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 XII: Patronage

Hast thou the heart to touch, or even look
Upon such art as this and give its due
An thou profess as fanciful, outgrew,
Though for this canvas rapture overtook;

But are such things professed forever true:
That hath these sculpted works thy nature shook;
And shall thy past refinement be forsook,
Though long thou from thine innocence withdrew?

Rare, priceless, as may not be seen again,
Wilt claim thou of thy prime: the best doth wane;
And of this art, so fast a friend may come,
Though whether ancient made or new, as fast.
Shalt thou most proper frame such art at last,
Or once more to thy patronage succumb?

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


Sonnet III: Secret

For this thou speak, though doubtful would suppose,
Nor hesitate obliquely to confess.
Regarding friendship still, thou might obsess
Beyond all compass; thrill-swept, as the throes

Wherewith to cloy thyself so rapt, express
Thine own determined joy.  But not oppose
Desire desire‘s object might impose.
Conspired and familiar, this excess:

Unnamed delight, and wicked to implore,
This: framed–as though for art, or to explore,
Or greater havoc know–it would appear
Unleashed, a glow one nary could ignore
In life’s brief curtain: coy, intent, sincere
Thou wouldst covert revere; but not adore.

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


Sonnet X: Fell

Fell to Love, fell to beauty, fell to lore,
Fell to dance, fell to music; fell to whose
Enthral, embrace, encapsulating muse
Who gave, who held, who sheltered me, who swore
This oath to any failing excuse.

And fast was sealed, unbreakable before
A moment passed, this oath to me adore–
Adore, allow, and compromise refuse
To grant, to sanction; not in war, nor peace,
Nor gravity, nor passion, nor caprice;

In every moment, promised to hold true;
In every second, took me deep into
A distant land where none could me pursue–
So taken by a grasp that cannot cease.

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


Sonnet II: Myth

Who sang and wrote and played, whose life resists
All separation, whether said or done;
Who greater knew the fortune he had won;
Who held beyond all else, and who resists:

Has in eternity as though begun
A world in each brief instant such as this,
Has sung beyond each instant; as abyss
Has come and gone, but knowing only one;

And knowing only one, has come and gone.
Particularly captive, though as drawn
Up–shielded from this active count–gone forth
With all temerity; surmounting with
Intrepid fervour, boldly to his north;
Has come and gone; yet leaving only myth.

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


Sonnet: Humility

Wherefore hath gone Humility, this Gift
That God hath given thee, that thou wouldst cast
So easily aside? Away so fast
His pearl hath been asunder set adrift

Therein; from thee this place so deep and vast
Must hide.  So precious, thou hast thrown so swift
Away His all-forgiving Shrift, ‘twould lift
Ye all together and astride.  Thou hast

His Spirit sore forsook, Thyatrian,
His word mistook, His boundless grace undone
And misapplied.  Who then art thou who tried
His Grace–Galatian, His Gifts replace–
When to and through the law His Son hath died?
Yet still shall He forgive and thee embrace!


Sonnet V: Thy Love

Thy love will heal all that which may be healed,
And nary harm the healed thou wouldst protect;
Although thy ranks are tempted to neglect
By conjurers the wounded thou wouldst shield.

For that thou know such legions incorrect
To ‘list; For that thy strength is thine; concealed
Amidst a century’s decline, revealed
This siege; so thou this web of lies suspect.

Thy legions racked and perished by the score,
Though others drawn and dead were legions more.
Yet still thy ranks would nurture love and joy,
That blameless thwart such frauds as bid thee hate:
And fiends who tempt thy power to destroy
Will chafe against thy power to create.

  • Dear RLK,
    Dare I bring thy
    Wordly spirit thence?

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