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View Poll Results: Vote your preference between the two poems (be honest - my skin is thick).
I prefer the sonnet version. 3 42.86%
I prefer the free verse version. 4 57.14%
Neither does anything for me. 0 0%
They differ too much to pick one over the other. 0 0%
The poems are too different to compare at all. 0 0%
Voters: 7. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 07-15-2016, 02:52 AM   #1
legerdemer
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Sonnet or free verse?

My apologies at the outset for the narcissism of this poll.

For a poetry challenge, I turned a free verse poem into a sonnet. I am genuinely curious what people think of the two - which they prefer - not because either is any great shakes, but because they share word use and topic, obviously.

Thanks for participating in this little experiment.



Liebeslied (sonnet version)

The nipple, shaped just like Erato's grape,
his lips devour, just as - from silver strings -
Kithara’s sweet, melodious notes escape
to grace the air, shine forth their shimmerings.

The clear thin stream, it trickled down her breast
and glossed upon her molten skin, to rest
in that small valley just above the nest
where men submerge their wicked dreams to crest.

The sweetest limerence reveals a plea
to their abiding need, to which her love’s
clear visage holds a mute, unbidden key
to their surprise, to loose on wingéd doves.

In gilded memories they steeped their love,
their dreams ethereal as the moon above.





Liebeslied (free verse original)

Her nipple, shaped like Erato's grape,
touches his lips, as notes escape
from sweet Kithara's strings
to grace the page, to shimmer and elate.

Clear water trickles down her chest,
kisses smooth skin; it glides and rests
in that small valley just above the nest
where men sink hopes and dreams.

What bittersweet limerence unfolds
in answer to the deep abiding need,
to which the visage of his loved one holds
unbidden and mysterious key.
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Last edited by legerdemer : 07-17-2016 at 11:45 PM. Reason: to correct grammar of S1 L2
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Old 07-15-2016, 05:58 AM   #2
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Good morning. I couldn't vote because I like them both: I think you can say what you're saying either way. I also think both need a little editing, and that the sonnet needs a bit more work than the free verse. I'll probably like the sonnet more (shocking, I know lol) if the kinks are worked out because the subject and many of the word choices seem more suited to a musical-sounding poem.
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Old 07-15-2016, 06:47 AM   #3
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I like them both cause I think they are both musical (the rhythm is driving in both).
Having said that, I observe something a little weird. I find the sonnet more difficult to follow rhythmically than the original which is to my ears pretty direct and strait. Also the meaning (so far) comes directly to me in the original version without the words interrupting their flow, so I would choose a rock rhythm for it. The sonnet is good for a more traditional setting, but here I agree with Angelic that it may need some work: The biggest problem for me here (which interrupts the iambus) is the name of the muse herself, and it throws me out in the free version also. How do you pronounce it? Do you put the emphasis on the "a" which maintains the iambus or on the "o" which is anapestic?
As a Greek speaker I can never bring myself to say "Erato",I will always pronounce as "Erato".
For some of these reasons I vote for the original version in this case.
But the eroticism is well realized in both versions.

Last edited by pelegrino : 07-15-2016 at 06:50 AM.
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Old 07-15-2016, 07:32 AM   #4
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I prefer and voted for Free Verse.

It could benefit from omitting "to which" and "of" from Line 11.

And it is one of the most erotic poems I have ever read.

=================

The sonnetized version weakens it.

It relies on "to" too much. 7 instances compared to 3 in the Free.

Stanza 2 is the best part because it had better momentum due in part to rhyming "est" in all four lines.

I said better momentum, not great. The problem lies in momentum dragging because you are shoe-horning in boring words like "to" to achieve iambic pentameter. So the Sonnetized version becomes like someone tugging on the ends of the lines, stretching them just a little bit further.
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Old 07-15-2016, 07:55 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Magnetron View Post
I prefer and voted for Free Verse.

It could benefit from omitting "to which" and "of" from Line 11.

And it is one of the most erotic poems I have ever read.

=================

The sonnetized version weakens it.

It relies on "to" too much. 7 instances compared to 3 in the Free.

Stanza 2 is the best part because it had better momentum due in part to rhyming "est" in all four lines.

