Tuesday, December 8, 2009

triple dog dare you

Edited again to add Myra's (my ... sort of.... what would you call yourself, Myra? My aunt-in-law?) sonnet (and oh be still my heart, how happy am I now??):

From festival to festival we yearn
To leave undone the many tasks that beckon.
Perhaps the earth, with every global turn
Grows weary of her solstice tasks, I reckon.

So if the leaves can put on different hues
When Autumn struts her stuff, I guess I can
Devise a new display, as I may choose
With green and gold and scarlet as my plan.

If stars can glow, as still the snowflake drifts
I'll add my contribution to the night.
If heaven can devise celestial gifts
I'll twinkle with a small domestic light.

So toss your list and fret not on your chores.
Here's wishing Love and Peace to you and yours!

Edited to add Jeff's response:

Sometimes when evening drapes it's fingers round
And squeezes thoughts and fears from someplace deep
When whispers of my spring cannot be found
And winter's snow so close now seems to creep
I watch my babies blankets rise and fall

And feel those fingers tighten harder still
As women's forms sleep soft on pillows tall
More beautiful than I could wish to build
Their faces speak of summers dreams and plans
The innocence of those living in spring
My winter's heart begins to understand
And slowly evenings fingers set me free
I lie back down contented in the fall
And winter doesn't seem too bad at all...

And now my happiness is complete....

My friend Jeff responded thus on Facebook to my challenge:

I can not write a sonnet
I will not wear a bonnet
Keep such dares inside your mouth
Before there's duct tape on it.

To which I respectfully reply to my dear friend, a talented photographer and father of some astonishingly lovely girls:

you can you can you can you can you can
a sonnet is not really difficult
please try and i will be your biggest fan
i do not fear it will lead to tumult.
indeed a sonnet could be just as fun
as taking photos of your lovely girls
okay well maybe not if there is sun,
or if their bonnets let peek raven curls.
but still and all a sonnet you can write
and i believe today is just the day
for such a form in you to take its flight.
duct tape is no defense from what i say
so put your bonnet on your pretty head
and send a sonnet 'ere you go to bed!

So if you're still not sure, here's a little tutorial I offered to another friend:

it's like a puzzle, because it has a really strict form. so first, there's the rhythm of the poem, which is written in what's called iambic pentameter. an iamb is what's called a "foot" in poetry, and it's two syllables, the first unstressed, the second stressed. so like "da DUM." pentameter just means there are five of these feet in each line.

da DUM da DUM da DUM da DUM da DUM

so that's the rhythm of a sonnet. all the lines are in iambic pentameter.

next, there's a really strict rhyme scheme. well, actually there are several, but the one i used in my sonnet is the easiest and most typical. it goes like this (with the letters representing the rhyme at the end of each line; i've put the rhymes in my sonnet here too):

A (dog)
B (child)
A (agog)
B (reviled)
C (fear)
D (foreigner)
C (pier)
D (in her)
E (magnifies)
F (now)
E (clearer eyes)
F (vow)
G (then)
G (amen)

so the fun of a sonnet is making it all fit in the strict form, but still saying something meaningful. here's a really famous one from shakespeare:

Shall I compare thee to a Summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And Summer's lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And oft' is his gold complexion dimm'd;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance or nature's changing course untrimm'd:
But thy eternal Summer shall not fade
Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest;
Nor shall Death brag thou wanderest in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou growest:

So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

cool huh? you should give it a try!

Triple dog dare ya, Jeff. I'm not afraid of your duct tape, but you should be afraid of the bonnet I'm going to make you wear if you don't send me a sonnet by the end of the day.


Kate Haas said...

Wow, those are some talented friends you've got there, Marta!

The one and only sonnet I wrote was in Dan Meerson's 16th Century Lit class. It was about the fun of gossiping, as I recall, and will not be remembered by the ages.

Julie's cranky sonnet is terrific!

Marta said...

kate, you can totally write a sonnet. if i can write a sonnet, you can. dare ya.