Love Letters 8: Misaligned

In this sonnet I have used caesura to represent the “misaligned” nature of myself and the addressee. Caesura is a pause or break in a line of poetry. The word comes from the from past participle stem of the Latin ‘caedere’ – ‘to cut’.

‘Misaligned’ is an extended metaphor of two bridges being built across an “estuary”. But they are not destined to “meet”: both construction projects are led by engineers “convinced / Their routes” are correct.

The sonnet is loaded with language that belongs to a lexical field relating to self-confidence: “earnest”, “convinced”, “true”, “sure”, “confidence”, self-belief”, “resolved”, “assured”, “right”. These words are applied to both bridgebuilders.

The capping couplet reveals a truth that the speaker of the poem has waited until the end to notice… and reveal. The two engineers are not only alike in assuredness, they are also similar in “design”.

Our bonds were bridgeheads misaligned that could
Not meet. Two earnest engineers convinced
Their routes were true: equipped with tools that would
Mark out straight paths, sure plans to be evinced.
And as our jetties jutted out into
The void, our blinkered confidence obscured
Those who the raw flaw saw. So out we grew,
Rigid in self-belief: resolved, assured.
You reached the other side; I’m not yet free
From toil. Yet glancing back, there was no way
We could connect. Our piers suggested we
Were right: critics could not our choices sway.
       But as I pause to scan the estuary,
       I see you have the same design as me.

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