I said better momentum, not great. The problem lies in momentum dragging because you are shoe-horning in boring words like "to" to achieve iambic pentameter. So the Sonnetized version becomes like someone tugging on the ends of the lines, stretching them just a little bit further.
That's the hard part but it can be done. There are sonnets that are faithful to the meter that don't sound like words were shoehorned in or Yoda-speak, etc., to fit the rhythm.

Course I also don't believe, as AH suggests, that poems that aren't written with attention to rhythm and meter (i.e., free verse) are unedited blurts. Sometimes there's a lot of forethought in my blurts!
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Old 07-15-2016, 08:45 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Angeline View Post
Course I also don't believe, as AH suggests, that poems that aren't written with attention to rhythm and meter (i.e., free verse) are unedited blurts. Sometimes there's a lot of forethought in my blurts!
Egad! I don't suggest that. I can only speak for myself, but my poems are all highly edited blurts, and the majority of mine are not written in classical forms (although they tend to be blank as opposed to free verse, because I got natural rhythm. )

Aside from my indignation on that point , I agree with Angeline that the sonnet version sounds like a work in progress. I think that Mer's youthful impetuosity is visible here. One of the advantages of writing sonnets is that it should slow you down and force you revise more. This sonnet needs a few more revisions:

"his lips devours" is either bad, or overly ambiguous grammar. If the nipple is actually devouring his lips, that can be said in a way that doesn't cause the reader to stumble.

"just as" suggests some form of equivalence between said nipples 'n' lips, and the synesthesiac shining notes. That may be intentional, or it may be that "just" was a filler syllable. In the original version, it is only "as", which to my imagination suggestions more that the music merely accompanies the nipple nibbling.

"The sweetest limerence reveals a plea
to their abiding need" -- that really doesn't make sense to me. "Reveals a plea"? It sounds nice, but the meaning seems awkward. If fact, that entire sentence, which is to say that entire stanza, seems like a jumble of sweet imagery in search of an ordering principle. In the original, it is somewhat less confusing, although I think the original version could also benefit from some revision.

The final couplet I think has some good moments, like "they steeped their love", although I shudder a little at rhyming "love" with "the moon above" -- if it is not an actual cliche, it has a familiar ring to it. But I like the gilded memories and the ethereal dreams.
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Old 07-15-2016, 09:38 AM   #7
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I preferred the 2nd. Some of my comments have as much to do with my preference as a reader. I like sonnets. The language in the first poem, however, felt forced in parts. I also have a bias that sonnets are better written in the first person.

I was puzzled by the title, "Kithara's," and "limerence." I had to look them up. This may not apply to one who knows German and ancient Greek instruments, but in a short poem, having to research the meaning of 3 words detracts from the reading IMO. I happen to think it's not a bad idea on the part of the poet to insert one, two at most, unfamiliar words. That said, "Liebeslied" and limerence have a pleasant sound together, so I'd keep them. I don't feel the same about "Kithara," even with the pairing of Erato.

The middle stanza is beautiful and sensuous.

Again, I'm talking personal here: "visage," is OK, but, as a little used word, it stayed with me in the wrong way, particulary inserted as it was towards the end of the poem.

I liked the poem very much, and I wonder how it would in the more lyrical first person with the 2nd and 3rd stanzas trading places.
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Old 07-15-2016, 10:13 AM   #8
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I think the Free Verse version can be further edited beyond what I originally suggested.

More internal rhyming could be inserted.

It could easily be transformed into a free verse half assed sonnet.

All this while making it much dirrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrtier, without bringing down the high level of eroticism it already perpetuates.





But I will not post a rewrite without Legs's permission. I do not want to steal away any opportunities for her to improve it on her own.
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Old 07-15-2016, 11:13 AM   #9
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Thanks, all, for your thoughtful input - much appreciated.

I will work on both, though on the free verse first - in a few days. Unlikely I can before then, and I want to be better at contributing to DB3.

If you wish to take a stab or hack at either of them, get your bayonets and machetes ready and go for it. One limit - word 'limerence' must stay.
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Old 07-15-2016, 02:04 PM   #10
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I was puzzled by the title, "Kithara's," and "limerence." I had to look them up. This may not apply to one who knows German and ancient Greek instruments, but in a short poem, having to research the meaning of 3 words detracts from the reading IMO. I happen to think it's not a bad idea on the part of the poet to insert one, two at most, unfamiliar words. That said, "Liebeslied" and limerence have a pleasant sound together, so I'd keep them. I don't feel the same about "Kithara," even with the pairing of Erato.



