too many hours
for the denouement:
all the knots untangled
bound with silk ribbons
pink and gold
and a card
May 30, 2009
I remember when I first heard the word denouement in high school. I loved the smooth French sounds, the soft ending of the word. I loved its meaning even more than its sound. The denouement is my favorite point of every novel, where all the little pieces of the puzzle are explained, all the relationships sorted out, and the story is finally put to rest. Problem is, I expected life to be like that, to have that moment, when all the story lines are laid to rest, all the questions answered.
Carolyn G. Heilbrun, professor of English at Columbia University and writer of mysteries under the name Amanda Cross, wrote the following in her work Writing a Woman's Life:
"We women have lived too much with closure: 'If he notices me, if I marry him, if I get into college, if I get this work accepted, if I get that job' -- there always seemed to loom the possibility of something being over, settled, sweeping clear the way for contentment. This is the delusion of a passive life. When hope for closure is abandoned, when there is an end to fantasy, adventure for women will begin."I think however, this false desire for closure lies in many men as well as women. Heilbrun herself, in the end was unable to let it go, and seeking the ultimate closure ended her own life.
I have found in my own life, that just when I imagine my story is winding down and the denouement is upon me, that something new and fresh falls from the sky -- sometimes scary, sometimes sad, sometimes difficult, but often extraordinarily exciting and challenging.
For more poems on the prompt "denouement" check out One Single Impression.