Tristan’s Wife Thinks of Isolde: poetry

By Margaret Lloyd


What was it that descended

upon him in our marriage bed

while he held me in his arms

so that he suddenly remembered you?

He cried uncontrollably with remorse

and then he would do no more

than hug and kiss me.

I have no illusions now.

He is like wood that won’t burn.

Have you seen the flames

licking with desperation,

the wood blackening on the outside,

the core untouched and cold?

It doesn’t move.

It doesn’t fall to ash.

But I am condemned

to admiration of such faithfulness.


to admire rejection

of myself.

See what a riddle we have spun.

I have no hope

if I do not want him to change.

Forever you are the sound,

I am the echo.

(Originally appeared in Dogwood 2002)

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