Friday, 16 September 2011


If he had not withdrawn, I would have continued to draw him into my lair.
If he had not closed up, I would have kept him open to every danger.
If he had not known the truth, I would have continually fed him the lie.
If he did not know his name, I would have called him another.

I claimed to know the way, He knew the road.
I claimed there was a lot in store, he knew the score.
I offered all, he knew there was none.
I claimed I had died, he knew where my life was.

If he had not been of the books, I would have made a crook.
If he did not have a mind, I would have made him of a kind.
If he had no fire, I would have quenched him out.
If he had not been him, I would have been me.

I claimed unconditional love; he knew there is all ways a price.
I had my card on the table, he held the ace.
I claimed deep knowledge; he knew what he needed to know.
I thought I was good at the game; he is one player I cannot beat.


  1. Hi Juliet,

    This is a great poem, I particularly enjoyed the rhythm of the repetition - it makes the poem feel more like the lyrics to a song because there's such a good rhythm to it.I also really like the internal rhymes that you have in lines 6, 9 and 10.

    I think if you wanted to improve the poem further, you could think about re-writing it within a more formal rhyme scheme. The idea and the images are very strong, and it might benefit from a more rigid rhyme and meter scheme. I'd suggest maybe a Ballard, or a Villanelle, or maybe, if you're feeling really brave, why not have a go at a sestina?

    I was particularly struck by the simple elegance of the line 'If he had not been him, I would have been me.' It's so simple and yet encompasses so much detail about the nature of a difficult relation and the need to mask yourself when in the presence others. Really top class.

  2. How wude! :-) I'm really not of a mind-set or experience to critically assess poetry but I'll give it a try.

    Maybe because I'm reading it and not 'hearing' it, I personally found the rhythms a bit awkward. I like the back-and-forth nature representative of any pairing, as well as the viewpoint of supposing to know what the other is thinking, whether they realise or not, accurate or not, and the stalemate that is reached therein.

    A nice bit of writing but could be a bit smoother. Maybe post a reading of it so I can hear it right. Welcome to the group!

  3. Great to see you sharing your writing! Looking forward to reading more of your work.

  4. Curious and refreshing start. I will come for more.