Finstrom
Almost Sonnet Written While Considering My Name
and Tennyson’s “Guinevere”

by Jennifer Finstrom

While it is easy to prefer Morgan le Fay, I am her opposite,
her enemy, a pale and silent double. In Welsh, Jennifer
is Gwenhwyfar, white shadow or ghost, and this
is the aspect of my name I like best, the hint of something
ancient and secret, the owl in moonlight, a curved knife
glittering on stone. In my collected Tennyson, I have underlined
the part where the queen and Lancelot meet for the last
time, “passion-pale” and “in a madness of farewells.”
Many years ago, I told a boy that my name was ill-fated
so it could never work between us. And in the end,
I was right, but it wasn’t because of this or who I was.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I have long thought about my name and its place in the Arthurian mythos. While there is more to be said, I’m glad to have been able to begin to explore it here.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jennifer Finstrom teaches in the First-Year Writing Program, tutors in writing, and facilitates a writing group, Writers Guild, at DePaul University. She has been the poetry editor of Eclectica Magazine since October of 2005, and recent publications include Escape Into LifeNEATMidwestern Gothic, and YEW Journal, among othersShe also has work forthcoming in the Silver Birch Press The Great Gatsby Anthology and the Alice in Wonderland Anthology.