Next Line, Please

Caged But Free ...

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By David Lehman

November 10, 2015


 

 

Line five of our sonnet-in-progress is also the first line of our second stanza, a lot rides on it. The best candidate, in my view, is Christine Rhein’s “If marriage is a cage, we can force the lock, but he …”  This line introduces the subject of marriage, the metaphor of the locked cage, and the conditional construction that leaves the reader wondering what “he” will do and how that will affect our situation of dreams, scandal, penthouse, and darkness lit up by lightning.

Second place goes to Millicent Caliban’s “She, embraced by a god invisible, but he.” I confess to stumbling a bit over the absent verb in the first part of the line. But I am charmed by the image of “a god invisible,” and I hope Millicent will continue to propose lines.

I would award third place to Vicki Peterson for “Left hand gold glimmers; we remove it, but she.” Again there is the subject of marriage, but here we have the wedding band and the mysteriousness of a collective effort to remove it from the lady’s ring finger.

Honorable mention: Angela Ball, with her clever allusion to John Berryman’s dream songs (“The man of my dreams was my toy, my rest, but he”).


For line six–the second line of stanza two of our sonnet in the making–the requirement is that the line must end with the word “learn.”  Yes, I have something up my sleeve, but I won’t reveal what it is until later …

Deadline: Noon on Sunday, November 15. Thanks everyone, and good luck.

Here’s where we are now:

Our dreams as disparate as our days uniform,                   Michael C. Rush
We crave a lovely scandal with someone well-known;      Angela Ball
Midnight champagne, penthouse lit by thunderstorm,    Christine Rhein
In this version of darkness, we are never alone.                 Elizabeth Solsburg

If marriage is a cage, we can force the lock, but he            Christine Rhein


David Lehman is a poet and the general editor of The Best American Poetry series. He teaches at The New School in New York City.

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