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Poet’s Note: These poems are non-autobiographical.

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When Love is Lost

To see the summer sun and wish for rain;
To smell the springtime flowers and wish for snow;
To wake at dawn and wish for night again;
To trade today for dreams of long ago.

To grieve the present and embrace the past
Remembering the love that worked its way
Into our hearts and bloomed but did not last;
A fallen blossom doomed to fade away.

And what is there to do when love is lost?
When broken promises betray our trust?
When star-crossed lovers’ love is double-crossed
And life’s tomorrows crumble into dust?

The path we choose shall be the path we keep,
To love again or to forever weep?

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Love Betrayed

The scattered shards of shattered hopes and dreams
Lie strewn across the unswept floor of my
Distempered heart. Each splintered fragment screams
In silence, doomed to neither live nor die.

Yet in that silence echo memories
Of what once was and one day might have been,
Ere love’s embrace and night-sung ecstasies
Fell mute before the soul-less scythe of sin.

For failed faithfulness once sown, will reap
A bitter harvest of despair and grief.
And innocence betrayed is left to weep
Insufferable tears of misbelief.

Yet in the midst of suffering and pain
I dare to dream that I shall dream again.

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I Call Your Name

A Mirror Poem

The stillness of the night, I call your name.
I wake from dreams of long ago, and in
The darkness of my brokenness and shame . . .
I weep for what I’ve done, what might have been.

I weep for what I’ve done, what might have been.
The darkness of my brokenness and shame . . .
I wake from dreams of long ago, and in
The stillness of the night, I call your name.

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Eating Dust

“I’m leaving. It’s been fun,” she said. “Goodbye!”
And she was gone. I didn’t say a thing.
I didn’t have the wherewithal to cry:
A ten-count knockout in life’s boxing ring.

As for my towel, I would have thrown it in
A long, long time ago except for pride,
Which filled me with delusions that I’d win
Her back—my love, my life, my self-asundered bride.

But off she went, and left me eating dust—
A sad reward for all the love I had
For her who, in return, betrayed my trust
And ran off with some interloping cad.

She sucker-punched me with a 10-ounce glove;
A low-blow loser in the game of love.

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James A. Tweedie is a retired pastor living in Long Beach, Washington. He has written and published six novels, one collection of short stories, and three collections of poetry including Mostly Sonnets, all with Dunecrest Press. His poems have been published nationally and internationally in The Lyric, Poetry Salzburg (Austria) Review, California Quarterly, Asses of Parnassus, Lighten Up Online, Better than Starbucks, WestWard Quarterly, Society of Classical Poets, and The Chained Muse.


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11 Responses

    • James A. Tweedie

      Thank you Donald. They say “Love is kind and Justice is blind.” But in life, both sometimes fall short of that promise.

      Reply
  1. Julian D. Woodruff

    Very fine, Mr. Tweedie. I especially admire the rhetorical quality of “Lost.”

    Reply
  2. BRIAN YAPKO

    A marvelous quartet, James. My favorite is When Love Is Lost which is infused with such longing. And yet the wit is there — especially in a line like “when star-crossed lovers’ love is double-crossed.” It’s especially pleasing that you explicitly brought Shakespeare into what reads very much like a Shakespearian sonnet.

    Reply
  3. Jeff Eardley

    Mr Tweedie, these read like the lyrics to four great songs of lost love and are crying out for melodies.
    I love “the soul-less scythe of sin” and “a low-blow loser in the game of love.” If these are non-autobiographical, I shudder to think how good the biographical ones could be. As ever, great poetry. Thank you.

    Reply
  4. Paul Freeman

    Enjoyed the poems very much.

    Perhaps it’s lucky they’re not autobiographical – otherwise (according to the picture) you’d be Napoleon.

    Reply
  5. Margaret Coats

    Last poem first! The last line there is best interpreted as referring to “she” in the previous line. This makes the unfaithful woman the “low-blow loser in the game of love”! That line would ordinarily be in apposition to what comes immediately before–but we can hardly see the glove as loser. The glove, however, is the woman’s means of taking action, and that entire next-to-last line is about nothing but her sucker-punching. The man only shows up as “me,” a barely noticeable two-letter direct object. He may have loved and lost, but he still loves, and she is losing him by walking out. I consider this a great surprise-ending line to the poem.

    The mirror poem is magnificent. I’m putting it in my collection of pattern poems. Young students love this kind of thing–but every sort of pattern poem tends to have some little hitch where the pattern doesn’t work. What you’ve done in “I Call Your Name” is take advantage of the flaw to create a tighter pattern. We notice the flaw in the first line: it should begin with a preposition. But the poem works just fine after that, and when we get to the last line, we see how skillful the set-up was. The hitch at the beginning prepared not just a flawless ending, but a pattern just short of perfect!

    The first two poems are both “betrayed love” poems, rather than ones where love is lost through death, distance, societal pressure, or something else not involving the “scythe of sin.” In “When Love Is Lost,” betrayal lurking in the background only comes out after the turn, in that third quatrain which is simply splendid at making the revelation.

    The illustration caught my attention. Josephine lost her first husband to the guillotine during the Reign of Terror, and she had given him the son she and Napoleon weren’t able to have. That stepson (one of Napoleon’s ablest relatives) had a daughter named Josephine who became Queen of Sweden. The name of Josephine remains traditional in the Swedish royal family, borne at present by more than one princess, including 3-year-old Princess Adrienne Josephine Alice. As well, the deserted Josephine was grandmother of Emperor Napoleon III, who was only a nephew to Napoleon I. In this case, the deserter Napoleon never got the descendants he wanted, but his deserted wife lives on in Europe’s current royalty and in Bonapartist would-be royalty.

    Reply
    • James A. Tweedie

      Thank you, Margaret. As is often the case you ferret out the occasional nuances I work into my poems.

      As in, for example, the last poem where you address the final line at length. The grammar is intentional to allow the reader to apply the final line to both actors in the drama. Each is a “loser” in their own way but the one who threw the “low blow” and KO-ed her partner leaves the scene both discredited and disqualified–the bigger loser in spite of leaving the ring still on her feet.

      I’m glad you liked the mirror poem which does, indeed, have that minor flaw at the beginning so as to lead to an effective ending on the flip side. And you are also right in saying that creating such a poem is more difficult that it looks!

      For me, the concept of “lost love” embraces a number of sub-sets including love lost through death, betrayal, mutually agreed divorce, extended separation, cognitive collapse, etc. In each case there is some measure of loss, grief, and brokenness wherein “echo memories of what once was . . . ”

      Your comments elevate my poetry and for that, I am most grateful.

      Reply
  6. Yael

    Great poems, every one of them. I particularly enjoy When Love Is Lost and the Mirror Poem. All 4 poems are thought provoking and a joy to read, thank you.

    Reply
  7. David Watt

    James, your group of four poems are all well crafted. I particularly enjoyed your expression of the descent from warmth and light into darkness and cold in the first stanza of ‘When Love is Lost’.

    Reply
  8. David Bellemare Gosselin

    Dear James,

    I really like these poems! These are among my favourite of the pieces you’ve written.

    “I Call Your Name” is really beautiful and really shows the power of even the simplest strophic poem, when well composed. I could definitely see this piece set to music beautifully.

    Great stuff.

    Thank you for sharing.

    Reply

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