Part 1, The Prompt: (the words themselves)



All your spirits are low
and the tears are hot
on your checks

then I would do anything
in my power
to give you peace.


If I could write today
if I could fool the Gods
as they sleep

into thinking that your voice
speaks through my hand
for one brief moment

to give you rest
to buy you time
then I would write today.

I had originally intended another subject for this beginning; however, my sweetheart wrote, or rather spoke these lovely words.  And, although I have already answered this with another sonnet, it seemed more interesting than the rather “Plain-Jane” subject I had planned–originally something regarding nature, “with rain in,” as they might say across the pond–people like rain quite a lot.  I tend to get the most hits on rain related sonnets, although of late my reading and following, i.e. social aspects of blogging, have been spotty at best.

The first few of these might–should–not truly be called sonnets in any sense; perhaps egregiously not; and, excepting that they contain no squiggly lines, are perhaps  even more egregious, and less worthy of the name than those of Tim Wossname, of whom I wrote at the very opus of this blogging adventure.  However, and although… this is after all, my sixth month reward to myself and as such, I do not feel more than slight and occasional pangs of guilt over this.

Leave it to me, in fact to come up with a reward that is more work than the endeavour for which I am rewarding myself.  In any case, as I have been ill these past few weeks until recently, this is rather more like using ones accrued vacation days for a protracted illness rather than the enjoyable trip for which they were intended.

So this first prompt will be a true free form example.  I will not or at least significantly not reorder or rephrase the words in the first several iterations.  This is because I would like to use the opportunity of placing the words in several different formats to substitute for a more formal analysis.  The reason for this is twofold:

First, this is not a “course,” if such it may be called at all, on how to write sonnets, but rather one on how to read them; and second, although this is a bit unconventional, I should like the (one or two) readers who stumble upon this work to have already dispensed with several levels of understanding of the words themselves as well as their structure.

Not everyone learns in the same way of course, but this sequence is aimed  in particular at people who are most in the habit of “doing things all at once” or “flying by the seat of their pants.”  People who like to “just take it all in at once,” so to speak, have trouble with more ordered forms of writing because the more layers and complexity, the better served one is by a multi tiered understanding.  For example I would say that in general, good advice to such a person/student would be to read the words aloud, without trying to understand them.  Just to familiarise oneself with them–with the sound of them.  Learning to recite a sonnet–even by memory–takes one more easily to the next step of figuring out what the whole thing might be about.

So to make that easier, and reverse the process, I thought it would make more sense to present a form with which most people are familiar and which more directly can be taken in “all at once.”

SO, on with the show:

First, in order to show the importance of form, are the words themselves. 

It may be difficult to follow their meaning at this phase, and they are presented this way only because it may illustrate why we might choose a particular form at all, why we use punctuations or full sentences when appropriate–in prose or in poetry.

Nothing in fact is without form. 

In fact, where poetry concerned, form simply aids in the presentation of the work, or obfuscates it–both of which may be a desired result, and certainly may or may not be the intent and the result of more demanding forms.  Any freeverse poem is presented in a form.  It may be free-form, so to speak…

but it cannot be free of form. 

If I took each word separately on a tiny scrap of paper, and sprinkled them around the world, it would still be a form; pointless, one might argue, but still a form.

Take a look:

This entry is part of a short sequence; click here to read it all:

6 responses to “Part 1, The Prompt: (the words themselves)

  1. This is why I like haiku, tanka, and nonets – there is a set form and rules. This may seem a bit pedantic to some folks, but I enjoy trying to work with the rules and create something that transforms the rules into a unique creation. My little works are not outstanding, but they are unique. I enjoy the challenge of creating something, within those rules, that speak to someone, if only to me. Your works are beautiful and always speak to me.


    • I’ve written a sequence about it. I apologise in advance because these links will show the sequence out of order. Just follow the Roman Numerals if you care to: Five Petalled Flower… In any case here is one from the sequence:

      A word, then two, a fountain like a stream
      That wears away a mountain. Time, a spring,
      Reflection over aeons; it can bring
      Perfection. Though it presses down, extreme

      In ways of mystery. Its form can seem
      To press its history: On such a common thing
      As common coal, transformative, may wring
      A diamond fine and whole. And so supreme

      A form may limit, yet such limits might
      Become the set of forces pressed upon
      So commonplace a line as these I write.

      The queen of all poetic forms: I fight
      Her storms of pressure; educated on;
      And opened up, my mind, to all her light.


  2. Pingback: Sonnet I: (the words themselves) | David Emeron: Sonnets

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