Follow-Up on Teaching Sonnets | Wanderings in the Labyrinth

Aug 22, 2013 @ 10:15:42

One thing at a time. :-)

It’s been my experience that students can count syllables, and get 10 syllables into a line, far easier than they can match the iambic pentameter. The iambic pentameter only came for me after about thirty sonnets — so I think it’s less of a priority. We want students to get over three hurdles first: writing fourteen lines, writing a rhyme scheme, and writing ten syllables in a line. The iamb can come later, because it’s a “sounds like this” issue, which gets solved by kids who care about writing more than one or two.

I could have sworn that it was Dershowitz, but it’s now been at least a decade since I read the report, and the name of the lawyer has long since escaped me. It was about the time of the O.J. Simpson trial, as I recall, or before, so it may not be on the Web — given that it was 1994. It was a profile of a prominent lawyer of the era, might have been Harper’s magazine or The Atlantic…

As for your sonnet sequence, I like it. It conveys feelings of doubt and uncertainty, and solitude; but it’s very much rooted in internal feeling and abstract language, rather than in the macrocosmic world of objects and things and processes. I tend to lean more into the world of objects than you, but it may be an advantage in the poetry world these days.

via Follow-Up on Teaching Sonnets | Wanderings in the Labyrinth.

Sonnet IX: Eros Philia Agape

As perfect thee, thine image as thine art:
Sublime, as sculpture’s ideations see;
Though mere in thought do such ideals exist,
My hands believe perfection thus to be.

Do not I trust this truth my hands impart
When next they touch conviction wrought of fire:
This certitude of which mine eyes insist
When they confirm withal my hands acquire;

Wherefore our brothers, hath He given heart
That for the other, petuous, will burn;
For she, from whom our brothers’ ribs consist,
Do all of us, this undespoilt, yearn.

For one: with art, we praise His strength thereof;
The other: doth enlist with us His love.

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


Another Example of Embedded Haiku

Whatever Thy Perfection Doth Require

I close my longing eyes; envisage thee;
Reflection manifesting not mine 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, although 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:


Continue reading

Sonnet VI: Aftermath

What did I gain; what medal did I earn
That showed I gave–and nothing but my best–
When what would die in battle was a dream,
Such dreams as fade away when once confessed?

What did I profit; what was left to learn
When fighting for a dream had left me vexed
And reeling from this death in the extreme
Rapidity of my defence?  What next

Would fade; when hence, what of my heart’s concern
Forbade continuance; what prayer could
I speak, or beg, or wrest of my esteem?
And who would answer me when next I stood?

Yet I return to war–still feinting, deft–
This battle to redeem, with nothing left.

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


Sonnet I: Thou Wilt

Wilt thou again experience this vain,
Delectable, self-referential ache–
This self-indulgence once again allow?
To thine shalt thou thy paradox awake

From sleep when hast thou found and felt this pain?
What timely melody, or importune,
Might interruption beg thee disavow?
But wake! Shout thy day! Though thy Words impugn

Themselves when once They leave thy lips; profane
Shall They be made by whips thou canst not quell;
The base shall scourge profane, an They endow
Them with thy Pearls, when swine, as swine, retell.

Though long remains the day thy Words to fade,
Sleep now, brief vigilance, not yet unmade.

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


Sonnet I: Empty

I wish, O poetess, had not thou gone,
‘Least in thy stead thy words so wish remained.
Where hast thou hence thy beauty borne away?
And whence hath run thy passion unconstrained?

For thee, in early morn I searched; the dawn
Had not yet broke, nor made the rain to slake;
But now, forever falling rain might stay,
And dawn, I fear, or joy, might never break.

To whence were hid thy words I goe anon,
Or thence wherein my heart thy words might tend.
So ever seek the light shall I of day;
Thy dawn to chase, this rain in hopes might end;

Await the dawn until return again
Thy words, and fondly beg thou wilt remain.

  • To Lady Day,
    With so fond regard
    I scarce can say

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