A reply to sonnet 17

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Our love’s not horticultural. It’s not about
flora – roses, carnations – or geology.
There’s no mystery to our love other than why
we persist with something as unhealthy as this.

When we’re out we’re drunk, loud and outrageous, picking fights
and spilling our drinks into the laps of strangers.
When we’re home we argue, you cry, I yell, I cry
and the neighbours are always banging on the door.

Mornings you stumble about and your hair’s a nest.
I stink and snore and my lips move when reading Joyce.
Of course we should part (our friends all agree) — I’ll do
what writers do; you’ll find someone better than me.

But where do I end and you begin, who dreamt who ?
how the magic’s renewed: open my eyes and it’s you.


This is a “reply” to Pablo Neruda’s wonderful sonnet 17 “I do not love you as if you were salt-rose or topaz…”, in response to the Dverse Poets’ pub challenge of 17 August 2017 (just a little late; the muse will not be rushed).

Image – c/- George Hodan, publicdomainpictures.net

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