Sinister/Better Half

Today’s prompt from Poetic Asides is to write a sinister poem. The prompt from Khara’s Our Lost Jungle 30×30 challenge was to write about “my better half.”  Hmm. To combine the two prompts took a bit of thinking this time. And a teeny-tiny lesson on the history of the word Sinister.

In medieval times, dexter and sinister were, respectively, right and left. The left side of a shield (as the bearer is holding it), for instance, was the sinister side, the right side was dexter. Being left-handed was thought to be evil, or at the very least, touched by evil. That is how the word, “sinister” got its, well, sinister meaning. The words dextrous and dexterity came, in turn, from dexter, and “right” handed meant “correct” handed.

Angel and Devil

The Better Half

An angel on the right-hand side,
a devil on the left;
they whisper, scold, they coax and chide,
their words are shrewd and deft.

I wonder which to listen to,
the left one or the right?
The wicked voice’s ballyhoo,
or the voice of good and light?

The left one is adventuresome
the right is circumspect.
The left side grins and laughs and hums,
the right side’s all respect.

But there must be a middle way
prudent, but diverting.
I can’t choose boring over play,
ignorance over flirting.

Each half has its advantages,
and each half its downfall
A middle road might manage
a route much less banal.

So rather than simply choosing
whether to cry or laugh
I think it’s more amusing
to take the middle half.


4 thoughts on “Sinister/Better Half

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