GM, I thought it would be easy if you know the word for such a common cultural presence in one language to guess it when you see it in the rest of them:


English: guitar
German: gitarre
French: guitare
Spanish: guitarra
Italian: chitarra
Latin: Cithara
Classical & modern Greek: Kithara

btw, which word/instrument would you pair with Erato? (any muse could play on a guitar)
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Old 07-15-2016, 03:01 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pelegrino View Post
I was puzzled by the title, "Kithara's," and "limerence." I had to look them up. This may not apply to one who knows German and ancient Greek instruments, but in a short poem, having to research the meaning of 3 words detracts from the reading IMO. I happen to think it's not a bad idea on the part of the poet to insert one, two at most, unfamiliar words. That said, "Liebeslied" and limerence have a pleasant sound together, so I'd keep them. I don't feel the same about "Kithara," even with the pairing of Erato.



GM, I thought it would be easy if you know the word for such a common cultural presence in one language to guess it when you see it in the rest of them:


English: guitar
German: gitarre
French: guitare
Spanish: guitarra
Italian: chitarra
Latin: Cithara
Classical & modern Greek: Kithara

btw, which word/instrument would you pair with Erato? (any muse could play on a guitar)
I can't speak for others, pelegrino, but for me I did not associate the word with guitar. As to Erato, I don't feel the need to pair it. I think it stands out by itself as a word with sensual connotations without having to have knowledge of the Greek mythological figure. As you are a native speaker of Greek and a musician, I suspect Mer's pairing worked well for you. My initial post spoke to my bias as a reader. When I have to look up too many words, it detracts from my appreciation of the reading. I'd say the same about one of Donald Hall's baseball poems if I were unfamiliar with the sport.
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Old 07-15-2016, 03:07 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greenmountaineer View Post
I can't speak for others, pelegrino, but for me I did not associate the word with guitar. As to Erato, I don't feel the need to pair it. I think it stands out by itself as a word with sensual connotations without having to have knowledge of the Greek mythological figure. As you are a native speaker of Greek and a musician, I suspect Mer's pairing worked well for you. My initial post spoke to my bias as a reader. When I have to look up too many words, it detracts from my appreciation of the reading. I'd say the same about one of Donald Hall's baseball poems if I were unfamiliar with the sport.
It's a fair issue to bring up - I have that issue in prose, certainly.

I don't know why things, lines, words - come to me; in this one I was trying to incorporate muses as inspiration (I seem to recall it may have been in response to a challenge here that I never managed to enter). But Liebeslied seemed a perfect title, and Kithara was another muse that fit in the poem, so in it went. Not always a good reason.

I do have frequent bouts of premature ejaculation of poems...
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Old 07-15-2016, 05:47 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by legerdemer View Post
If you wish to take a stab or hack at either of them, get your bayonets and machetes ready and go for it. One limit - word 'limerence' must stay.
So let it be written, so let it be done.

before Magnetron put his greasy paws on it

Quote:
Originally Posted by Legs
Liebeslied (free verse original)

Her nipple, shaped like Erato's grape,
touches his lips, as notes escape
from sweet Kithara's strings
to grace the page, to shimmer and elate.

Clear water trickles down her chest,
kisses smooth skin; it glides and rests
in that small valley just above the nest
where men sink hopes and dreams.

What bittersweet limerence unfolds
in answer to the deep abiding need,
to which the visage of his loved one holds
unbidden and mysterious key.

after Magnetron put his greasy paws on it

Quote:
Liebeslied (free verse half assed sonnet )

Her nipple, shaped like Erato's grape,
touches his lips, as notes escape
from sweet Kithara's elated strings
gracing the page with shimmerings

Clear water trickles down her chest,
kisses smooth skin, gliding to rest
in that small valley just above the nest;
thirsting men satiated come as guest.

What bittersweet limerence unfolds
in answer to deep abiding need,
the visage his loved one holds
unbidden, mysteriously keyed.

Steeped love flies in gilded memory disguise
on dove wings through ethereal moon skies.
alternate line-age

Quote:
in that small valley just above the nest
speculated by men who come unguessed.
back to the original sonnet version

Quote:
Originally Posted by Legs
Liebeslied (sonnet version)

The nipple, shaped just like Erato's grape,
his lips devours, just as - from silver strings -
Kithara’s sweet, melodious notes escape
to grace the air, shine forth their shimmerings.

