Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Bodkin Between: Strange inspirations

It's been a while since I posted a poem, and this one may reveal the desperation of my sometimes searches for inspiration. The title comes from a reCAPTCHA prompt — one of those annoying but necessary little anti-spambot devices used to moderate blog comments. I actually like reCAPTCHA because it doubles as a way to leverage human eyes to help decipher bits of text computers have difficulty scanning.

The phrase in question — Bodkin Between — struck my fancy because of its Shakespearean overtones ("bare bodkin" appears in Hamlet's most famous soliloquy). I used the conceit of a heart as an indecisive dagger to build this verse. It obviously owes a small debt to the bard's great tragedy, although I hope you won't hold it up for inspection against the blinding light of those classic lines.

Bodkin Between
By Francis Scudellari

His heart borne as bated bodkin between,
Its once sharp edge, from youthful age hammered,
Dully cutting ever inward, kept close,
Not bared, buried in leathery layers

Awaiting a proper moment to strike
Out words, act, whether for anger or love,
From thickened air, carve himself a likeness,
But pausing, fear-full of blood stains, his knife

Rather stabs a path in pointed retreat,
Disused, each passing day withdraws deeper
Till embedded beyond his prying reach,
He casts without only his daggered stares
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