I spin between the whirling summer stars
And balter to the orbit of the earth.
My feet are bare of sandals, socks, or scars.
My laughter shrieks hysterics, but not mirth.
There’s quaking underneath my steps; I scrape
My rusted sword across the rocky ground.
The sparks fly up to ravage and reshape.
Tectonic motion splits my skin and sounds
The trumpet scream of blood and lava flow.
I’m writhing in the fires that I have set,
A gyre of flailing limbs in gruesome woe.
My God! My God! Acknowledge my regret
Alas! I bit the prickly pear of shame,
Now dance to chants of Condemnation’s name.
I chose the Shakespearean sonnet form for this sonnet because I wanted the double rhyme of the couplet to drive home the point of the final lines. The abab cdcd efef rhyme scheme also emphasizes the spiraling feel of the poem to not only reflect the speaker’s dance but also the gradual descent into condemnation. The speaker balters, or dances clumsily, to the orbit of earth in summer, or the prime of her life; however, she dances between the stars, not beneath them. This is to show the speaker as not just a human, but also as the world itself. When her skin breaks, both blood and lava come out to mirror not only human pain, but the groanings of our cursed world. The speaker continues to spin even as everything goes up in flames around her—a fire she set with her own feeble attempts (rusted sword) to fight against the inevitable. In the end, she begs God to acknowledge her regret, her cries alluding to the cry of Christ on the cross to emphasize that she realizes she has done wrong but still is trusting in the power of her own regret to save her rather than Christ. She finally is condemned for biting the “prickly pear” of sin, an allusion to the garden of Eden and the original cause of the Fall. Even though the speaker feels shame for her choice, she—and therefore the world—goes up in flames for this sin, alluding to the final destruction of the world in the Tribulation when Satan becomes ruler of a world that chants his (Condemnation’s) name.