In deepest, darkest depths of my despair
I find myself without a saving grace.
A pendulum of pain prevents my prayer
from rising upward through the dead of space.
Within these walls a war where no one wins
repeats itself just like a worn-out rhyme.
No swain should e’er succumb to swinish sins,
for he who does the crime must do the time.
And yet there was a time I loved her true
and in those days we dreamt without restraint.
These merry memories have made me rue
a life I should have lived with more constraint.

For now I dwell inside this cursed abyss,
a captive soul who longs for heaven’s bliss.



Tom Woodliff is an active real estate investor who resides in Northeast Ohio.

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20 Responses

  1. Mark Stellinga

    Tom, a powerful piece indeed, concisely voicing how traumatic and life altering our relational mistakes sometimes prove to be. Nice job…

  2. Roy Eugene Peterson

    I have written so many poems with the underlying subtext of regret, not because of what I did, but because of pursuits I should have made. Your poem is, as Mark Stellinga said, “a powerful piece,” that bring back those missteps that haunt my soul.

  3. Paul Freeman

    A nicely constructed sonnet, Tom, with a poignant message.

  4. Russel Winick

    Fine expression of a difficult topic. Thanks for the read, Tom.

  5. Tonia Kalouria

    Love both the message and flow of this,
    Tom. Quite poignant.

  6. Jeremiah Johnson

    I like the exuberant, unabashed alliteration, calling to mind those poems in the early Medieval vein like the Pearl Poet’s “Gawain”

    • Tom Woodliff

      Unabashed indeed. Hey I’ll have to look that bad boy up. Thx

  7. Joshua C. Frank

    Great one, it captures so well the feeling of regret that won’t go away. My favorite lines are “Within these walls a war where no one wins/repeats itself just like a worn-out rhyme.”

  8. Susan Jarvis Bryant

    I like the alliterative flow and the message portrayed in this rueful sonnet with a warning.

  9. David Whippman

    How true this rings! It’s so hard to resist replaying scenes long past, regretting what we did every time. It’s a kind of hell, and you depict it vividly.

  10. Margaret Coats

    This beautifully worded sonnet with many nicely alliterative lines does present a question of scope. How deep and hopeless is this despair? Memories in the 11th line, compunction in the 12th, and the longing in the last line suggest ways out. In a collection or sequence, the poet might offer other perspectives. But right here, the Promethean pit pose predominates!

    • Tom Woodliff

      Haha. Thanks for comment Margaret. I’m new here, so getting familiar slowly


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