The Tuning Fork’s Addiction

by Lois P. Jones
PenShells
Third Place, April 2014
Judged by R.T. Castleberry


for Rainer Maria Rilke

I am the node – the point of no vibration
at the base of you. Strike me against

your surface and I will echo
like a wave rushing toward you

until I know the eroded curves,
your loose pebbles separated from stone.

Strike, until I see past this human carnival
and its masquerade – the Dionysian mask

with its black moon eyes. See beyond your birth
in fire and wine to the faceless flower,

the slender calyx that holds corolla in lavender.
Your scent dissolves my name;

nameless I change to the sage I crush
on my tongue and remember bitterness.

I know the landscape of your country,
forests where light bends through the leaves

to emptiness – what’s there? a drizzle
of your honeyed tongue. I can still feel

the strike of the owl’s wing against your cheek
as you lay in your crater watching the moon

rise over the Sphinx. Your pulse the strike never heard,
but finds my longing place and holds it there.


When critics speak about the music and color of a piece, what they’re commenting on is the elegant matching of word choice and tone to subject matter. Paramount in poetry, it’s most important in a shorter work. The Tuning Fork’s Addiction has a driving rhythm filled with wonderful imagery ("See beyond your birth/in fire and wine to the faceless flower…"). --R.T. Castleberry

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