Upon a sea of doubt in love I drift
Knowing I do not know the way to go
When torrents take my craft so swift
Toward you—I am a boat I cannot row.

So many moons surround you, that my own
Pale beam adds little to your light.
Were I to make my tender feelings known
I fear you would be–oh so graciously–polite.

Stark reality could break my heart
Sooner than love lived only in a dream,
So I will keep my distance, and my life apart
From you, in silent ardor and esteem.

Love knows not how it grows or why,
Nor, in my utter helplessness, do I.

75 responses »

  1. Cynthia, this one is quite lovely. I know the feeling precisely. Your play on alliteration and the flow is masterful. This, I think, is one of your VERY BEST. I keep wanting to listen to you saying it again and again. Marvelous! In wonder, Jane

    • I’m so glad you can identify with this, Jane. It becomes difficult to know how to respond to praise of the poem….like anyone would, I love it, but it makes me aware of how often there is no “I” writing the poem, but rather an instrument playing a larger song that belongs to us all. Thank you.

    • I am so complimented (and amused) to have stopped you in your tracks, Christine, because I think of you as “unstoppable”…..not only in gumption, but in grace and openness to life. I hope you won’t be stopped for long, because I rely on you to keep things real. Thank you for the very supportive words, and I’m glad the poem meant something to you.

  2. Oh, Cynthia, you write, beautifully and palpitatingly, on my favorite subject–longing–and your Orphean nature, I have descried this using several secret summations, feeds upon such longing.

    Those with Parnassian blood are sometimes fated to love in silence. And that’s not a death sentence–it’s a sort of exaltation.

    • Dear Prospero….such a major puzzlement is such longing…..and love, being so essentially what we are, why do we make it so difficult? Maybe you’re right, and the way to exaltation–if that’s where we’re headed— is a reticent way (there is something reticent about beauty), and a way accompanied by a music great with silences…..

  3. Once again Cynthia your words send me on a journey of life, where I can dine, drink in and just plain experience the treasures of the most basic human instinct. I could listen to you recite your poetry all day long – great way to start my day.

    • And you, my dear friend, will give me what mum used to call a “swelled head”…..only, you know, I am sure, that art, when it’s truly at work, is about something larger, forgetting oneself, working and enjoying the process….that an observer or reader connects is the creative closing of the circuit. Thank you for being that kind of connection!

      • It’s really all my pleasure – the least that I can do for the tremendous joy that your work gives me. Cynthia I’m betting that while you are writing or reading back your poems you experience what we call an “endorphin rush.” It’s that unexplainable out-of-body feeling. Does this ring true for you?

  4. Reblogged this on Oil Pastels by Mary and commented:
    Do you know “”? If not, you are in for a sweet treat. Cynthia, author of this blog, is an amazing author of poetry – I simply love the breadth and range of her work, and the emotional cords that she reaches in every piece she writes. Only recently she began to record her poems so we could enjoy the theatrical drama that her voice delivers as she cleverly dances over the words.
    So do open the blog and get ready to thoroughly enjoy Miss Cynthia’s writing treasures and do be sure to scroll to the end of her poem for there is her recording that will have you wanting more.

    • Oh my goodness, Mary…I’ve never been re-blogged, except by you. Thank you for sharing this with your very wide audience. Already today I’ve been introduced to and by some wonderful poets and artists I may not otherwise have known about. I am humbled, and honored, and thank you!

  5. Cynthia,

    Very pleased to have found you via โ€˜Oil Pastels of Maryโ€™.

    โ€˜Sonetto Timorosoโ€™ is a cracking poem, beautifully capturing that sense of wistful longing familiar to many. Beautifully read too, every syllable charged with feeling.

    I will visit again.

    Best wishes from the UK,


    • I’m most pleased to have discovered your site as well, Paul. Just now I had a lovely time blackberrying there, and I’m sure I will return.

      Thank you for those very kind words about my poem!

  6. My dear Cyn, oh thank you again and again! Another treasure of your essence finding its expression here. Exquisite in form, so generous in its truth telling and I saw it, two days ago and was so raw myself, so tender, I just could not bring myself to open it and read. Tonight, I am so glad I did, I dared to take you in like this….thank you! And thank you for how you responded to the other Cincinnati voice’s query about your friend here….I have been sending your poems to 6 or 7 of my local poetry friends and clients and have been waiting for one or another of hyphen to comment here on your blog, but mostly they just thank me for sending it along….
    When oh when will I be able to give them a volume of your poems?

    • Good news (I think :-))….just this evening I am going over the final proofs of my poetry book, before it is approved and sent to the printer. And I have just finished making up my short list of complimentary copies…you’re on it, of course. It will be a hardcover book, Jule, very traditional and more expensive than those paperback chapbooks, I’m afraid….a limited edition, so maybe not the thing to press upon folks who aren’t really interested. Maybe, if this goes well, I’ll have a cheaper, second edition…and hand them out like tracts on the street corners! Truth is, poetry doesn’t sell, as I am continually reminded…..Sometimes you can’t even give it away! But do we care? Nah….Thank you so much for stopping by…I suspect you have enough other things to keep you hopping….please take care…

  7. You have a most beautiful voice, Cynthia ! – why are our voices so much younger than our images (and I’m not meaning to insult you, I promise !) ? I think I shall simply listen to your new posts …

    • You have given me a good laugh this morning, and something to ponder….I only began recently to add audio to my poetry blog because I was curious about the relationship of voice/sound to poetry that is being written now. I wonder about the relationship of hearing to reading, and the fact that much of today’s poetry is somewhat breathless and fragmentary…….non-sentences, non-punctuated, etc. The human breath, and song, were originally and traditionally where poetry was rooted, but we drifted away from that…probably because of the tedious, predictable end-rhyming that evolved. But I have a tendency to hear what I am reading, so decided to see how that works by doing the audio, here. I guess I’m amazed at how well received it has been….especially by some who are not usually big poetry fans…….a long-winded response to you, but y’all got me thinking on it once again.

