A sonnet, if no other thing, is clever.
Oh, yes, it must be sonorous and sing,
But it’s an intellectual endeavor,
A cannily designed, well-crafted thing
That keeps its meter and discovers rhymes
As it proceeds, designing on the fly,
Construing new directions while it climbs
With sprezzatura—appearing not to try.
Those efforts and those pains must seem a game
Played with balletic and athletic grace,
Performed to make its audience exclaim
How each move ends in a predestined place,
Though you, the poet, know quite otherwise:
That every line you write is a surprise.