The Illusion of Time

I hear them rustle in the dead of the night,
those thoughts I sew into stars each day;
like lusty fireflies on the coat of the night,
lifting their unfinished hems to the night,
their stitches tangled on the axis of time,
gathering buttons of reason each night.
Weaving themselves into patterns tonight,
billowing in the crumpled breath of life,
falling like damask robes of life,
thoughts that will tear off their masks tonight.
I watch them climb on a cloud somewhere
as if their meaning had been found somewhere.

They say he came from a mountain somewhere,
in his eyes the purple glow of midnight;
they say he had found the truth somewhere,
they say he had found my thoughts somewhere.
His fingers caress the soft wrist of day,
he had learnt the song of the wind somewhere;
they say he had broken his heart somewhere.
He could comb knots out of the hair of time,
he could coax a sigh from the throat of time,
they say he had sold his soul somewhere;
he was going to peel seven skins of life,
he was going to bring cold thoughts to life.

He scooped up my thoughts from the shadows of life,
he had learnt to hear their voices somewhere,
he brought origami thoughts to life,
he filled their veins with the blood of life.
Silhouetted against the full moon tonight,
he joined staccato swirls of a discordant life,
answering the giant questions of life.
He solved the puzzle in my eyes today,
he wound forward clocks from yesterday,
like an ancient scroll he unravelled life,
a bottomless abyss at the edge of time,
an arched chimera at the heart of time.

I could feel the wheels turning through time,
etching mandalas in the light of life,
a silken tangkha fluttering through time,
like a prayer wheel spinning in time;
those thoughts begin and end somewhere,
looping through the earlobes of time.
His eyes watching me all the time,
a new age Buddha on a lotus night,
his answers cross-legged through the night,
filling all space, filling all time,
an incandescent bridge over doomsday,
a jewelled dewdrop encasing the day.

I woke up as if from a dream at midday,
the universe chanting in a sea of no time;
I could hold a mirror up to the face of day,
see reflections of tomorrow, of yesterday;
what is death could also be life,
what is night could also be day,
it does not matter, what matters today.
My thoughts had climbed on a cloud somewhere,
as if their meaning had been found somewhere,
from eternity they had distilled the day
pouring silver stars into the lost night,
freeing tethered feet from the soles of the night.

Tracing the full lips of the fading night.
My fingers wet with the white stain of day.
In the shifting of light, the illusion of time.
In the tremble of air, the delusion of life.
Mind enchained, are we going somewhere?

This is in the form of an English Canzone – as described by Robbin Skelton: 5 stanzas of 12 lines each followed by a 5 line envoy. 5 end words are repeated in a set pattern:
stanza 1: ABAACAADDAEE (letters refer to repeated end words not rhyme)
envoy: ABCDE
This was a very interesting (and excruciatingly hard) challenge hosted by Bastet at Mindlovesmisery’s Menagerie. Also linked to Poets United.
 This is my first attempt at a Canzone, if you’ve tried this form before, please do share the link, I’d love to read your poems.  I think topic and end word choice define this form and it would be great to learn more about the right approach!

49 thoughts on “The Illusion of Time

  1. Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous! Enthralling all the way through. You made it seem as if it wasn’t a bit hard! (Now, of course, I yearn to try one too.)


    1. Thanks Rosemary.. it was hard.. crazy hard of course.. but once you list all the end words, it kind of becomes manageable. Am totally looking forward to read your Canzone! Go for it!!


  2. Hi Rajani,

    My hat is off to you, for grappling with such a challenging structure and producing such a piece. I enjoyed it very much, and found myself lured in by the rhythm and repetition. It was entrancing in a way, and you wove such lovely images throughout.


    Liked by 1 person

  3. You have done well with the form. Really well actually. I would not have noticed the form if you did not say anything, because it flows unforced and wonderful story telling and imagery. It carried me right along in the reading.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. am almost speechless to comment – not only have you created something that whisks the reader along in whispers but you do it in this set and difficult form – and yet it did not constrain or strain your worlds

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Such a rich tapestry of images…and I love all the references to needlework and sewing – it’s like understanding..thinking perhaps? and that last question – perfect!


    1. Thank you Jae Rose.. great connect there..think we sub-consciously tailor our thoughts, shaping them to be acceptable, rather than letting them take their own shape. Maybe! 🙂


  6. I know how challenging it is to write poetry using such rigid forms. I’ve never been able to do it. But even more impressive is the mystical content of the poem and the exquisite imagery. Congrats and thanks for sharing this with us 🙂


    1. Thank you so much Yash, glad you enjoyed it. I write a lot of free verse too, but form focuses the mind, its a different level of challenge I suppose. But brevity as in Haiku or Poetweets (which I experiment with a lot) call for a lot of clarity in thought and expression which make them even more fun!! 🙂


  7. [applauding] you’ve written a fantastic canzone … smooth flowing and such a wonderfull encounter … bravo, like how you faced up to the challenge! Bastet


  8. this is amazing and the perfect time to read it is in the silence of night, I will come again at night tor read it, to assimilate it, well done.Though I have nerve tried canzone , but have done a canzonet sometimes back, .


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