The stars are not the stars tonight; they burn
so fleetingly—they drift, an earthly flame
inside each paper shell. With each slow turn
their dancing puts those distant stars to shame.
We wrapped our hearts in promises and pride,
in pledges inked across thin sheets of doubt:
Translucent, insubstantial, finely dyed,
our lanterns glowed until the one burned out.
I always meant to be the one to leave,
the one to go—a lantern in the sky—
to fly away. I always meant to grieve
my own mistakes in private, by and by.
The stars are still; there’s nothing left to say.
I loose my grip and let you drift away.
9 thoughts on “Sky lanterns”
Delicate, exquisite language, Christine! There’s a soft, if sad, floating quality to the words – like the airborne ashes of the burning paper. Beautiful.
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So sad when a relationship begins so brightly then slowly burns itself out. We begin with so many wishes and dreams and end with an array of broken promises and grief. I always wonder at that point, if it really was better to love and lost than to have never loved at all. Loved your poem and all the symbolism you weaved throughout. Starry skies are so dreamy anyways.
Gorgeous, especially: “in pledges inked across thin sheets of doubt:
Translucent, insubstantial, finely dyed,”
That’s some highly skilled iambic pentameter happening there.
❤ I fought hard for that whole stanza.
Lovely work, Christine!
Beautiful and tightly constructed, how you play with stars, light, lanterns, paper. Especially love these:
they drift, an earthly flame/inside each paper shell
thin sheets of doubt
This is simply one of the most beautiful sonnets I have ever read.
… I’m speechless, De. Thank you so much!