‘Dividing the Spoils’

This is the sonnet I wrote for homework on the theme of Divorce. It was really challenging and I could redraft it forever. There are rhymes to be had that I haven’t found. In the process of getting from draft twenty to here I’ve rewritten it another six times. I think I might call a halt here.

‘Dividing the Spoils’

You can have the ponderous furniture,
The weight of that old, brown, inheritance,
And that absurd painting she gave to you,
That you hung above our marital bed
The oven is yours, the freezer my cold self.

I’ll cleft the kettle and halt that last brew.
We can chop the toaster and cleave the fridge.
Let us take a child apiece, the boy mine.
The girl yours to remind you of your wife.
Or will I  use your father’s fine toothed saw
To cut through hair, to rive from brain to groin?
My share will be where the mole marks her cheek,
And his grazed left knee with its star shaped scar

|I’ll tend to the beating of their bruised hearts.

Today I read: Sonnets

Read sonnets? Not a phrase I have used very often in my life, to my slight shame as an English teacher.

 

From ‘The Eye’ by Don Paterson

 

The empty mind you finally display

ten weeks into the yogic agony

of your silent retreat, you will discover

in the latter stages of a gin hangover.

 

To be found in 40 Sonnets by Don Paterson.

The words rang true. The sense of that moment in a long hangover, whereby you have finally transcended pain, and suffering, and self-loathing, and vowing never again, in order to arrive, sometimes only briefly, at a point whereby you know that you are actually going to get better. And so, you can just –exist. And everything is okay. And because it wasn’t before you feel amazing. And you’re not a bad person.

Except of course, Don Paterson puts it a lot more elegantly, which of course, is the point.

The poem goes on to consider those other, elusive, moments of transcendence, when you can just be. Its conclusion hints, I think, at something darker in the desire for that emptiness.

What I like about Don Paterson (so far) is that he clearly doesn’t take himself too seriously. Unlike, it seems upon reading it back to myself, this post.