Today I’m posting a sonnet from my first chapbook Counterpane.
For my poetry-phobic followers, a sonnet is a 14-line poem, invented during the Renaissance by an Italian poet named Petrarch, who evidently enjoyed playing with people’s heads – even his own. Not only does a sonnet have to be 14 lines, but it has a required rhyme scheme – either abbaabbacdcdcd (Petrarchian) or ababcdcdefefgg (Shakesperian).
To top it all off each line can only have 10 syllables and those syllables have to be emphasized alternately – it’s called iambic pentameter. IP is actually rather scary because once you get the hang of writing in that rhythm you discover that you are thinking in that rhythm as well – and it’s hard to turn off.
I’ll have some questions for you at the end of the poem, but for now figure out if this in a Petrarchian (also called Italian) or a Shakespearian (also called Elizabethan) sonnet. Enjoy.
Summer Sonnet D Chadwell
Each summer I am given perfect plums
Which grow without my love or watered care
Yet fill with cool moist sweetness, bees’ soft hums
That haze through August’s heated golden air.
I can no longer number all that flows
Full though my world in wild prolific flight.
My providential cup now overflows
With good work, love, and loveliness, and light.
But plums are watered down through dismal days
That fall like rain but feel more like regret,
Like sorrow, sadness. hurt and hollow praise
That drown my days and worry at me …yet
When heat and sun are high and summer comes,I know I will be granted perfect plums.
Response Questions :-) (I can't help it -- sorry.)
What – or who -- is gracing your summer?
What dismal days brought you -- or are bringing you to your plums?
Why do we love summer so much?
a) Are we trained to do so by eons of public schooling?
b) Is it just a sun thing and purely physical?
c) Or is it spiritual – a realization of life?
d) Who cares?
Yes – it’s a Shakespearian sonnet. Good job. If you’re interested in trying to write one check the right hand column for sonnet tips. Try it; it’s fun. Much like those black and white plastic number puzzles we used to play with. Your have to play with word order a lot.