Peace Conceit

וַיִּנָּ֣חֶם יְהוָ֔ה כִּֽי־עָשָׂ֥ה אֶת־הָֽאָדָ֖ם בָּאָ֑רֶץ וַיִּתְעַצֵּ֖ב אֶל־לִבּֽוֹ׃

And then G-d regretted
that G-d had made man on earth,
and G-d’s heart was saddened.

—Bereishit (Gen.) 6:9–13

…neither joy, nor love, nor light,
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain
—Matthew Arnold, Dover Beach

On this dark morn, while we sit by
where gulls are heard, the boats asway,
swells rising high on trembling bay,
I yearn to say— please touch my hand,
caress this old frame, kiss me again.

But no voice stirred. So, in cold storms
two faces cast gazes where form ends.
Masks fly for bait to make hearts sigh.
For conversation, we seek words
that toss olive twigs as bread for birds.

Pleas out of phase— touch me again,
kiss my old shame, caress my hands.
No reply justifies tumbling waves,
foghorn echoes, our souls’ dismay.
No warmth wraps us. The last doves’ve died.

—Michael Dickel ©2018

In the positive sense, a conceit originally referred to an extended metaphor with a complex logic that governs a poetic passage or entire poem. By juxtaposing, usurping and manipulating images and ideas in surprising ways, a conceit invites the reader into a more sophisticated understanding of an object of comparison. Wikipedia

Less conventional, more esoteric associations characterize the metaphysical conceit. John Donne and other so-called metaphysical poets used conceits to fuse the sensory and the abstract, trading on the element of surprise and unlikeness to hold the reader’s attention.The Poetry Foundation


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