Sonnet: His Nightingale Woman

My Love hath wings–slender, feathered things–
With grace in upswept curve and tapered tip.
My Love doth soar–swiftly to adore–
So twisting ever toward, and graceful skip.

So danceth She–round and round to thee–
Enrapt to bring us care, to bind us kept.
My Love doth know–thou, my love, bestow–
Thine Own, as did He dance and graceful stept.

For now as wed… They–Our Love hath said–
Would bear us hence anon as spectral ships;
So lovely They–so lighted, Their display–
T’would ere illuminate our Earthly trips.

And lovely, we–Love and I, and thee–
Take flight, as once I tasted first thy lips.

  • For Gene Roddenberry:
    And, to his memory;
    Who, in all probability,
    And, so very long ago,
    Penned the first two lines.


23 responses to “Sonnet: His Nightingale Woman

    • And the strange thing is that…. I believe if I did it all over again, the result would be quite different from this. I would like to try this “Canopian” form again sometime soon.

      Plus… I keep coming back to the final line. I feel the rhyme should be different. As you may remember it was once an internal rhyme with “four” Which doesn’t truly follow the pattern. And now is a couplet rhyme, which….. doesn’t truly make sense either, form-wise. And just now (a few minutes ago, I thought perhaps, it should rhyme with the twelfth line. Which is not a standard “compression” from the quatrain. However, what I see is that no true compression can actually exist in this form; therefore, perhaps rhyming with the twelfth line is as close as could be. It does bear some investigation, I think.


  1. Investigate away, my dear. I quite agree, there are possibilities to be delved into there and the Great Lucus has taught us that it is never too late. Meesa lika da poem but meesa can see it in all the forms you mentioned!
    Aak! What happened to me?!? Some evil demon took over my typing for a moment there…

    I look forward to seeing your explorations of this piece. I still think this one is sublime but I’ve learned to never question your sense of balance and form. When it is truly done you will know it and it will be amazing.


    • Line 13 now slightly rearranged to keep romance at the fore–which after all is what this Canopian sonnet is purported to have been about.

      Line 14 the same (which is why I slightly altered line 13) and which now rhymes with line 12 as I intimated might be more structurally and aesthetically pleasing.

      Also there are some minor punctuation changes which for gramatic integrity, I thought should be there, and which I resisted because it changes the nice consistent look of the piece. Still, I just now thought of a way to make the text work as is supposed to work, caesura and all, even though in the third quatrain things are a bit different. It has always bothered me that keeping the first dash where it was (to preserve and emphasize the caesura) rendered the sentence grammatically vague, and required of the reader some guesswork to parse.

      If it is not an improvement, keep in mind that wordpress does save version information–a lovely feature, which forgives other features that do not exactly work as expected.

      However I personally feel this end rhyme at least is less jarring than were the other two; both of which bothered me a bit.

      As regards it being done, I’m not sure I know it now, but… Here, for better or for worse, is the ideated change that meesa lefted here.


    • These two lines have gnawed at me ever since I saw the episode in question. Which was called “Where no man has gone before.” For those unfamiliar with Star Trek, TOS [Which is meant to stand for “The Original Series” this episode was fans of the show identify as the second pilot, the first being “The Cage” with Jeffery Hunter as the captain. None of this footage was seen until incorporated into the two part episode “The Menagerie.” Those who are familiar with my blog know I make a game of not consulting Wikipedia on such minutiae as a way to test the limits of my own feeble memory for trivia. However, I did, in this case check to make sure I did not have the two titles reversed. : )

      In any case I was so taken with the words “My love has wings, slender feathered things with grace in upswept curve and tender tip” that I never forgot them after just one hearing–I suppose this was because I was in love and because I had already begun writing sonnets because of that love.

      I was never satisfied with any of the completions I have read. None I read saw how these lines could be the opening lines to a sonnet. When I revisited them recently, I saw instantly what none of the poets I had thus far read had seen and so decided to see what I could do with the words.

      And, I am not at all sure I have extrapolated a form that solves all the problems I could identify accompanied with the extrapolation, however I feel I am closer than ever.

      What I have learned about sonnet writing by writing more of them–by making myself write one everyday–has helped this process along.

