Twisted Reckoning

If pain can produce beauty,
and if beauty causes pain,
then how can I be reconciled
to more loss than I gain?

If love is also longing,
and if love is loss refined,
how can I move ahead and mourn
when love has been unkind?

I look afar aback on life,
I see in retrospect
how vain were my attempts to love
what love came to reject.

I furtively sought on and on
to find camaraderie,
but come to this: I am alone
with I, myself and me.

But loneliness can transmorph pain
and become one at last;
I breathe in states of solitude
like penance due my past.

I learn of quiet and unrest,
in paradox I stay;
and thus endeavor to find out
why life has been this way.

And so I edge along ahead
with one big questioning:
why have I lost what others gain,
this twisted reckoning???



Oh, When I Hear

Oh, when I hear the plaintive, painful sound
Of music played within a minor key,
Or modal scales in doleful reverie,
Suspensions and its dissonance abound.
A juxtaposing light and dark around
A center of discordant harmony
Combined with the most weeping melody
Is where a truth, so sacred, may be found.
For it is in the ebbing resolution,
When tensions ease and struggling is at rest,
That one can find a consonant conclusion,
And peace from pain residing in the breast.
For suffering can be of benefit,
If acquiescing, music’s made through it.



Theresa Rodriguez is the author of Jesus and Eros: Sonnets, Poems and Songs, a collection of 65 sonnets soon being released in a second edition by Shanti Arts, and her third book of poetry, entitled Longer Thoughts, which has just been released by Shanti Arts. Her work has appeared in the Journal of Religion and Intellectual Life, the Midwest Poetry Review, Leaf Magazine, Spindrift, the Shakespeare Oxford Fellowship, The Road Not Taken: A Journal of Formal Poetry, Mezzo Cammin, The Epoch Times, and the Society of Classical Poets. Her website is

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8 Responses

  1. Peter Hartley

    Theresa – Very wistful, moving, poignant, the more so because I find echoes of my own lifetime’s experience in your words so excellently put.

  2. Theresa Rodriguez

    I am so glad my life experience resonates with you, Peter, thank you for the kind comments!

  3. Margaret Coats

    Theresa, these poems immediately strike me as a superbly crafted pair. It is not just that the sonnet gives an answer to the questioning quatrains. Standard quatrains rhyming xaxa are always a twisting together of unrhyme with rhyme, but here you’ve made that thematically and painfully explicit. The sonnet, with longer lines and each line rhyming with another, especially because its theme is music, suggests an approaching resolution as soon as it begins to speak of painful sound, thus echoing the pain in the first poem. I admire the unrhymed “unrest” of the sixth quatrain becoming “rest” in the sonnet and finding a rhyme companion word in the “breast” where peace from pain is finally residing. Lovely work!

    • Theresa Rodriguez

      Your appreciation means a great deal to me, Margaret, thank you for your kind comments!

  4. Monty

    It’s hard to believe, Theresa, that it was only about a year ago that you submitted a poem to these pages flagrantly lacking in even the most basic of grammar. I forget the poem, but you may remember that I and another highlighted the shortfalls, after which you re-wrote it with perfect grammar . . since when you’ve never looked back. Every piece(s) you’ve submitted since (including the above) has been grammatically flawless.

    I must also say . . you’ve fast become the most honest poet here at the SCP. I’m not for a moment saying that others may write without honesty; but nobody is as willing to lay bare their soul in the way that you do. For me personally, poetry is never more authentic than when a poet completely and uninhibitedly lays their soul bare.

    • Theresa Rodriguez

      Thank you, Monty, for your kind comments. I am glad that the way I “bare my soul” resonates with you. That is extremely gratifying! You have helped renew my purpose afresh.


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