Blackout Poem / “Before I Went Away” (Does it matter if I’m making sense?)

Here’s another blackout poem, this one from page 5 of “The Beauty’s Daughter.”

Since I’m not sure it makes sense without more punctuation, here’s a transcription:

Before I Went Away

She had never known the true name.
There is no need for thinking, my sister.

When it was necessary to utter lies,
the truth allowed her to call herself

anyone: your sister,
his voice, his ancestry, eyes,

a compliment, her teachers,
their pupils, her friends,

such words.


Now, having typed it out, it still doesn’t exactly make sense. But that’s ok with me. A blackout poem isn’t so much as creating literal sense as it is finding an emotional cadence, right? (And yes, I’m aware the words “emotional cadence” probably don’t make sense to anyone but me.)

The kids, hubby and I just finished listening to an audio version of Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator, and I’m reminded of a great line from the immortal Willy Wonka:

A little nonsense now and then
is relished by the wisest men.

That said, I don’t think my nonsense makes me wise, but it does make me happy.


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