Rocco’s palindromes

the word palindromes in black repeated all over a red gradient background

By – Rocco Bambace

I ran into palindrome poetry online today and had some time to kill. Now I’ve got a fever, and the only cure is more palindromes! Here’s me trying to get the hang of it.

 

A palindrome poem reads the same way backward as it does forward, with a short bridge in the middle connecting the two parts. Despite the wording being the same, one half will always paint a different picture than the other.

I use the poem “Witches burn” by Writer’s Digest contributor Robert Lee Brewer as a reference:

 

Gypsies tell girls,

“Witches burn candles,”

and laugh. Cats

jump fences.

Shadows cast spells in

darkness

in spells cast shadows.

“Fences jump, cats laugh,

and candles burn witches,”

girls tell gypsies.

It looks like punctuation play and abstract language are friends here. Let’s give it a shot:

 

Trees speak,

shadows brew.

Hide young;

old times

long gone.

Dead heroes

listen:

Heroes, dead.

Gone long;

times old.

Young hide.

“Brew shadows,”

speak Trees.

 

Let’s try again:

 

Coward speaks dishonesty.

Women fight chains

Seeker; freedom.

Down, way long,

Thinking wrong.

Reevaluate

Wrong thinking.

Long way down,

Freedom Seeker!

Chains fight women.

“Dishonesty,” speaks coward.

That’s a lot of fun. Correct the occasional stumble and the backward half pretty much writes itself. I like prose, though. I start thinking about a short story written as a palindrome. What would that even look like?

 

That all you get? I can see, to me, for long they asked if Jim had it. But I don’t. You promise, swear. I see… I see. I swear, promise you, don’t I? But it had Jim. If asked, they long for me to see. Can I get you all that?

 

…not like that. But I think a readable palindrome short story is possible. I think about this, and I get excited about it, so I tell Shanna. She gets excited, and writes two poems:

 

Overcome,

I was

Not expecting.

Derailed components were true.

Stillness, come,

I welcome you.

Come, stillness

True are: derailed components.

Expecting not,

was I

Overcome?

 

Images mirror

into thoughts, obscure

mindless ranting

moonlight to sunlight

Illusion at its finest

sunlight to moonlight

ranting mindless

obscure thoughts into

mirror images

The force is strong in Shanna. She starts talking about a dream she had the night before. I pick a few words out from what she said:

 

Foot wacking dream dragon

sleeping cow

glassy table shine

bright.

Shine table,

glassy cow. Sleeping

dragon dream: wacking foot

 

Which wasn’t anything like the dream she had (she was on the moon with some friends), But you can essentially throw random three- to four-word pairings on paper and it can read as a palindrome.

 

Let’s take advantage of the form now and paint two different pictures with each side of the text. Here I wrote the forward and backward parts at the same time, changing one section as I went so the other worked:

 

Neptune says,

“Lily, find ways.”

Lily’s understanding of

fear was Neptune.

Killing thing, that

god.

That thing killing

Neptune was fear

of understanding Lily’s

ways. “Find Lily,”

says Neptune.

 

Working this into a thicker story could be cool. Imagine a whole novella or novel written as a palindrome! Tabarnac.

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