During the Middle Ages, there were so many social, political and theological constraints. To step outside convention and orthodoxy was dangerous – it could cost your life.
Maybe because it was so, artists and writers became adept at coded signals. The medieval mind loved patterns and riddles, ever seeking and inserting hidden messages – in poetic forms, in the physical attitudes and attributes and attire of the subjects of paintings, in juxtapositions and order, in shapes that called to mind other shapes. So much was said in what remained unsaid: and people became accustomed to looking for the silenced word.
In his plays, Shakespeare conveys much about relationship – harmonies and disharmonies – by the forms in which he presents dialogues and soliloquies.
The Hawk and the Dove series is written throughout in prose evocative of the medieval mindset. Some reviewers express disappointment at the modernity of some of the phraseology – but what I tried to do was express the spirit I found in medieval attitudes and writing, not recreate the forms. Though here and there I’ve enjoyed working with medieval literary conventions – for example, the frame tale form of the first two volumes and the evocation of the Fioretti in the vignettes of those first two books.
And I wonder – if you have read The Beautiful Thread, did you find the sonnet hidden in it?