Love Letters 14: Caged

This final ‘love letter’ fuses the power of love with the power of religion: Christian and Ancient Greek. It alludes to the work of the master of sonnets (William Shakespeare): “mortal coil”, “milk of human kindness”. More significantly, it compares the experience of being “caged” to that of being in love.

Overall, the poem functions similarly to an extended litotes: a negative statement used to assert a positive meaning.  One of my favourite poems is ‘To My Valentine’ by Ogden Nash: “More than a catbird hates a cat … That’s how much I love you.” Which also (sort of) functions as an extended litotes.

The capping couplet of this sonnet concludes with a sentiment that could be interpreted as countering the suggestion (by Maya Angelou and others) that a “caged” bird suffers torment. However, this repost is unintended. The suggestion here that the speaker prefers being “caged than far apart” uses the aversion to being “snared” to prove the intensity of the love. (In a litotes-type way.)

Why gave I you the pow’r to spin my world?
Let you jerk puppet me with nailed-on twine?
I am a worm around your finger curled,
In mortal coil seeking comfort divine.
When you a siren sang, I changed my course
When you shoved in a hook, I took the bait
When tipsters tipped the wink, I backed you horse;
A frozen Arctic fox, I sought you mate.
But soulless vacuum’s the alternative
Or faux heart crudely stitched with fool’s gold thread:
Both traps for innocents’ desires to live
Whilst milk of human kindness being fed.
       You lured, snared, grabbed, secured my yearning heart,
       But I’m more happy caged than far apart.


  1. Love the way you twist Shakespeare essence throughout yourSonnets. What a lucky experience to have been on the journey of waiting in anticipation to read your wonderful words. Thank you for sharing Alex! And here to the success of your book launch.

    1. Thanks Shane for your support along the way. It’ll be a muted book launch… email and posts to say it’s available, then Amazon print-on-demand for anyone who wants one. It’ll probably cost about £6-7. A certain Julian Burrett is going to typeset it and design the cover.

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