Sonnet V: Whatever Thy Perfection Doth Require

I close my longing eyes; envisage thee;
Reflection manifesting not my hands;

Imprisoned lightning, countenanced with fire;
Shot through, withal, mine every wish commands’.
Extremity, thy tapered waist’s degree;

Impossible perhaps, if not sublime;
And yet, sublime, thy perfect form–admire
This hourglass that so-confoundeth time.

Nor could reflected shadowing foresee
Such helplessness within, as now I feel;
Restrained, regarding mine embraced desire

Ensnaring; captor, caught without appeal;
This weal of metaphor thy warder barred;
Imprisonment inspired such a guard.

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


15 responses to “Sonnet V: Whatever Thy Perfection Doth Require

    • Thank you very much dear lady. The form is a sonnet form I developed recently somewhere along the way while writing sonnets from other old works of mine. A few of them lent themselves very directly to sonnet form but had unique rhymeschemes such as this one, which is: 1a2a, 1b2b, 1c2c [1d][2d] (the rhymescheme being the same in the final couplet but compressed into only two lines.

      The verses are grouped in three because each triplet of lines, if you count the title (which also rhymes with 2) are also word-count haiku, which are also iambic pentameter (five beats composed of one unaccented syllable and one accented, for those who are learning these terms, sometimes referred to as weak/strong, masculine/feminine, etc.)

      A few weeks ago, I think it was, I thought one could compose a word-count haiku in iambic pentameter. Then today, it ocurred to me that if one used a title to round out the number to 15 lines, 5 such haiku would fit exactly. So that added additional restrictions to the verse, (the more restriction, the merrier for me, as you well know) and also provided an interesting flow to the words.

      I have done a few such experiments elsewhere.

      If you pray, please pray for me, I’m doing a million and one things this week it will be a challenge to fill in my missing sonnet days without using my coma sonnets.

      I have written more here:

      but I will probably copy this entry there, as this is actually more detail than is currently there.


    • Thank you. I am glad I just now revisited this one; because I think I would like to do another like it. It is very interesting trying to keep the words in the lines numbering 5-7-5, 5-7-5. all the way through.

      And this one I am happy with. And lucas is done with it also.


  1. Your skill at manipulating the versification is obvious. Unfortunately I cannot respond to this type of poetry. It does not flow into emotions for me. The choice of words is too “eclectic”, the old English spelling interferes with the smoothness of line, as we are no longer used to those sounds. I see the imitation of a type of efflorescent poetry that went out long ago. Simplicity of vocabulary would give it better strength. It is only my own response, individual, idiosyncratic, etc. etc.
    You obviously love doing this : more power to you!
    Check out Stephen Spencer’s ‘What I expected’ for a piece in which several haiku could be found, if that is how one wanted to read it. Also Spender’s ‘The Trance’ for a complex subjects clothed in simple words. There are others but I’ll stop here. Cheers …

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your thoughts and feelings. Be careful with such concepts as “gone out” or “come into…” as so many of us, myself included, still read and perform plays and music written over seven centuries or more ago. There really is something quite nefarious behind the propagation of such concepts (which is well beyond the scope of a comment like mine or yours above.)

      Having so stated, I will confess that I am much more comfortable with the language of my own age, of course–but therein lies the challenge. This is, in large part why I continue to invent alternate sonnet forms/varieties, &c. as well as more stringent rulesets for these forms. All this even given my having no gift at all with words (I am a mathematician) and no training in the humanities, my grammar is, even at its best, “monkey see, monkey do” : )

      But there is a much more important reason why I choose to write in an archaic style (however anachronistically) It is all because of love. I write to delight my Dear Wife, who has quite a humanities background, and who simply loves the sounds and concepts in this era of English with which she is quite familiar.

      All of this is for her, and her alone; however when others enjoy… so much the better. I hold nothing back here. I publish every sonnet I write or have written whether I feel it noteworthy or cringeworthy : )

      And I am so very often surprised at the selections that do strike a chord with someone–as well as who that person often turns out to be.


  2. Great verse with some deep thoughts within.

    What jumps out at me is this line:

    “Shot through, withal, mine every wish commands”

    Would this imply that if there was no constraint or baggage that I carry, I would be and act as a natural self expression?


    Liked by 1 person

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