The challenge of the sonnet is to fling
A five-beat line across the page and like
A spider hope it finds someplace to cling,
A daring high-wire strung from pike to pike.
You cannot know when you begin where you
Will go, what course you’ll take, what trail you’ll blaze
Or what elusive game you will pursue
While line by line meandering through this maze.
At some point, though, a clearing opens wide—
You see before you what it was you sought
And now have fewer courses to decide
Until your shapely sonnet’s fully wrought.
There’s some mysterious imperative
That brings a sonnet forth and lets it live.