18.9.09

A love sonnet for a friday

I love sonnets; little balls of poetic gold they are. And they are quite ancient forms too, first created by Petrarch around 1235 or so, and then developed and evolved by poets ever since. Sonetto is the italian for 'room' or 'small song' or 'little sound' and that's a good description of this form with its endless possibilities for interior design!  In English the rhyme scheme was adapted and evolved, most notably by Shakespeare with his three quatrains and rhyming end couplet.  Lately the form has taken off yet again and Seamus Heaney's sonnets are glorious as are those by Edna St Vincent Millay, Kavanagh and Frost-check out his, 'Acquainted with the Night'. As Edward Hirsch and the divine Eavan Bolan write in their definitive book 'The Making of a Sonnet'-'Each poet individually comes up against the massive determinants of the form.'  These determinants of form are the ground where the muse is provoked out of her normal register/provoked into sometimes bringing down the fire from the heavens and manifesting some awful or wondrous truth.  Isn't that one of the things that poetry is for?  Elsewhere Hirsch alludes to the sonnet as 'a small vessel capable of plunging tremendous depths' and most beautifully as 'one of the enabling forms of human inwardness.'
This little song doesn't have any of those pretensions.  It was written as a bit of fun for my beloved; and that's also what poetry's for.

Here I've kept to a fourteen lined iambic pentameter, folded the piece into a quatrain, a middle couplet (where I've tried to stash the notorious sonnetic turn) and a concluding octet with an emphatic closing final two lines. Naturally this sonnet was written for my beloved Millie, to be recited by me, clad in tights and strumming a melancholy chord upon my lute in the lower garden (God!  What a thought!) while she attends to her toilette at her balcony. I hope you enjoy it.
Success to your work!



MILLIE

You’re more to me than earth and moon and all
the fancy treasures; pearls and solid gold
stashed in sparkling piles in vaulted halls.
Beside your beauty they’re just old and cold!

As rivers run their channels to the sea,
so time marches with a jaunty swing.

How hot the day was you turned thirty-three!
And, as a gift, I wrote this little thing.
It may not last like diamonds or gold;
It will not bring the critics to their knees!
Nor alter much the flowing of your day.
And what I truly feel cannot be told.
Like the wind that breathes on forest trees,
my love breathes in the spaces of your soul.

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