VIOLA’S SONG – Kathryn Paulsen

Fair ones change their skins to change their songs.
Dare you shed false love to mate true peer?
Give your heart, as hard as art is long?
 
Poor tunes assail you; still you say, play on!
Finer melodies shall scale your ear.
Fair ones change their skins to change their songs.
 
Cast away these shards of fancied wrongs.
Play lays that last the length of love’s fast year.
Give your heart, as hard as art is long.
 
Love’s not blind: unbind it from snake’s prong.
In strange guise you’ll find a rare kin near.
Fair ones change their skins to change their songs.
 
Feed on your servant till your heart stirs, strong.
Learn harmonies from her you cannot hear.
Give your heart, as hard as art is long.
 
Live dangerously—and lie where you belong.
Dare to win true friend—love’s music share.
Fair ones change their skins to change their song.
Lose your heart, as hard as art is long.


Kathryn Paulsen writes poetry, prose, plays, and screenplays. Her work has appeared in publications from Canada to Ireland to Australia, including The New York Times, The Stinging Fly, Humber Literary Review, Scum, Spillway, Craft, Isthmus, Big Fiction, and the London Reader, and she’s received residence grants at Yaddo, MacDowell, and other retreats. She lives in New York City but, having grown up in a military family, has roots in many places. The summer after her freshman year in college, she worked as an assistant to the librarian of the Altus (Oklahoma) Air Force Base Library, where she first made the acquaintance of James Bond, thanks to a recommendation by one of the patrons.

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