Around my wrists,
Said Delilah, she of the Philistines.

Sixth prompt by @tspoetry: “I am lying about that./Lilacs are blooming./Apple trees froth with lace.”

Samson’s strength,
Shorn as a heart
In love might be shorn
Of dreams
When cut in two.
There is a love that binds and a love that frees,
He wanted stars
But was blinded by pokers of light.
Love that binds
And frees
‘Tis woman’s ways to find the means,
A single lock,
Its strength
In memory

I am missing you,
Rhett, the lilacs are in
Bloom beside the house
Like purple flame
Of pain,
By light.
Frankly, my dear,
I wish for hand of lilac scent
To touch my brow.
Darcy, you too
Could know purple,
Could lie amidst the heather,
Let your eyes
But look on me,
Lost on Moors
From tower ramparts.
Do I wish to fling myself
If your love be denied?

Dear Rhett,
This is Juliet
Speaking. What
Kind of fool are you
To spurn love?
I would die for
My lover’s touch.
[AnnVoskamp Galaxies spin & stars, they swirl, and in the heavens there is a pillar of Words that never shifts, axis of the world.]
Will you remember me, tomorrow, Rhett?
Another tomorrow, another day.
With pride, with prejudice, perhaps with love.
Scarlet’s heart a scarlet tear
So rent by Rhett,

Seventh prompt by @tspoetry: “For what it’s worth,/I loved you.”

[gyoung9751 Ok, L.L, how difficult are we going to make the editing here?]
[llbarkat @gyoung9751 oh, now, there’ll be less tweets Mr. Young! :)]
[@doallas: Juliet might yet speak up, @gyoung9751,/showing you the way of words.]
[goodwordediting @llbarkat @gyoung9751 @doallas he is the east/ she is the sun/ stressed on both ends]

Shadows in heather
Do gather
The truth universal
Begins every love
Story worth reading.
(Sorry I’m late.)
Roxane, don’t ever doubt
It, for what it’s worth
I loved you
silent as the
A silly friar’s potion
Was all she needed
To test Romeo’s true love.

Eighth prompt by @tspoetry: “You were my green earth.”

I will love you today,
I will love
You tomorrow,
Ever after,
As long a nose
No lie might tell
Ever did my heart yearn for Roxane.
My green earth,
My good earth,
The soil of my love.
One’s own true love,
If she know it,
May be luckiest of all.
Lancelot, you were my green
Earth, the round table
Upon which my
Heart spun,
As the sun fair doth rise in the east
As the moon most pale doth set in the west.
Compare me to soil,
To dirt,
Wherein grows love
Like so many blooms unseen.
Just means
My secrets yet
Await you.
Guinny waited for her knight
All night,
Their story to retell.

Ninth Prompt by @tspoetry: “The air is silk./There is milk in the looks/That come from strangers.”

Strangers when they met,
Bonded souls when they parted.
The wind gnaws at our necks
And we wonder if this night
Will be as cold as the last.
And too soon did grow weary
Of spinning
Tales of Camelot.
Mumtaz, the air is silk,
Morning raises
Yet again its
Veil of longing.
Cold not,
If fire
We do build
To scorching.
In the cold mist did
Yuri touch
The pale cheek of Lara.
Who be left
On whom we cast
Such spells
As love might make?
Now tell me, who
is Yuri?
Yuri Zhivago.
The reds and the whites
He thought
Were no longer wines but soldiers.
Veil of longing
Dropped quietly,
For love steps softly
In moon’s light
And shadow.
Russian boots
Do stamp
Love out
Too quick.
Lara, I watched you through
The window,
Choked on the scent
Of goodbye.
The trees,
All aspens,
Sang of love and Russian nights
Or Gagarin who loved
The dark and cold
Of space where he said
He saw no God.
Soldiers’ whines
Of loves lost
Never to be recovered
In snow dreams.
Cold long nights
In Russia
Leave little else but time.
Was Lara the Russian Guinevere?

Tenth prompt by @tspoetry: “The wind like kisses,/The music in the soup,/The group of trees laughing.”

Too many questions
Do make of love
A bitter ending,
Lost to darkness,
To a time gone by.
Stop asking
Questions, Mr. Darcy,
With your dark brown
Eyes. Kisses need
No answers.
All lovers
Sooner or later.
Before goodbyes
Leave us all
To other dreams
So cold the stars,
So white the snow,
So still the sleigh,
So goes the day.
Loves and lovers sail away and love,
Yes, love is here to stay.
You remember now,
Don’t you, Ronny,
Me and our time
Together in blue and white
To know somewhere my love by heart
And nothing more.

Of all the famous loves I’ve known
Across the pages of imagination,
None surpasses my own true love.

Concluding prompt by @tspoetry et al

@tspoetry Parting is such sweet sorrow! Thank you all for playing along with this challenge.
@gyoung9751 Applause all around! (this is the part where we stand around and congratulate each other.)
@Doallas Tis difficult/and yet/methinks we did/quite well./Evening ends in Lara’s song/of knights/and nights/and Jasmine/Juliet’s sorrow at end.
@llbarkat  And they danced/by the light/of the moon, the moon/and they danced by/the light of the moon. (Goodnight all.) Great one! Good luck Mr Y.
@Doallas Applause to all. Goodnight on this note.
@poemsandprayers parting is such sweet sorrow…loved it.
@gyoung9751 I’ve captured all the tweets in a Word doc. Now for editing. If anyone wants the unedited tweet-doc, let me know and I’ll email it.
@goodwordediting HURRY UP PLEASE IT’S TIME Goonight @calebjseeling. Goonight @ target=”_blank” rel=”nofollow”llbarkat. Goonight @gyoung9751. Goonight. Ta ta. Goonight. Goonight.
@gyoung9751 And thanks to @goodwordediting, too!
@poemsandprayers goodnight owl and pussycat.
@Doallas Advance thanks to @gyoung9751 for magic you’ll be working on our words. Looking forward to seeing lines shaped by hand.
@llbarkat Goodnight, Mr. @goodwordediting.
@Doallas Buena sera @llbarkat @poemsandprayers @goodwordediting @tspoetry @gyoung9751.
@Mixings Good night dish, good night spoon.
@llbarkat @AnnVoskamp timely, for our poetry party! Maybe you didn’t know you’d come? :)
@Calebjseeling: @llbarkat I found out about #tsp just in time and had to think of a quickie. Um, Reagan–famous couple, right? Thanks for letting me play.

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