Not to be, or: To be

A Cleave poem

looking out for a place to go these words find their audience hall
to perform inโ€ฆ
you, such as you are and you
arenโ€™tโ€ฆ and whoever else will harken, such as
your poetry community members
of many clever, nuanced allusions that draw subtle connections
to desperate, yearning loneliness, understanding
much of our shared human condition
which will never find relief in its most revealing, honest moments
regardless of setting across all of history

How to read a Cleave poem?


  1. Read the left hand poem as a first discrete poem.
  2. Read the right hand poem as a second discrete poem.
  3. Read the whole as a third integrated poem.


At d’Verse, poets were invited to write a poem that includes one line, and one line only, from ABBAโ€™s only number-one hit, Dancing Queen. Poems can be any form, length, and about any topic… as long as they include, word for word, one line and one line only, from Dancing Queen!

Let’s write poetry together!

When it comes to partnership, some humans can make their lives alone – it’s possible. But creatively, it’s more like painting: you can’t just use the same colours in every painting. It’s just not an option. You can’t take the same photograph every time and live with art forms with no differences.

Ben Harper (b. 1969)

Would you like to create poetry with me and have a completed poem of yours featured here at the Skeptic’s Kaddish? I am very excited to have launched the ‘Poetry Partners’ initiative and am looking forward to meeting and creating with you… Check it out!

65 thoughts on “Not to be, or: To be”

  1. Such a clever form, and you make it look easy, David. We will ever be your audience hall and community center as your poetic words allure us in with wordplays and witty turns of thought.

  2. Well THAT is amazing..and an experience for the reader โ€” positive, very. That was really well done, and new for me.

  3. These words find their audience hall. Yes!
    I’ve always liked this form and you’ve mastered it here. Three in one and each well done. Great use of the line too.

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