      As for your non-insult, well and good. We oldies aren’t that insultable anyway! I appreciate your stopping by….

      • Long-winded response very much appreciated, believe me ! ๐Ÿ™‚ I like being allowed inside the mind of a poet !!!!
        I’m among your followers now, and look forward to hearing more of that lovely voice.

          • Renos finished: it’s the redistribution of the internals that remains to be done. And there is SO MUCH of that I’m not getting my act together at all. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ
            See yer round like a rissole … (bit of Aussie slang for you) [grin]

  8. Oh Cynthia! This is right up there with Elizabeth Barrett Browning, IMO. It is perfect and beautiful and lyrical and… (I could go on an on….) Plus I relate to the feelings in the poem completely. Excellent craftsmanship!

    • Funny thing about sonnets….if you hang around them long enough, you begin to hear yourself speaking Browning! Translating Louise Labรฉ does the trick, in my case. I’m glad you relate to the feelings, too. I’m discovering that many do….more than I would have thought. Thanks so much for your encouragement, Betty.

  9. You have so many beautiful complimentary comments here Cynthia, I’m trying to think what I can add, that hasn’t been said already!! ๐Ÿ˜€

    Well – this is just stunning, so much truth in that poem! A little sad too, but sad is okay with me as long as it speaks of life and humanity. A lot of life is a little bit too sad, and to be able to write about it probably feels quite natural to those of us who enjoy words. But so many, as hard as they try, just can’t quite say it how it feels, and that for me is what makes really excellent writing that stands out in poetry or stories. To actually ‘feel’ a piece of writing and not just to surface read it, is where the magic lies – and you definitely have that Cynthia!

    I’m sure also, with the right kind of music and voice, this would make a perfect song. So many would relate to these feelings, and a song would add all the more feeling too. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • So interesting, what you say, Suzy, about sadness and literature….music, too, all the arts. I am reminded of that famous exchange between Zorba the Greek and his friend Basil, who had been reading Dante’s Divine Comedy:
      Zorba: “Why do the young die? Why does anybody die?”
      Basil: “I don’t know.”
      Zorba: “Then what’s the use of all your damn books?”
      Basil: “They tell about the agony of men who can’t answer questions like yours.”
      Perhaps in such “telling” we find that we belong, all of us, to a greater something shared, and that’s the whole point.
      Interesting, also, what you say about poems as songs..probably the most adaptable are the most straightforward ones, that can be simplified to a memorable refrain…..As I write this, I have just started laughing, thinking of my line about rowing a boat, above…and now I’m singing “Row, row, row your boat…” so I think I’ll quit! Thanks so much, Suzy…you always inspire!

      • I like that quote Cynthia, Basil was correct! If there weren’t so many questions about our existence, and also how unfair the circumstances are at times, there wouldn’t that much to write about. I’m sure the sharing of feelings keeps most of us a lot more sane!

        Oh no, the loop of a remembered song! I hope it didn’t take hold too much!! ๐Ÿ˜€

        • It’s such an old, silly song, sung as a round…and yet, in its simplicity, profound, now that I think of it: Row, row, row your boat
          Gently down the stream….
          Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily,
          Life is but a dream….

          A treat to see you here, as always, Suzy

  10. But aren’t our hearts already broken in the “dream” where hope is so (what?) thin and dim and long? Stark reality…dream…there are some “games” of love where I no longer know the difference. My heart has been so broken by the dream, I don’t think reality could get any starker, at least it would be over, the dream, and I don’t know the rest…a moving poem

    • Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts, Anna. This is not the love of a dream, it is real love, that may not—for one reason or another—be expressed openly. The heart is certainly not broken in dreams; it could be broken by the rules (which we all love) of convention.

      • I’m so glad you did. It would be interesting to ponder why you almost held back. I won’t ask but such decisions, for myself, often are revealing. Sorry, I been doing some “heavy” writing…

        • I held back because I hoped the addressee ( who does read here) would not recognize to whom I was speaking. I also assumed that the voice of the poem wouldn’t find much empathy. I was wrong on both scores! No need to apologize for bringing it up. I tend to be reticent about my “heavier” writing in the blogosphere…you don’t know who’s out there ๐Ÿ™‚
          I do like openness, but sentimentality bugs me, and there’s already enough of it around.
          Thanks for getting me pondering on all this again. ๐Ÿ™‚

          • Thank you Cynthia. I do understand and am in the process of writing about something I thought I was finished writing about. Of course, in my case, that should be the first clue that I am not finished. A prompt for a short-story competition for an online writing group (LinkedIn) for the week: FOR SALE; BABY SHOES, NEVER WORN
            It took me back to the death of my daughter, once again. I began writing about it but not for competition or publication. For now, it is just for me. x

              • The thing is, keep writing! Or as the saying goes, I write ergo I am! Okay so I took a little liberty…
                I’m getting an nudge to re-read one of May Sarton’s journals. I believe I was too young when I read it before and that there is something in it for me now?

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