Ring of Truth
Georgia Ressmeyer & Sylvia Cavanaugh
A ring of truth may wed you to a lie
Manipulation can feel, and reel, like love
The peel of bells. You’re netted, banded, tracked
So special, at first, to capture that attention
Then find you can’t escape the watchful eye
Your mind becomes a hand within a glove
Cannot distinguish fantasy from fact
But guts will churn in growing apprehension
A ring of truth may mask your ignorance
You fill in the blanks, avoid the obvious
Inflate scant knowledge into something grand
Believe Houdini escaped using magic
Your statements so detached from common sense
Self-inflicted deceit can make you oblivious
The core of what you say will never stand
Those Elvis claims smear your eclat for logic
A ring of truth may wreathe inspired thoughts
Good story can also make us feel human
You may pick locks and find your unfeigned self
Did Melville quiver with Ahab’s wrath?
Express in sounds, in art what can’t be taught
Zoom-in on the melancholy of Schumann
Dig deep to mine your spirit’s timeless wealth
Defend sorrow’s treasure, her silvery path
A ring of truth may choke or broaden you
Our rarefied Veritas glints from above
Distill the genuine in all you do
A ring of truth can reel and feel like love
NOTE: This collaborative, 28-line poem consists of two responsive, interwoven sonnets by two poets on a single theme chosen in advance. The sonnets build upon each other while also standing independently. The opening line, which is the first line of sonnet 1, was written by Georgia Ressmeyer and emailed to Sylvia Cavanaugh, who then composed the first line of sonnet 2 (in italics) and sent it to Georgia, who replied with the second line of sonnet 1, and so on, until each poet had written 14 lines. This interchange of words, images, and ideas challenged and inspired both poets and moved the overall poem as well as the individual sonnets in unexpected directions.
Georgia Ressmeyer, twice nominated for a Pushcart Prize in poetry, has published numerous poems, an award-winning poetry chapbook, Today I Threw My Watch Away (Finishing Line Press, 2010), and two full-length poetry collections, Waiting to Sail (Black River Press, 2014) and Home/Body (Pebblebrook Press, 2017). She lives in Sheboygan.
Sylvia Cavanaugh teaches high school cultural studies and has advised breakdancers and poets. She is interested in how cultures move through place and time. A Pushcart Prize nominee, her poems have appeared in various periodicals and anthologies. She is a Contributing Editor for Verse-Virtual: An Online Community Journal of Poetry.