Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Such Structure As The Sonnet

That the sonnet is still a fitting vehicle for people's poetic urges is well demonstrated by the following. And what variety of poetic urges we find here! The rules and structure of the sonnet did not hamper any of these voices. The whole goal of this experiment is perfectly summed up in a comment that Teri made when she sent me her sonnet.

"Such structure as the sonnet is...well...freeing."

A Transplant's Sonnet
by Teri Field

For what bright cause did I from you depart,
Whose people are pacific, strands are fair?

What vision saw I then that moved my heart,
To wander far and travel unaware
Of how disparate two tall trees can be?
This hearty Hemlock grows without the sun,
Defiant, e'en to God won't bend the knee!
His coldness bears the cold, and chill'd I run
Toward Eucalyptus scent stored in my mind;
In slender veins run healing hope where rot
Will not approach and drought will stumble blind.
This Tree I'll transplant here in my small plot

And while it shiv'ring braves with me the cold
We'll die to live and turn this green to gold.

Carving The Thanksgiving Turkeyan English Sonnet
by dt.haase

Here I’m in the celebration of life;
counting out syllables for this sonnet,
thinking this is cutting like a sharp knife
at the bone, I hack to feast upon it.

As I open yet another quatrain,
peeling back the muscle of memories,
definitely turning against the grain,
yet seeing the juices flowing with ease,

the stomach to palate lets out a groan,
as hunger precedes a person enthralled,
a poetic bird roasted to atone,
with closing couplet to toast a resolve:

What revelation in all thanksgiving
kindled through an appetite for living.

The Coming Birth
by Doug P. Baker

With half my life behind me I begin
To feel myself alive in earth's warm womb.
I long to go and live within my tomb
For the tomb, I know, hides larger life within.
This womb so tight that patience seems a sin;
Is life's distress the footstep of my Groom?
As here in life close walls enclose my room,
I foetally fight, large life with him to win.

Yet fool I am to think that I by pains
Of my own labor shall come to light and life;
The labor pains another bears; remains
For me to grow until he calls me "wife."
What knew I in the womb of coming birth?
No more know I now, though I sense its worth.

Molecular Mood: A Sonnet
by Hans Ostrom

Molecular in nature were the two,
For they were human, and therefore made
Of carbon, protein, fat--the usual stew
Of which stuff in this matter, fact, is said
By scientists to be composed. But how
Does one molecular composite reach
The point at which it loves, the point called Now
Wherein one body-mind, by means of speech,
Decides and then declares this thing called Love,
A concept generated by uncounted other
Molecular composites, the stuff of
Which Civilization's made? Whatever.
The she loves him; the he loves her. Their cells
Conspire to cast reciprocating spells.

"Psalm 1"
by Joe Tremblay

Happy is he who does not lend an ear
to wicked men, but rather takes delight
to think upon the law of God each night
and day. In pride the sinners sit and sneer,
not knowing that this man of hope grows near
to God, like tree roots reach to the invite
of water running from the source; no blight
will strike its leaves, and fruit will bear each year.

Not so, the wicked, not so! These men can
not stand in company with all the just;
but fitting judgment blows away their bloom
of life, now dried, corrupted, into dust.
The Lord God guards the path of the just man;
the wicked path will always lead to doom.

Sonnet for a Sister
by Rosa Edholm

Powerful as the wings of the eagle,
Steadfast as the heavenly stars;
I hear your voice in the songs of the hills,
Resonating near me, however far.

Your perished body cannot dim your soul;
Day by day an answer I have sought,
I now let myself behold the truth, whole:
So that I could live, Sister you could not.

Still, your beautiful spirit surrounds me,
Bringing my murmured prayers up through the skies;
You clear my clouded eyes that I might see,
And again from the ashes I shall rise.

I am restored by the Love that is you
As a blade of grass drinks the morning dew.


Teri said...

These are wonderfully fun! I wish I didn't have such a busy morning planned or I'd savour each one. I've only had a chance to skim (darnit) but I'll get to enjoy them more later. Guests are on the way...

I'd love to make a quick comment that I loved the womb/tomb imagery and the Molecular "structure"- NICE!...wish I had time to write more!


Rosa said...

Oops! I just realized that I am missing the last two lines of my sonnet... I guess that comes of procrastination.

If I'm hit with a sudden stroke of genius, I'll email you the last two lines. Otherwise, I can take a modernist approach to poetry and keep the 12. =)

Doug P. Baker said...

