A Palindrome Poem

palindrome (n.) – a word, phrase, or sequence that reads the same backwards as forwards.

In late 2017, I decided to write what could be termed a ‘palindrome poem’. There aren’t that many around. This is probably because, as I rapidly discovered, they are fiendishly difficult to write.

Nevertheless, other than a few small liberties with punctuation, my poem ‘Crossing Over’ reads the same backwards as it does forwards. What a relief! Conveniently – considered the poem’s watery setting – this effect can be interpreted as physical reflection in text form. It also gives a new meaning to the idea of putting a twist in the middle of a story.

Whenever I see this poem, the top half looks to me as though it’s shaped like a ship, with the bottom half its upside down reflection. The line of the ocean’s surface can be drawn horizontally at ‘Found?’. Squint a little – perhaps you see it as well…

I was very happy to have this poem published in Farrago. That said, however, I also think it’s worth mentioning it was rejected a couple of times before eventually being published. Rejection can feel very discouraging and isolating, which is why it’s important writers continue to discuss it openly.

I sent out the poem here and there over the course of approximately a year, and persistence ultimately paid off. If you’re in a similar boat (n.b. hopefully not the one in the poem though): hang in there!

Crossing Over

Over swirling waters
Low prows, high tides…
People without possessions
Lovers and daughters
Small individuals making history.
Forgetting Italy.
Tracks, effervescent, covering oceans
Ebbing strokes and flowing circles.
Promises glittering for all…
Figureheads splitting breaking waves
Waters swelling underneath.
Nonno bearing boxes
Lia preserving photographs
Watermarks seeping with memories
Hope in embracing farewell…
Lungs full of anticipation
Laughter of children
Gurgling babies
Saltwater on lips –
Were never they
They never were
Lips on saltwater –
Babies gurgling
Children of laughter
Anticipation of full lungs
Farewell embracing in hope…
Memories with seeping watermarks
Photographs preserving Lia
Boxes bearing Nonno
Underneath swelling waters.
Waves breaking splitting figureheads
All for glittering promises…
Circles flowing and strokes ebbing.
Oceans covering effervescent tracks
Italy forgetting.
History making individuals small.
Daughters and lovers
Possessions without people
Tides high, prows low…
Waters swirling over