William Coyne

Veteran Poet - 1,122 Points (August 5,1952 / Chicago, Illinois)

Saving Face - Poem by William Coyne

Of every fresh and regal petal,
none dared to rest within her rosy hand,
for fear that she, the fairest in the land,
shame their glory and their loveliness.

Mirrors have no such low reservations,
outward truth its burden for all to bear,
whether crooked nose or lovely gold hair,
indifferent, shows only what appears.

But one magic mirror spoke, and its words
reflected realities not seen with vain eyes,
only qualities which beyond all sight lies
open to the ears ready for wisdom.

So when this mirror told of one more fair,
and displayed the ripening youthful face,
its words represented not the outward grace,
but purity beyond the glass phantom,

and a queen, her soul enraged by greater
outward beauty, took the mirror's report
and threatened with all her power to thwart
a welcome for more beauty to her realm.

The story runs that the land grew more dark,
the queen fulfilled her hateful desire,
but in the tale's end did not acquire
her former rank as fairest in the land.

For take care, even when true beauty sleeps
there is none more lovely on the earth
who serve or rule, who have more worth,
even rotting souls with pretty faces.

Topic(s) of this poem: betrayal, self harm, vanity

Form: Free Verse


Comments about Saving Face by William Coyne

  • Edmund Strolis (12/2/2015 6:13:00 PM)


    The cadence of a poem is important to me. The flow, the natural rhythm if it does not work no matter how well expressed the writing is I find myself tripping over a line. You are rare in that very important respect and a master in careful carefree construction. As for the substance? I can only say that you write in such a unique way that is not lost or ridiculously deceptive but also far from simplistic the balance and the message are so well done. Fairy tale meets human frailty and reality. Vanity and shallowness on display and the corrosive effect that it has. Superbly written. (Report) Reply

    William Coyne William Coyne (12/2/2015 10:09:00 PM)

    Thank you, Edmund Strolis, for such a masterful and illuminating observation. I am glad to benefit from articulate analysis of what I more rely on intuitively. Cadence ranks highly, and I continue to aim for a better grasp of it. At present, my guiding rule is to make the flow of speech natural given the immediate context. It's comforting to hear I am heading in a fruitful direction.

    I attribute the uniqueness as an insistence on authenticity. If verses represent a genuine voice, the reader doesn't feel cheated. I'd rather hear some country wisdom from a simple farmer than have him offer the same in iambic pentameter.

    The content varies as I draw from personal experiences and familiar items of imagination, but I keep in mind the need for including some universality. Still working on that.

    And, naturally, any success I attribute to the gently, guiding influence of the Muses.

    Thank again. Your inspiration keeps my efforts honest.

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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, December 2, 2015



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