Sonnet Thoughts

Consider this iconoclastic view of the Elizabethan sonnet by American poet Billy Collins.

Sonnet: A Poem By Billy Collins

While we are at it, consider also this helpful links page:

Let me introduce a sonnet that may illustrate why I advocate use of the form, or more accurately why I am personally committed to the form.

A look at the sonnet below will immediately reveal that my commitment is not to emulate the Bard, if that could be done,

It’s a bit of a stretch to say that I
Am hardly attuned to our world of gore
But then to go and assume that, thereby
I’m admirable stretches even more
I’m as complicit as those with no qualms
About loving a smackdown or fighting
My sparse good deeds and penurious alms
Make few dents in the wrongs I’d be righting
What of the wars in which someone must serve
I’ve avoided them all without thinking
Sure I’m opposed, but I don’t have the nerve
The mere thought of assault leaves me blinking.
Falstaff lay down on the field and played dead
I play my war games inside of my head.

Iambic pentameter — well, the ten syllables, yes, mainly, but not always with the stress on every other one of them.

My rationalization for this is that this is the 2000’s and a poem should be able to be colloquial.

The first line of the second four is perfectly correct but the next has the ten syllables without the requisite alteration of stresses.

Part one deals with the shaky admirability of the person whose morals may seem impeccable. The next part suggests that moral culpability is not easily assessed. And the next gets down to the nitty gritty: Some serve, others do not.

I feel the last two lines do a reasonable job of achieving the distance that is the theme and admission of this sonnet poem.

Falstaff, that grand scourge of the soldier’s honor, whose cowardice is redolent of at least some implications of a gospel ethic, must play dead to achieve his survival aims. Nowadays, with the relative ease of avoiding direct service in war, what has the opponent of war to say?

If that opponent is me, he has to say that he not only happily avoids but that he is aware of the depths of hostility he possesses. Even though it is expressed entirely within.

In the event you are moved to write a sonnet, here is a key resource:

Rhymezone Rhyming Dictionary and Thesaurus

And should you author a sonnet poem, do not be afraid to submit it to the

Rhymezone Forum

where you can “share and critique writings, whether poetry or prose”. An excellent place to get started with a good chance of getting positive feedback without negative brickbats.


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