Then, Not Now

the selfish dark has interred the light,
that once cast our likeness on this town,
who severed the last ray of light,
who smothered love’s ephemeral light,
the somnolent ravens are mocking me,
they dream the promise of daylight,
they promise the dream of the first light,
I hug my grief as i search for you,
I hold back a tear as i regret you,
why has it returned in the absent light,
whatever it was, it was then, not now,
so why have you come back here now.

I can hear a splash in the river now,
like a reminder, that flash of light,
what apparition beckons me now,
do my anxious eyes deceive me now,
does the past rise from the swamp of this town;
do lies burn in the water now,
is the viscous truth floating now,
what does reality want from me,
what of this despair haunting me,
this pain was birthed, then, not now,
let me find one morning without you,
let me take that step away from you.

I remember what i swore to you,
I see those wounds still bleeding now,
did your silence ever question you,
does my silence ever answer you,
once we were just bubbles of light,
before i walked away from you,
before we ruined it, me and you,
I grew a bruised heart in this town,
I buried innocence in this town,
I will never know what healed in you,
I will never know what broke in me,
what we destroyed then, you and me.

the years unravel before me,
the years taste of old wine and you,
is it the universe testing me,
is it destiny just taunting me,
but why did you come back here now.
life’s circle winding right through me,
a dervish whirling back to me,
nebulous as a lazy twilight,
safe in the arms of warm moonlight,
time wraps your shawl and walks with me,
memories flutter in the streets of this town,
the mind totters to the beat of this town.

the words we said are hoardings in this town,
they scream your name, they whisper to me,
your voice, your face runs through this town,
our jagged lives still gash this town,
they know how it ended, me and you,
that secret is spilt all over the town,
even those gods disowned this town,
what life was meant to be, then not now,
what love was meant to be, then not now,
so why have you come back to this town,
why have you come claiming the light,
why have you come seeking the light.

for it was in that spring half-light,
when the rains battered this town,
I was growing up to be me,
and love was learning to be you,
but you know it was all then, not now.

 

English Canzone: 5 stanzas of 12 lines each followed by a 5 line envoy. 5 end words are repeated in a set pattern:
stanza 1: ABAACAADDAEE
stanza 2: EAEEBEECCEDD
stanza 3: DEDDADDBBDCC
stanza 4: CDCCECCAACBB
stanza 5: BCBBDBBEEBAA
envoy: ABCDE
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42 thoughts on “Then, Not Now

  1. What a great reflection and introspection on the divergent people we are within us. I think we could all look back and reflect of the people we were in our lifetime even though we may regret who we were at times it was still us and must carry them with us always.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Robin. The Canzone form was extremely challenging because of the length, the structure and end words, but I did enjoy writing this. And yes, we are who we are because of the good stuff but also the bad stuff!

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  2. The night can be a place of such intense introspection and speculation – but perhaps all we can say is ‘I was growing up to be me’ – a powerful line in this poem

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  3. A masterful feat, I would say. This requires a lot of patience and determination and the final product is as enchanting as all those end words that repeat, creating a haunting crescendo of all that we have lost, of all that was then and not now.
    Vivid, startling and evocative.
    -HA

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  4. Excellent reflection on the past. I think sometimes we all replay the old scripts of our lives; but good to realize in the end that it was all then, not now.

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  5. These two lines will stay with me: “did your silence ever question you / does my silence ever answer you”. I’m enchanted by what it says about communication, about the importance of the things that weren’t said, about the sense of regret the emanates from silence…

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  6. I love “the somnolent ravens are mocking me”, and “what healed in you……… what broke in me”…….It is hard when an old love returns to town, renewing the old heartbreak.

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  7. My first encounter with this form, it is quite interesting.
    With all of the rhetorical questions posed another come to mind. Have we now become who we are and what of who we are tomorrow?

    have a good Sunday; i’m happy you dropped in on my SUnday Lime today

    much love…

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  8. A challenging form – masterfully rendered – and one, which I thought, was the perfect vehicle for the content. The past does echo through the present (especially when we stay in the same place) and has powerful emotive repercussions … which you have articulated so well, in this piece.

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  9. I was growing up to be me,
    and love was learning to be you,
    but you know it was all then, not now.

    One need not have to go through it all as bitter memories might come back. ‘It was all then’ let bygones be bygones! Great lines Thots!

    Hank

    Like

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