The Truth About Sonnets

The Truth About Sonnets

The sonnet has always created my greatest fear in poetic terms. I don’t know whether it’s linked to my aversion to all things Shakespearean; Shakespeare’s sonnets were my first introduction to the form. In a typical teenage tantrum, once I had taken a grave dislike to the Bard and all his words, that was that – until now.

Time and old age have found me softening to Old Will and the sonnet has started to appeal a little. In recent months, this interest has deepened after reading a number of excellent sonnets written by Nigel over at Voices Of A Hidden Self. Nigel has turned the sonnet into an art form and pushed me into overcoming my fears and attempting to write a sonnet. If you get a chance please visit his blog and read and listen to his wonderful poetry.

How then do you write a sonnet? According to Don Patterson in his book, 101 Sonnets, things are not as simple as they first appear. Poets have been writing sonnets for about 750 years and there have been many interpretations of the form, to the point that Don Patterson states, “what constitutes a true sonnet is the fact that no one can agree on anything but the fact it has fourteen lines.”

So, on that helpful note, here goes.

Sonnets force the mind to a life of grime,
Darkness falls whenever those thoughts appear
Of trying to get the buggers to rhyme,
Reduced to swimming against tides of fear.
Old Will, his poetry revolves and taunts
Each stanza eating, into day and dream.
One hundred and fifty-four tease and haunt,
Stripping each layer of one’s self esteem.
The sonnet box sits open and rusty,
Words lie sleeping upon a callous floor.
A Bard, he laughs at the page still empty,
His dark shadow filling poetry’s door.
                  But I was raised amongst tough mining stock.
                  The pen will bleed smashing, this sonnet rock.

32 Comments

Spot on Davy ‘boll*cks to iambic pentameter, if it actually exists !’ No sonnet ever died from lack of it !
(and thank you for your kind words)

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Bleed away, Davy. I enjoyed this and await more.

Liked by 2 people

Great work, Davy!
Really loved the sonnet, and I enjoyed reading about you taking on a challenge (and overcoming it!).

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I Loved this!!! BTW, I’m a huge a Fan of the Bard and I often used lines from his sonnets when teaching just to show how the right words strung together could form an everlasting image that could take your breath away, instantly bring tears, laughter, or any form of emotion. Sonnets! It was THE cool poetry of the day when Shakespeare walked the earth. And while I’m not comfortable writing them, reading them brings me great joy. And I certainly enjoyed yours! My all time favorite one by good Old Will has got to be 116. I can’t read it without crying. In fact I don’t think there is anything more lovely in the whole wide world.
SONNET 116

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no; it is an ever-fixed mark,
That looks on tempests, and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.
Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

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Amazing! What great writing! 🙂

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HA! Great sonnet!
AND great drawing, Davy!

I discovered Shakespeare when I was 13 years old and fell instantly in love with his words, stories, sonnets, etc.! 🙂 I devoured his writing…even read books that would help me decipher some of his word/phrases and their meanings.

HUGS!!! 🙂

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You’ve tamed the beastly sonnet already! Who knows, maybe Old Will enjoyed it as much as the rest of us 🙂 And I love your spirit.

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I am smiling….this is beautiful Davy..

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I loved this – made me chuckle. I love Shakespeare in all his forms and I think he would have appreciated this too.

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[…] Is Shakespeare overrated? Davy D offers interesting insight, join that conversation here or see The Truth About Sonnets […]

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