Sonnet: Strength and Fear

What smile hast thou that moves me so to love?
What strength of heart, that moves thee so to smile?
Wherefrom thy strength–for I have none–yet, while
Thine own, hast brought me such abundance of?

My strength has gone away from me, my dove
Why then hast thou the art to so beguile
Those spirits, of those deaths, which, as my trial,
Belabour soul and heart? I strove, above,

To be the stronger spirit. Yet inspired
By strength–and by thy fear–it now becomes
My heart to strive for joy, or even higher–

Strive, though I have not the strength required
To strive–for such is when, thou must have come
Alive! And so we live again! But why?

11 responses to “Sonnet: Strength and Fear

  1. Like you, I never post “like” unless I really like and I leave comments when things strike me. Your haikus seem to me most authentic coming from a Western mind as a Western mind would fashion them, not lame imitations of an alien culture
    (as so many are). I want to thank you for coming to my blog and I welcome you.
    Ben arrivato!

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s very interesting! I’ve never thought about it that way. They do reflect my western background. They no doubt show a classical influence as well, because although I’m not what one would term a “humanities guy,” I did fall in love, long, long ago with my sweetheart who would describe herself as a “humanities nerd.” It has had no small effect on me over the last century.

      The thing is, I’ve not written any haiku until a few months ago, when I began this site, except for the humorous ones I mentioned somewhere in my sonnet blog, which is the very reason why I thought to use haiku at all. It just seemed like a nice way to introduce a sonnet. I don’t always use them, but I do enjoy writing them, and now, even hiding them within prose.

      Of late I came upon some haiku that used the “word count” method instead of the syllabic method. It sparked an old memory in that I had a teacher long ago (sixth year, I believe) that introduced the form to us tykes using that method–and cinquain also, using the same method.

      I had forgotten all about it and have used it now a time or two.


    • Very very interesting observations. Thanks for replying. Because I changed cultures – still remaining who I ever was – and because I worked in close contact with international colleagues, I am very aware of the influence of culture on mind set. Basically they are inseparable, though the barriers can be breached.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I think it very difficult as well, but still possible. My dearest is but one stunning example of someone versed in more than one culture, as alas, I am not.

      Regarding word wise haiku, I have enjoyed, since the last answer above, writing some which are in iambic pentameter (given my proclivities for such : )

      These are done as three lines of ten syllables each, but with word counts of five, seven, and five, respectively. As such, I have also composed one sonnet (so far) composed of five of these haiku (counting a title for fifteen lines, thus 3 x 5 = 15)

      Which link is here:


  2. Thank you for your reply. Since I know nothing about haiku ‘rules’ as used in the Japanese culture I cannot judge as haiku any short poetic writing that uses the metrics and the sensitivity of Western culture. I will then read your haiku sonnets with a western mind because that is the only way that I can do it…
    I still think that the original mindset of a totally different culture remains alien to others form different backgrounds. I have had a number of Japanese and oriental friends who appeared completely assimilated into U.S. life, but still kept very different basic views about life. And I myself are my own example of expatriation, with concurrent different points of view, separate and even alien, to the U.S. culture in which I lived my adult life. By culture I intend a specific way of thinking and acting, not necessarily a higher education.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Your being a mathematician explains a lot to me, as well as your wife admiring your versification in imitation of past forms … I find nothing ‘nefarious’ in distinguishing between genuine originals and imitations ! As I said, while I love reading Milton, Shakespeare, Byron, and the more recent poets such a Yeats, Wordsworth, Wilde, etc. those are the original expressions of their own times and their own sensitivities within that time frame.
      In my simple opinion it is hard to recreate that in another time frame, no matter how one repeats the rules of meter and cadence.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Yes I thought this would be your opinion. I have a very, very, very, long, long, long, explanation of why this is not so, which I will graciously spare you. I have a friend and colleague–a very dear one–who has, practically word for word, expressed to me the same opinion.

      It makes me very happy that you, and he, will share your unfiltered thoughts with me. To your final paragraph, I will answer that I agree: Yes it is very hard; that is what makes it worth doing.

      Unfortunately for my colleague, I did not spare him my lengthy explanation. I fear he will never be the same again : )


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