The clear thin stream, it trickled down her breast
and glossed upon her molten skin, to rest
in that small valley just above the nest
where men submerge their wicked dreams to crest.

The sweetest limerence reveals a plea
to their abiding need, to which her love’s
clear visage holds a mute, unbidden key
to their surprise, to loose on wingéd doves.

In gilded memories they steeped their love,
their dreams ethereal as the moon above.
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Last edited by Magnetron : 07-15-2016 at 05:52 PM.
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Old 07-15-2016, 08:51 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greenmountaineer View Post
When I have to look up too many words, it detracts from my appreciation of the reading.
My fave poets from the 19th century send me to Google all the time. I don't think it's because they like to be obscure; I think it's because their audience was a hell of a lot more literate than we are today. They expected readers to know the allusions. Read this Harvard entrance exam from 1869 to get a flavor of what I mean.

I learn new words when I read Mer's poems. The latest is "cosset."
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Old 07-15-2016, 09:51 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by legerdemer View Post
If you wish to take a stab or hack at either of them, get your bayonets and machetes ready and go for it. One limit - word 'limerence' must stay.
I prefer to think of what I did as more of a caress. Mainly I tried to simplify the grammar, which I think was unnecessarily convoluted at times. This was done at one sitting, and I welcome anyone to re-write my re-write. I must confess that Google failed me with respect to Erato's grape -- I know who Erato is, but still don't know what is singular about her grape. Also, I don't really understand what's going on with the doves, but I tried to keep the image somehow intact.

Liebeslied (sonnet version)

The nipple, shaped just like Erato's grape,
invades his lips, while out from silver strings
Kithara’s sweet, melodious notes escape
to grace the air with brilliant shimmerings.

The clear thin stream has trickled down her breast
and glossed upon her molten skin, to rest
in that small valley just above the nest
adored by men, whom wicked dreams possessed.

The sweetest limerence abidingly
invests their endless need, to which her love’s
clear visage holds a mute, unbidden key,
that sends their hearts aloft with wingéd doves.

They steep their love in gilded memories,
their dreams elusive as a twilight breeze.
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Old 07-16-2016, 08:45 AM   #16
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I almost chose option 3 as I'm not fond of what seem to be almost gratuitous obscure classical references. I look for emotion in poetry rather than Google searches.

But of the two I prefer the sonnet as the stucture gives the poem more backbone and the lst two lines (the volta?) give it a nice conclusion. As noted, both could use editing.
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Old 07-16-2016, 09:25 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlwaysHungry View Post
I prefer to think of what I did as more of a caress. Mainly I tried to simplify the grammar, which I think was unnecessarily convoluted at times. This was done at one sitting, and I welcome anyone to re-write my re-write. I must confess that Google failed me with respect to Erato's grape -- I know who Erato is, but still don't know what is singular about her grape. Also, I don't really understand what's going on with the doves, but I tried to keep the image somehow intact.

Liebeslied (sonnet version)

The nipple, shaped just like Erato's grape,
invades his lips, while out from silver strings
Kithara’s sweet, melodious notes escape
to grace the air with brilliant shimmerings.

The clear thin stream has trickled down her breast
and glossed upon her molten skin, to rest
in that small valley just above the nest
adored by men, whom wicked dreams possessed.

The sweetest limerence abidingly
invests their endless need, to which her love’s
clear visage holds a mute, unbidden key,
that sends their hearts aloft with wingéd doves.

They steep their love in gilded memories,
their dreams elusive as a twilight breeze.
I liked "Erato's grape," even if it's poetic license, which BTW would be interesting topic for discussion in another thread or perhaps a future challenge.

All nipples are sensuous, but for me it suggested a swarthy purple. Combined with the sound, more than the image of Erato, I found it to be perhaps the most erotic line in the poem.

Very nice edit of the sonnet.
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Old 07-16-2016, 12:58 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greenmountaineer View Post
I liked "Erato's grape," even if it's poetic license, which BTW would be interesting topic for discussion in another thread or perhaps a future challenge.

All nipples are sensuous, but for me it suggested a swarthy purple. Combined with the sound, more than the image of Erato, I found it to be perhaps the most erotic line in the poem.

