Forsake Me Now

Forsake me now, and say your last farewell
While my misfortune’s in its full career,
By circumstances forced to part from here,
And in the furthest land from this to dwell;
Forsake me as each branch and bough I fell,
Uprooting my unripened yesteryear,
To sow a seed that’s nourished by the tear
That on some foreign field I shall expel;
But do not wait to give the final blow
To one who has already been well beaten,
Nor wait until the years have weather-beaten
My wrinkled face into a wretched woe;
For if you leave me first, then I shall bear
All other losses, which cannot compare.



The Curlew’s Cry

I’m haunted as I hear the curlew’s cry,
Whose call is carried through the beaches bare
Until it reaches me, who has to bear
The burden of its long-sustaining sigh;
And if its name means ‘messenger’, that’s why
I am reminded of your waving hair,
Of when I was not far, but with you there,
Whom I behold but in my inner eye;
And as he flaps his wings to fly away,
I wish I had some levitating limb
With which to soar the sky serene with him,
For then I would be brought to where you lay;
But now he’s gone, and I am left alone
To cry the curlew’s incoherent moan.



At Sea

Far from the boundary of the beach’s bay,
I sit upon a stern, from where I see
And contemplate the calmness of the sea,
On which does dance the light of morning’s ray;
But I, alas, have come within the spray
Of mental storms from which I cannot flee,
Which cause the waves to wash all over me,
Who does despair of clearer skies today;
For I’m without my love, my would-be oar
To help me navigate the world’s vast ocean,
To steer me clear of all its vain commotion,
And guide me to the stillness of the shore;
While lacking this, my boat is sinking down,
And I can only hope to quickly drown.



Truth and Lie in But One Breath

At once did I both truth and lie conceive,
When with my hand on heart, I did attest
‘I cannot better love, but now love best’,
(Love’s fullest bloom I seemed then to perceive);
For just as seasons change, I did believe
Love’s seed is sown in spring, whose greatest zest
In highest heat of summer’s manifest,
Whose frigid winter we in time would grieve;
But I do fear how false I had then been,
Who thought that love, like lovers, needs must die,
Not knowing love the seasons could defy,
Nor that my fervour’s feeling’s evergreen;
Thus did I think the highest love was mortal,
But now, my dear, I promise love immortal.



Neither ‘You’ Nor ‘I’, But ‘We’

I do not wish that I may call you ‘mine’,
Nor reference be made to ‘he’ and ‘she’,
For like the droplets that compose the sea,
Between us there’s no boundary to define;
For you and I far better intertwine
Than ivy as it cleaves around the tree,
Although no inch of space would seem to be
Between the fastened elm and clutching vine;
For when our bodies are together brought
(Our fingers interlocking each frontier),
Like two curved lines, we fold to form one sphere;
Would that our souls could so unite in thought,
For then we would not need to meet in twain,
Nor fear that we may parted be again.



Daniel Joseph Howard studied law in his native Ireland before taking his MA in philosophy at King’s College London. He currently works in the European Commission.

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7 Responses

  1. Cheryl Corey

    All very nice sonnets. My favorite lines in “Forsake Me..”: “Uprooting my unripened yesteryear” and “until the years have weather-beaten My wrinkled face”; the imagery of your love as “my would-be oar” in “At Sea”; in “Neither You…” “For you and I far better intertwine Than ivy as it cleaves around the tree”.

  2. Gary Borck

    Your sonnets are outstanding, Daniel. A wonderful, moving and dexterous use of language. This is how poetry should be written. I gained a lot of enjoyment and inspiration from reading this work.

  3. Cynthia Erlandson

    I agree that these are beautifully composed sonnets. I found “Forsake Me Now” the most moving; it expresses such a poignant, painful thought.

  4. Cheryl Corey

    I wanted to know how a curlew sounded, so I looked it up. You effectively link the first line and ending couplet with the imagery of the curlew’s cry.

    • C.B. Anderson

      Sorry to spoil the mood, Daniel, but I found your ideas and images to be disconnected as they progressed from sentence to sentence. Also, some of the technical flaws (e.g., the presumption that “mortal” & “immortal” is actually a good rhyme) spoil the possibility of enjoying the few bright points you might have managed to work into these poems. You won’t get much love from me, because you haven’t earned it.


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