Fairytale resurrection: a palinode #poetry #dVerse

I. Elegy for a Fairytale

There are no knights in shining armour,
there is no chivalry;
there are only nights of drunken ardour
followed by confused apologies. 
The damsels in distress collect
social security: 
there is no chivalry 
nor any Knights in shining armour now
I wonder if there ever were?

Though once upon a time I thought I knew one who
took me into his care;
under his roof he offered me his time,
yet in my darkest hour of all
I found he was not there: 
there is no happy-ever-after
nor any once-upon-a-time
for all in love is foul where foul is fair.

Yet still we seek our knights in shining armour,
sculpt castles in the sky
where we imagine will live in splendour
with our knights by our side
most willingly;
our castles in the sky
are like a rainbow, or ‘a parting cloud:’
a dream of love, born only for to die.

II. Palinode

Though there may be no knights in shining armour
there are those nights we come to know ourselves:
some have called this ‘the dark night of the soul’
it may be so, perhaps I’ll never know;
I only know, strength gathered from within
through self-knowledge, which comes from self-forgetting
can teach us how to shine.

Though once upon a time I thought I needed
some brave, bold knight to hoist me on his horse;
in my darkest hour I found
I only had a hope, a prayer
which proved enough
once fate had run its course

much like a river runs: thus we are carried
like fish within a current, or like birds
born high aloft on upon a thermal, eddied,
dipping and diving, still no much the worse
but better – no – the best that we can be:
a dream of love once born
can never die.

 © Experimentsinfiction 2021, All Rights Reserved

This is a palinode

Tonight, Grace hosts dVerse Meeting the Bar, and she has asked us to write a palinode, that is:

‘an ode or song that retracts or recants a view or sentiment that the poet wrote in a previous poem.’

Immediately I read the prompt, I knew which of my poems I would like to retract. I wrote ‘Elegy for a Fairytale‘ last year in order to illustrate elegiac verse. But in terms of expressing my own personal sentiments, this was far too desolate, ending on a hopeless note. So I have taken this opportunity to retract the sentiments which I wrote about in the previous poem, which reads almost like a paean to self-pity: a luxury I certainly can’t afford!

52 thoughts on “Fairytale resurrection: a palinode #poetry #dVerse

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  1. Beautiful life’s lesson. I guess (specially for women), we are always looking out for a knight to “save” us but sadly we may discover he is not around when we need him. We dream of love but it dies pretty quickly. Now the palinode poem, speaks of inner strength and self love with hope and prayers. I love that twist in the end:

    a dream of love once born
    can never die.

    Thanks Ingrid and have a good night!!

  2. So nicely done, Ingrid, and I like your choice of poem. What I love about the palinode is the awareness and positivity, especially in the lines:
    ‘I only know, strength gathered from within
    through self-knowledge, which comes from self-forgetting
    can teach us how to shine’
    ‘but better – no – the best that we can be:
    a dream of love once born
    can never die.’

  3. I really like this, especially

    in my darkest hour I found
    I only had a hope, a prayer
    which proved enough
    once fate had run its course

    Well done.

  4. This is incredibly, incredibly heart-stirring, Ingrid! Gosh, the emotions, the ache, the lessons learned are so palpable here, I especially resonate with; “Though there may be no knights in shining armour, there are those nights we come to know ourselves,”.. yes! We most certainly do. Thoroughly enjoyed this 💝💝

  5. I love how you turned the darkness of the first poem around, away from the unrealistic dream of the knight only to find that behind his armor there are hollows… maybe a bit like men trying to find a princess to put on a pedestal when all we really crave is a partner and friend.

    1. Yes, what is interesting to me is that men don’t like being put on a pedestal of unrealistic expectations either, and I don’t blame them!

  6. Beautifully done. I like the change from knight to night. Isn’t the knight in shining armor thing a funny story we are fed? A knight saving a maiden is a single action of a moment. It doesn’t promise eternal perfection. And yet so much literature and film leaves us at that point of union S if now that two people are together, the hard part is done. It’s just the beginning of hard work and compromise and knowing that it’s human to err.

  7. as a man who was expected to be a knight in shining armour but knew i was not. both poems hit he mark for me.
    letting the world know how far from the truth chiveralry is. thank you.

  8. Oh, yes; the comparative positivity of the palinode is palpable following the darker trigger piece. This, I think, is what palinodes ought to be. Well done, Ingrid.

  9. ‘Damsels in distress’ – as a woman I have learned that we don’t need a knight to save us. We can carry our own shining armour. As a human being, it’s just not the woman but men too need love and affection. It’s a beautiful poem! Thank you for writing this and sharing this with us.

  10. The kernel of love of self is always within which then radiates out to others. We’re sold a bill of goods through fairy tales that we must be beamed upon and approved by “other.” You do a good job of showing this in your poems.

  11. the first is the desolation of ‘discovering’ the societal myth of those white knights is bs … the second is the reality every girl needs to know! True love comes from within, some may strike gold but for most it’s self development who is our saviour!

  12. This really moved me. So often do many think they need someone to “save” them, but in our darkest moments, we find ourselves without. We have ourselves and hope, and if we reflect on that, the idea of relying on someone to whisk us away dies down. Loving oneself first is most important, and I really like how you expressed that here. It’s so true, especially if we feel or think not so highly of ourselves we may want to look for that validation elsewhere. It all comes from within though, and that’s a strong statement that is delineated throughout your poem. Beautiful and brilliant work as always, Ingrid. It’s a pleasure reading.

  13. Very powerful. Ownership of one’s own treachery is paramount to anything moving towards wholeness. I adore the confrontation, and respect the strength – small, unsure, but present. It is enough.

  14. I feel the first poem was mainly expressing disappointment that we must all face, that no one is actually going to save us. We have to do the hard work ourselves. The palinode reinforces that we are all on our own journey “like birds
    born high aloft on upon a thermal, eddied, dipping and diving…” the whole poem is so heartfelt and honest! 💝

  15. First, excellent choice for your palinode prompt. I found it interesting that you “immediately” knew which poem you were going to recant. That reaction proves this to be a worthwhile exercise for you and certainly for us, because your final product is powerful and your ability to write your way to your own fairytale ending is exquisite. Your poem illustrates (for me) that ultimately, we can only “save” ourselves.

    1. Exactly Michele: I wasn’t happy leaving the previous poem ending on a hopeless note. There is always hope, which comes from within!

      1. Right you are! Sometimes it takes time and some searching to reveal it, but it is there. 🙏🏻 I do love the idea of revisiting previous work with a new or added perspective. Fantastic.

  16. Such a beautiful picture you painted Ingrid reminding us we don’t have to look further than within to find ourselves that never really needed saving even tho the fairy tale books tell us otherwise.❣️
    Lovely and I must say, I really liked them both. 💖💖👏👏👏

  17. Ingrid,
    The wisdom of the palinode is so beautifully spun, like a solid tower of hope and well-being emerging out of the dreamy mists of fantasy. Bravo!

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