If You Were a Guitar


If You Were a Guitar

If you were a guitar I would play you
till my fingers grew rough from your body’s
touch, till the moisture in the clouds withdrew
and only music rained on. But what breeze

could retain your voice? At night my hands would
dream new chords of light and air, of pearl and
flesh and warm breath suspended over wood.
And as we slept our bodies would demand

new vowels, and the space would diminish
till nothing lay between us but the blue
groaning above night’s whispers, a finish-
ing touch to this song. When I say love, you

hear morning break. When I say nothing, my
silence shouts your name. Each breath. Every sigh.


I first posted a draft of this on Valentine’s Day, 2014, but the first draft was completed some 14 years before that. I’ve admitted to being a slow writer…



92 thoughts on “If You Were a Guitar

  1. What a lovely sonnet, Robert. You touch on feelings beyond images – “only music rained on”, “our bodies would demand new vowels”. I am so glad that you have the tenacity as this is the first version I have seen.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Re. being a slow writer, Yeats, as almost always, put it best: “A line will take us hours maybe;/ Yet if it does not seem a moment’s thought/ Our sticking and unstitching has been naught.” Cheers.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Doesn’t every poem read to the reader as if it were just only now written? I didn’t feel the labor of revision in it, which is great; nothing worse than a guitar player who can play all the chords but can’t play the song. With a sonnet you have to be prepared to slur the rules a little, too. Like rhyming a stressed syllable with an unstressed one, or riffing off the iambic pentameter a tad. I like this very much, R–I’m going to say that you haven’t been revising it. You’ve been practicing it, like a song on a guitar. This version sounded like all that practice paid off.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I thought the previous version was a little forced. It just didn’t feel right. This one feels better. I enjoy “subverting” the sonnet form – hiding rhymes with enjambment and stresses – while remaining true to the idea. And I like the idea of “practicing” a poem. Hadn’t thought of it that way before, but it makes perfect sense.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: If You Were a Guitar « buildingapoem

  5. I have always loved the juxtaposing of things we can control and mold, like poetry, with things that we cannot, like nature, especially when writing about love, sex, passion, relationships.

    The possibilities are intriguing, exciting, and infinite.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. “And as we slept our bodies would demand new vowels…”

    The way you suss out language where the rest of us do not see it!! What a perfect description… and yet I have no idea what it means or describes! But every ounce of my being screams a joyous “Yes!” to it. You are so clearly a genius it does not even register anymore. How can we use a ruler… when you are better measured in atmospheric pressure!

    952 stars out of 5 for this poem!

    Liked by 1 person

      • I have worked for almost 4 decades in the music industry. I know idiocy, and you are not a participant in it in any shape/form. Excise the part of you that claims idiocy; you have gone beyond… your words are Reality without concept…

        Yết đế, yết đế, Ba la yết đế, Ba la tăng yết đế, Bồ đề tát bà ha

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Hi Robert,
    Seems like your Likes have magnetic qualities, drawing bloggers to discover you – I’m glad I did.
    Hope you liked my poem – not just Liked 😉
    Looking forward to reading more of yours.

    Liked by 1 person

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