If I’d been younger, or you not so old,
Or we’d met at a different time and place,
Would there have been within your heart a space
For me, for love to reach and grab ahold?
Might there have been such glories to behold
As two might have when two are given grace
To become one? Might destiny erase
The present and allow dreams to unfold?

For here I am and there you are. And we
Are not together, for I see within
My mind’s eye something like the rolling sea
Lapping up against the shore, akin
To union that will never, ever be,
As un-united as it’s always been.



Dream State

I woke but I was not awake. Around
Me was a canyon—gravelike, dark abode
Where light was dim and dying. And the sound

About me echoed breath. The night bestowed
Around me festering, thick, fetid air,
Cold and black. This closed space did forebode

Forthcoming unknown states, and places where
I had to stay silent. But then the descent,
Descending in a spiral in midair

Which caused my senses to disorient.
I then could taste of death, an acrid taste,
Displeasure adding to my discontent

Where whirling down and nausea interlaced;
And then I stopped. By then I could not feel
A thing. For numbness somehow had replaced

My sense of touch. My fingers, dead, unreal,
Like phantoms had no body. All I’d known
I knew no more. And throughout this ordeal

I could touch no one. I was all alone
In this dark, blinded world—I could not see
As well, the absence of the light so shown

In this weird, womblike state, which was to me
A mummy, or a corpse. Was I alive?
Was this a wrapped cocoon? Then suddenly

It felt like birthing. When I did survive
The squeezings and the movement, water broke
Around me. Then my senses did revive

As I emerged. What thoughts did this evoke,
Feeling new, delivered? Was I free,
Or was this just a dream as I awoke?

No matter what, my sensibilities
Were shattered by this psychic fantasy!



Theresa Rodriguez is the author of Jesus and Eros: Sonnets, Poems and Songs, Longer Thoughts, which has just been released by Shanti Arts, and Sonnets, a collection of sixty-five sonnets which has also just been released by Shanti Arts. Her work has appeared in such journals and publications as in the Wilderness House Literary Review, the Midwest Poetry Review, Leaf  Magazine, Spindrift, the Shakespeare Oxford Fellowship, The Road Not Taken: A Journal of Formal Poetry, Mezzo Cammin, The Scarlet Leaf Review, The Epoch Times, and the Society of Classical Poets.  Her website is www.bardsinger.com.

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15 Responses

  1. James Sale

    I particularly like Kismet, Theresa – there is a sad, wistfulness about it, and that universal sense that every thinking person probably has at some time in their life: what if? And, if things had been different! It’s a kind of variant on The Road Not Taken, but with a sense of this specific lost love has a more personal and intense pathos. Beautiful writing.

  2. Theresa Rodriguez

    Thank you, James, I am glad you liked it! I appreciate your insightful comments very much.

  3. Cynthia Erlandson

    I agree with the things James said; and I think both of these poems are lovely! (And, anyone who can write so well in terza rima, has my respect!)

  4. Joseph S. Salemi

    “Kismet” is a really nice sonnet – tightly crafted, and with perfect rhymes. This is an example of how the FORM of a poem can deliberately work against the expressed STATEMENT of the poem. The rhetorical structure of this sonnet is in a complete and self-contained harmony, while the subject under discussion is the failure to achieve unity.

    • Theresa Rodriguez

      Thank you so much for your kind comments and astute analysis, Dr. Salemi, I appreciate it very much!

    • Daniel Kemper

      Dr. Salemi, your stretch to impose something that is not there is simply fascinating. All sonnets, being fixed forms, are tight constructs. Most subjects are not tight constructs.

      • Joseph S. Salemi

        Sonnets are tight fixed forms here, but not at some other websites I could mention. As for a subject, it can be tightly constructed if the poet puts his mind to making it so.

  5. Andrew Benson Brown

    Two poems on mental torture. Well done!

    ‘Dream State’ takes us on a journey through the senselessness of the senses. I couldn’t help but thinking of the theory that posits we are all floating in a void for eons before our birth. This poem reminds me of a sort of psychologically distressed inversion of the Mark Twain quote: “I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it.”

    • Theresa Rodriguez

      Thank you for your kind comment and interesting perspective, Andrew, I appreciate it very much!

  6. Daniel Kemper

    Teresa, these are pretty solid poems. I question the archaisms of “ahold” and “for I see” and “within my mind’s eye” and “bestowed” etc. though. The sense of unresolved longing in Kismet is described in tight detail. And I always dig a paradox, a dream within a dream. There’s no mistaking your craft.

    • Theresa Rodriguez

      Thank you, Daniel, for your much-appreciated and thought-provoking comments. I guess I don’t perceive the words and phrases you mentioned as archaic, just part of the way I would speak and think. You brought something to my mind I had not thought of before!

  7. David Watt

    Theresa, I particularly enjoyed “Kismet”. The image in the sestet of the rolling sea lapping against the shore is a fine way to describe a fleeting opportunity never taken.

    • Theresa Rodriguez

      Thank you, David, for your kind comment, I am so glad you enjoyed “Kismet”!

  8. James Sale

    I think I agree with Joseph Salemi here, though I see Daniel Kemper’s point. But sometimes the counterpoint is particularly acute and so meaningful; and so it is here. A good example that exhibits the same tendency – tight form (though not sonnet) – would be George Herbert’s The Collar: I love the way in this poem that the poet raves and raves against God, but finally the form itself enfolds the rage (through rhyme) and heals it – a primary purpose of poetry and the god Apollo. There is in this poem what I think Theresa’s poem has: an inner tension that the form accentuates and so makes more powerful. Aside, however, from the technicalities, it’s still a tremendous poem.


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