      Although I am now fairly happy with the last two lines of the sonnet–and the form (I originally utilised a couplet rhyme)–what I have learned and developed over the last year regarding the concept of “compression” as a way to see a sonnet’s concluding lines gives me more of a clue what should be there. I have used several forms of what I term “compression,” but I see now that there are many kinds. I have recently identified several more which I am anxious to try. (for example quatrains into interlocking quatrains, hence 8 lines into 6. I often use the concluding lines as a compressed quatrain (4 lines into 2) and (as in the sonnet about the coffee rubric or saying or parable) 4 lines into 1. In any case there are a number of ways to use the 14 lines of a sonnet to create balance, and a number of ways to compress a number of lines into fewer lines to create such balance. In fact, I have just now wondered about a 7 and 7 strategy sine 7 and 7 are fourteen, but that is another matter altogether.

      I am now leaning toward revisiting the last two lines of this form once again–now thinking the lines should or could contain to lines each with an internal rhyme separated with a caesura (or pause, created by a missing feminine syllable)

      On your Kanji/Kana combination google only offers “Bitter” or “And Bitter I suspect there is a layer or two of subtlety not present in this translation. On further investigation as how this translation engine works, I see it could be bitter, cool, sober, tasteful, grim sullen, astringent, or even “quite.”

      I am about to meet with my Japanese scholar about four hours from now, but I would rather hear your elucidation of this if now my question has not gotten itself lost in my sea of ramblings.


    • Bitter can be one of the terms – actually, it is “shibui” It means “bitter” like an unripe persimmon or, in acerbic good taste. This came about, I think during the Edo period.

      Shibui “items” are on the surface simple, but full of deeper meaning. “Muddy” colors rather than bright are associated with shibui – but not muddy as in dirty, but as in oftentimes, obscure – the more you explore, read, look at a shibui item, the more layers and meanings you find the more you find the hidden or unolbtrusive beauty. Perfection is not included in shibui, but unlike wabi sabi, it can be.

      Again, it translates to “acerbic good taste” rather than “sweet” good taste. Elegant, understated – like George Clooney in a nice shirt and jeans, sipping a good bourbon. Not Hugh Jackman bare chested, muscles bulging, gorgeous eyes flashing.

      It is rare you will see the Kanji translate to shibui as bitter is the original quality and meaning to it. I read your sonnets and find them full of layers, elegant, passionate – the more I read, the more I see through the “muddy” colors, the bright and thoughtful colors underneath.

      Shibui like wabi and sabi is one of those hard to explain concepts of Japanese art, thought, life. the more you explore a shibui item, the more you find – you never tire of it. it is a relationship of years – “fifty years in the making”.

      I hope my explanation is satisfactory. Again, it is one of those concepts, like the perfect cherry blossom, that is always to be explored and seen anew.

      Although bright blue, I am constantly finding depths to the aki no sora…Another term, mi ni shimu, refers to being soaked to the bone by cold autumn rain, but also means, to feel intensely or deeply.

      When Masashi went back to Japan, it was the end of summer, but I could only sit in sorrow feeling :mi ni shimu…

      .Hatsuyuki is first snow…yuki is just snow. Fuyu no ame is winter rain, harusame is spring rain. All of these differences and nuances….

      bitter, elegant, acerbic good taste. It’s Japanese, it’s complicated. I lived for 9 years with Masashi and barely scratched the surface, although he cared enough and knew I was working to empty myself and understand the nuances and to love them, he gave me my sword and trained me how to use it: Minamikaze for love and respect of my Southern roots – he said, Japanese soul in a Southern woman.

      I hope I haven’t lost you here! I’ve been given a new title by a friend: Kunoichi-no-Chesterfield. Not well written, but you may get a laugh out of the post. I have two of them – one is photo and poem the other is……an event. :-)


    • I am quite sure I would enjoy the experience! I hope you do not mind that I sometimes share your comments with friends of mine. They are a strange lot and not given to socialising, to be sure, but I am fortunate to have a number of very well and eclectically educated friends.

      I have, for example, shown your comments on biblical matters to my colleague who reads biblical Greek and Aramaic as well as Hebrew with impressive fluency. He was most impressed with your knowledge and the spirit with which you express it. I have encouraged him to “say” so on his own, but alas, our lot is generally most shy.


    • I can sympathize with the shy members. I myself would probably clam up and nod and blush. The Sunday School class of teens I teach keep me on my toes. they are a good group and a bit rowdy at times. I enjoy it thoroughly.


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