Fugue in 3/4

Painting by Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis

Dry smiling
_____________On waterlogged terrain
when you’re not
_______Listening to baroque bones:
is a lie
____________Rococo and euphemized
___________Mirrored, distanced tones
I will be
___________________Treble and bass
the last to leave
_________  This symbiotic masterpiece,
this plane crash
_______________Purgatorial Middle C
_____________An ascension interstice
I refuse
______________  Brothers and Sisters,
to hold onto
________________To deem inviolable
my privilege
_______________A seat on the life raft
____Is well-tempered class struggle

                   Above the drowned.


©2018, Amaya Engleking

Drummer Paul at dVerse, an online poets pub, challenges us to write contrapuntal poetry: two distinct melodies in one piece (of music) resulting in three ways to hear the piece. So, three poems in one. The poem on the left can be read as one; the poem on the right can be read as one; and the cumulative poem, read line by line, can also be read as one. You’re welcome to join us by following the link! (Open Thursday, 5/24.)



  1. Cheryl Ruffing · May 23

    You amaze me, Amaya.

  2. qbit · May 24

    Loved it.

  3. This makes me think of the rafts in the Mediterranean as well as the struggle of being on top… is there any alternative to crush or be crushed

  4. paul scribbles · May 24

    Such poetic beauty in the images created here Amaya. That privileged place above the drowned is a haunting note.

  5. kim881 · May 24

    I love this poem, Amaya, especially the lines:
    ‘_______Listening to baroque bones:
    is a lie’
    ‘_______________A seat on the life raft
    ____Is well-tempered class struggle
    Above the drowned.’

  6. sarahsouthwest · May 24

    I like the different shapes here – narrow and broad, sharp and open, direct and complex. They come together well.

  7. Frank Hubeny · May 24

    Nice descriptive ending with class struggle above the drowned.

  8. Lona Gynt · May 24

    And the band played on…

    Thank you Amaya, your craft challenges me to greater awareness.

    We are all not even really in the same boat are we? We are all already drowned, but in fairness

    Entropy levels, it is so hard to know if one is lifting a fellow or is desperately over climbing
    But I do know arms flail and waters are seething,

    All we can do is hold instead of grasp each other, alternately churn and rest, look to the music either emerging or receding along the horizon, help is coming, already awaits us. Keep Breathing.

  9. sanaarizvi · May 24

    This is incredibly potent. Especially like “Listening to baroque bones is a lie.”

  10. jillys2016 · May 24

    Wonderful rhythm and that last line is perfection!

  11. Vivian Zems · May 24

    Beautiful play on words woven into a melodic tapestry.

  12. georgeplace2013 · May 24

    Oh, Wow and that second poem is esp. powerful and worded so strongly.

  13. lillian · May 25

    I love the title, Amaya….and the continuance with the musical references….most especially the purgatorial middle C. And the last three lines when read together are so very powerful. Three wonderful melody lines here.

  14. mitchteemley · May 25

    You met the challenge well, Amaya. I like it!

  15. mhmp77 · May 25


    A seat on the life raft
    ____Is well-tempered class struggle
    Above the drowned

    There is a finality in the closing. It is a great closing. It is always a rat race in life and those vanquished are left on the wayside!


  16. willow88switches · May 26

    this is fascinating – for each side is one and then together combine the 3rd – and yet, both play off the other – and yet never quite achieve the harmony – still leaving the “jarring” element, which is well suited – at least to me – as there is not quite the united front resonance of “rising above as privilege” but rather, choice, a difficult one – to consider to remain strong in the fight, but not because it’s simply afforded as possibility, but rather born of humility. Definitely interesting ideas here – makes it something to consider than think on, in this crazy world.

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