First things first. A late entry for the previous Nove otto challenge from the cat goddess Bastet herself. Please read, it’s a great addition to the collection.
Now for the challenge. Cleave here is used in both senses— of hanging on or sticking to someone and dividing in two. There’s a name for words that have two completely opposite meanings (like sanction) but I can’t remember what it is. Cleave is obviously one.
A cleave poem is in two halves, two separate poems, one on the left, one on the right, but that make a single poem when you read them together. It sounds tricky…and it is.
BUT there are no rhymes, no rhythms and no set length, so the non-comformists among you who have problems with the strict forms have nothing to complain about. I found it useful to keep it short. The poem below started off as only four lines. I went back to it when I thought I’d got the hang of it. If you start with a good line that you can break in two easily enough and let the two halves go off in different directions, even opposite directions, the sense of satisfaction if it all hangs together as one poem is greater.
Here’s an example I wrote yesterday.
Please stay/ the blackbird calls
The night will be dark/ the sun is setting
Don’t take your warmth/ beyond the horizon
Where the light dies/ for the night is waiting.
Remember your promise/ Mine forever
You said it so easy/ you gave me a rose
Sweet as the blackbird’s song/ sweeter than honey
Ended now / its white petals fallen
Like winter’s first snow/ lie soft on the ground.