Dear all,

Let me take this opportunity to thank those who sent in sonnets for this post. I was honestly amazed at how excellent the sonnets were that you all sent in. I'm honored that you let me post them!

Devika said...

i loved the post...the title, seems something i had been looking for...
will be getting back by evening to read...
now already at work...and this needs time,

Thank you

Teri said...

Molecular Mood is brilliant. And delightful.

Angie Ledbetter said...

A nice morning's reading. Thank you.

Devika said...

Hi Doug,

this is interesting ..the structure and the themes as well..:-)

i do feel sonnet is freeing...
gives me a bit of confidence..

just to list the lines that i loved reading again and again..

"We'll die to live and turn this green to gold -- i got stuck here; very promising...

"What revelation in all thanksgiving kindled through an appetite for living." --- "appetite for living" experienced it as recently as yesterday

"Their cells Conspire to cast reciprocating spells" -- made me happens with me, i feel..

The Coming birth and Psalm 1"
-- relished in entirity

"I am restored by the Love that is you
As a blade of grass drinks the morning dew" -- beautifully poetic i felt..

i think the sonnet is workable, may be a little more reading and understanding...

Worthy read, Doug!
thank you so much

a thanks to Teri too..

Rosa said...


Well done! I love the metaphorical approach you use. =)

cgull said...

Nice poems, glad to see such good poetry. Well done.

Tohru Lorenzo said...

Hi! Thank you for your comment on my blog. I asked about Samichlaus at a local liquor store. The owner said that there used to be a customer who bought a bunch of them every year. He was keeping some of them for years later. They age in the bottles, I heard. (Very unusualy for lager, isn't it?) Samichlaus is now brewed in Austria by a Swiss brew master although it was brewed in Switzerland for a long time as you said. I'll look for a bottle in the near future. Was it brewed by Trappist monks before? Trappist monastries in Belgium always make wonderful beers.

You keep a nice blog here! I'll come and read it from time to time. You know, the sonnet was the form of English poetry that first interested me in poems. I usually read 20th-century American poems these days, though.... It is not a poem, but if I say that I love Esme by J.D. Salinger, you may get some idea what kind of literature I like.

It is very pleasant to get to know someone interested in poetry and theology even on the Net. Take care.


Doug P. Baker said...

Thank you all for your comments! And thanks especially to the sonneteers whose contributions made this post a success! I am very grateful to you all for sending in such excellent work!

Angie, I'm honored that you stopped by!

Devika, I am sorry, I've been terribly busy, but I will soon spend some quality time perusing your poems. I'll get back to you. I promise (and not like politicians promise).

Tohru, glad to see you here. So the first poetry you loved was sonnets? Interesting. You are Japanese, no? I am curious about what role haiku plays in current Japanese culture and education. I find Basho, Issa and Buson to be incredible poets! even in translation. But you say that you first loved English sonnets. I find that intriguing. But then I don't know your history or your education. Where did you grow up?

Devika said...

Hi Doug!

up for some work...its early morning here..around 3.30am...

Please feel free to take your time, my dear friend...
me and my blogs will stay on...till their destined time :-)

but if the real me may ask: is there a time in future for the mortal us?? politicians or otherwise ;-))

just kidding, Doug..take your time..and if i kind of philosophise again --if it's to die before..thats it! :-)

nice to talk with you so early in the morning..


Doug P. Baker said...

So, Devika, by my calculations that means there are ten hours between us. And you are up!

I thought I was the only one who would stay up day and night to write.

We will know if there is a future if/when we see it. If we see it we will still wonder if there is a future. If we don't see it, we will stop wondering.

But, if there is one, I will (because I want to and it is high on my list of priorities) spend some time enjoying your poems.

Talk to you soon.

Devika said...

Yeah Doug, you have equally intensive people across the globe -- after all we share the same sun and moon :-)

Now, this latter part of your reply interests me more, much more..

I thought i was one of the rare ones who spoke like that..nice to have found a friend who does that...

i have found a few other too -- Borut, Lorraine -- they are at Andrew's and mine...

Infact i was wondering, what ou would think of me if you be at my latest ones at Certain Kind and read the comments as well..i show all kinds of faces there :-)

a new one is in the making for Certain Kind...but somehow the flow isn't on...need to wait a bit more may be...

thank you again for that promise..
but take your time, i mean it :-)