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.