Very nice edit of the sonnet.
There are many sections of Mer's sonnet which seem ambiguous to me, such as the thing with the doves. Ambiguity is a sine qua non for poetry -- if everything written has only one, obvious meaning, you are dealing with prose, regardless if it rhymes (in which case it's doggerel.) But in re-writing someone else's poem, there is the danger that something which is ambiguous may get transmogrified. Mer's instructions were very laissez-faire, though: don't mess with "limerence," that's it.
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Old 07-17-2016, 11:43 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Magnetron View Post
So let it be written, so let it be done.


after Magnetron put his greasy paws on it
Liebeslied (free verse half assed sonnet - contributed by Mags, with Mer's comments)

Her nipple, shaped like Erato's grape,
touches his lips, as notes escape
from sweet Kithara's elated strings (it's not the strings that are elated, but the sounds, so perhaps: elating or arousing strings; I prefer the latter)
gracing the page with shimmerings

Clear water trickles down her chest,
kisses smooth skin, gliding to rest
in that small valley just above the nest;
thirsting men satiated come as guest. (the grammar on this one bothers me; it's sacrificed for the sake of the rhyme; I also think my lines above are more poetic, but hey, I admit I'm exceedingly biased!)

What bittersweet limerence unfolds
in answer to their deep abiding need,
the visage that his loved one holds,
and from his imagination freed.

Steeped love flies in gilded memory disguise
on dove wings through ethereal moon skies.


Hmmm... maybe:
Love flies steeped in gilded memory's disguise
on wings of doves, through moonlit skies.
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Last edited by legerdemer : 07-18-2016 at 12:18 AM.
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Old 07-17-2016, 11:55 PM   #20
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Thanks much, AH, for the thought you put into your version. I did, however, take it as given that I have free license to edit the edit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AlwaysHungry View Post
I prefer to think of what I did as more of a caress. Mainly I tried to simplify the grammar, which I think was unnecessarily convoluted at times. This was done at one sitting, and I welcome anyone to re-write my re-write. I must confess that Google failed me with respect to Erato's grape -- I know who Erato is, but still don't know what is singular about her grape. Also, I don't really understand what's going on with the doves, but I tried to keep the image somehow intact.

Liebeslied (sonnet version)

The nipple, shaped just like Erato's grape,
invades his lips, while out from silver strings (this seems a bit silly to me;
how about: while from the silver strings)


Kithara’s sweet, melodious notes escape
to grace the air with brilliant shimmerings.

The clear thin stream has trickled down her breast
and glossed upon her molten skin, to rest (glossed, huh? hmmmm...)
in that small valley just above the nest
adored by men, whom wicked dreams possessed. (seems a tad prosaic to me; again, I fully acknowledge my bias, but I still prefer my own line here)

The sweetest limerence abidingly
invests their endless need, to which her love’s
clear visage holds a mute, unbidden key,
that sends their hearts aloft with wingéd doves.

(your grammar here seems no more clear than mine, dear AH - 'invests' seems to beg for something else, like 'with'; perhaps 'invests with endless need...' ? I'm not fon of that last line, though on its own it is clearer than my version)

They steep their love in gilded memories,
their dreams elusive as a twilight breeze.
(I like the ending couplet.)
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Old 07-18-2016, 09:15 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by legerdemer View Post
Liebeslied (free verse half assed sonnet - contributed by Mags, with Mer's comments)

Her nipple, shaped like Erato's grape,
touches his lips, as notes escape
from sweet Kithara's elated strings (it's not the strings that are elated, but the sounds, so perhaps: elating or arousing strings; I prefer the latter)
gracing the page with shimmerings

Clear water trickles down her chest,
kisses smooth skin, gliding to rest
in that small valley just above the nest;
thirsting men satiated come as guest. (the grammar on this one bothers me; it's sacrificed for the sake of the rhyme; I also think my lines above are more poetic, but hey, I admit I'm exceedingly biased!)

What bittersweet limerence unfolds
in answer to their deep abiding need,
the visage that his loved one holds,
and from his imagination freed.

Steeped love flies in gilded memory disguise
on dove wings through ethereal moon skies.


Hmmm... maybe:
Love flies steeped in gilded memory's disguise
on wings of doves, through moonlit skies.
I tried my best to incorporate as much imagery as I could from both your versions, but the primary goal was making it ( less of ) a ( forced ) sonnet.
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