I see ruthless enemy
The devil, I know,
The negative one.
I saw the root
I was the root
of the negative one.
The devil that I know:
Icy, truthless inner me
I took a rather circuitous route to this week’s poem. The cards didn’t inspire me, so I went through the notebook I sometimes bring to the Geneva Writers’ Group, looking for something half-finished. I found an intriguing opening line… I wish I knew what story I had in mind, if any, when I wrote it. I began writing a story with the same theme as on that I wrote about ten years ago, called ‘Imagine a Death-wish’. I had a good beginning, and I came up with a great maths pun for the ending, but couldn’t think of anything decent to fill out the middle.
While struggling with this, I noticed similarities between ‘Imagine a Death-wish’ and another story I wrote some time last century, called ‘Mirror Mirror’. This in turn reminded me of a poem I wrote way back then. They’re all about discovering that the evil thought to be outside is a part of oneself, or that what was thought to be oneself is actually evil outside, or that what was thought to be evil inside oneself is actually outside (and not evil.) Eventually I wrote this.
The first and last lines are my favourite two lines from the aforementioned poem. The eighth and ninth lines are the great maths pun from the story I never finished (or, to be more precise, started, finished, but never middled.) The sixth line is an axis of pseudosymmetry. I know, with all that practice writing a pantoum, I should have been able to get it more symmetric.
It’s pretty short, and I don’t really like it, but I managed it. All three of these points inspired me to try writing something short about a few of the other cards as well. Not long later, I had a poem about a cat’s nine lives (of which eight are imaginary.) I’ll post it separately.