A Pause in the Middle of the Line

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The Apostrophe Blog

Musings on Writing and Life.

Photo by Billie Grace Ward

My poem, “Caesura,” was published by Stirring way back in November 2011. A caesura is a poetic term-of-art that describes “a stop or pause in a metrical line, often marked by punctuation or by a grammatical boundary, such as a phrase or clause.” There is more about this poetic device at the Poetry Foundation website.

After I learned of the suicide death of an old, formerly beloved friend from whom I had become estranged, I felt compelled to write about things breaking, things interrupted, things impossible to ever be understood. This is the poem that emerged from those ruminations all those years ago and, for the most part, it still rings wildly true. This poem also employs the poetic device called anaphora—the repetition of a word or words at the beginning of successive phrases, clauses, or lines to create a sonic effect. Between, between, between. Em dash, em dash, em dash. You get the drift…


Between the morning’s colony of bee-meets-sky
and earth the quilt of a salt water floor—
Between hat-tipping clouds and tip jars
and a trailer hitching to Route 66—
Between trapeze to the terracotta pot
and water a spillway from the saucer beneath—
Between the cold metal deck chair and my
first flick of Illy’s Italian Roast—
Between the pound of rain on the skylight
and the ounce of air in flight from warm to cool
and the photos mailed, a panoramic swoop
inside the house the way his sister found it—
Between the flutter that is my heart beating
and my heart braking—

hummingbirds in the red begonia’s droop.

Nancy Flynn
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