intimately unknown


The moon is hanging there with that look
like I should know – alone and wild –
she’s a blinding mass of ancient art, forgotten.

Her dark side’s vicious, grave with dream
debris and angry space.
Next door, savage voices power-up
fire shots at what their coupling means.

That’s my point       he shouts
what’s it to you            if I get smashed?
Beautiful and still     she’s a bell
in-toning          when struck hard enough.


Adam’s precious rib hangs there, a mystery
with that look – like I should know
but gravity’s a blinding mass of ancient art
and I’ve forgotten every star-story.

Savage voices next door power-up,
fire shots at what their coupling means.
That’s my point     he shouts,
I can be out less time and still get smashed.

There’s lightning on the moon, some say,
hiding fear in hollow laughter.
Under veils of dusty lore she’s a bell
in-toning when struck hard enough.

8 thoughts on “intimately unknown

  1. La Lunatique says:

    “Her dark side’s vicious, grave with dream debris and angry space.” this line devastates me with its perfection…my friend you have found that sweet spot where simplicity and complexity merge…I love this beyond words

    • Shell says:

      oh how i thank you, La Lunatique!

      i work-shopped this a couple of places where most simply saw domestic abuse and wanted me to expand on that, which would have been a different poem altogether …

      i edited a little but was unwilling to force this from its inner-space while you, dear heart, seem to hear precisely what the poem cares to voice …

      thank you thank you thank you!

  2. Ebby says:

    I like the combination of anger and acceptance that flows from this one. It gives the feel of the entire universe shrunk to the mundane conversations of unhappy lovers and surely, when living those moments they do feel as big as the cosmos, as endless and unknown as space.

    I think that if youwant to improve it poetically then the thing you need to consider is your use of in-toning. I can see why you’ve used it, the combination of words unsaid and the sound of a woman who has built herself hollow and ringing, but when I read it, the word sat uncomfortably and was foregrounded from the otherwise silken flow of your piece.

    Overall, I think this is really good. I haven’t been on WordPress for ages but I’m back now and looking for lots of exciting new things to read and am really happy that your poem is the first I’ve read; it has reminded me why I used to spend so much time here.


    • Shell says:

      So wonderful to see you, Ebby!

      I’ve been exhausted and flu’d up so my sincerest apologies for not responding sooner.

      This poem’s received various comments, all conflicting, on a couple of poetry boards. I see what you mean about “in-toning” … in the process of revisioning though it refused to leave lol … I don’t think I’m done with this yet so there’s time yet!

      And perhaps I’ve smoothed out some of the other stuff that was problematic. Alternatively I may just have made it all worse *sigh …

      Thank you so much for your amazing feedback, exactly what I needed!


  3. La Lunatique says:

    Beautiful…..and devastating…….quite the dance!

    • Shell says:

      thank you dear heart!

      oddly enough some (men) on a crit site had no clue about this … i’m so very grateful to you for understanding what i write … but i need you and everyone to tell me if it’s rubbish, ok?


  4. Shell, this is beautiful. How you weave together everyday life with the mystery of the cosmos. Fabulous. We have no idea what we will do when hit hard enough. People can tell us what we should have done, or could have done, or might do…but only that second of impact will tell.

    • Shell says:

      Thank you Anne!!!!

      For once, though it maybe could be improved poetically, i’m HAPPY with this … yayyyy!

      ps … the cosmos spoke it, this time i just about heard a-right

      thank you thank you thank you …
      your insight and intuitive understanding mean so very much to me, i hope you know that!

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