Saturday, September 25, 2010



Sit down to write a sonnet and you won’t
Have any notion how your verse will end;
The many variables forthcoming don’t
Allow you knowledge where your lines may wend.

So, blindly you set out through trackless woods—
Some hunch or hint of where you hope to go
Compelling you ahead, the only shoulds
Being rhyme-and-meter, more your friend than foe.

For without them you’d bumble in the gloom,
No glint to guide you how you might go right,
No beat to lead you from your certain doom,
No hope to save you from a hapless plight.

Thank goodness then for liberating bonds,
As potent in their ways as magic wands.

~ ~ ~


Don’t think that writing sonnets ’s not a game,
Cold-blooded calculation, line by line,
To calibrate the measures to one aim:
To fit what its parameters define.

The form comes first; emotion follows after,
Though it should seem the other way around:
A clever turn of phrase provoking laughter,
A perfect rhyme to make good sense more sound.

That such complex machinery can serve
To move our passions and enthuse our hearts
Should seem no stranger than that blood and nerve
Can do the same, with other body parts.

Yet poems and bodies may incorporate
A subtle spirit they don’t regulate.