A poem meets its opposite

with thanks to Jennifer Guyor Jowett for the Open Write invitation on Ethical ELA today. Jennifer writes of discovering the contrary form and its antonymic translation. She invited poets to take a poem we’ve written, or another we found, and use antonyms for various words within the poem to change the meaning.

Some time ago I wrote a pantoum. Today I tried its antonymic translation.

Here’s the pair of them:

You Are the Better One

You are the better one
you chose to stay
I walked away
so much for responsibility

you chose to stay
you, the free spirit
so much for responsibility
I chose my life

you, the free spirit
but I know freedom isn’t free
I chose my life
when I ran from that hall of mirrors

but I know freedom isn’t free
after the shattering
when I ran from that hall of mirrors
leaving the brokenness behind

after the shattering
I walked away
leaving the brokenness behind. 
You are the better one.

Smoke and Mirrors

You are not the better one
because you chose to stay.
I didn’t walk away
from responsibility.

Because you chose to stay
—you, the free spirit
from responsibility—
it wasn’t a choice for me.

You, the free spirit,
never learning freedom isn’t free.
It wasn’t a choice for me
when I ran from that hall of mirrors

never learning freedom isn’t free
before the shattering.
When I ran from that hall of mirrors
I broke only the brokenness.

Before the shattering
I didn’t walk away.
I broke only the brokenness.
You are not the better one.

Sonic Super Villain. SuperSamPhotography. CC BY-SA 2.0.

One thought on “A poem meets its opposite

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