April 11, 2011

Monday Mess: Who Put A Sonnet In My WIP?

So I'm working on this new project that has invaded my brain space and I'm writing along, minding my character's business, and BLAM, she needs a sonnet.

A. SONNET.

I know, right?
But I don't question The Muse.

So I Google "how to write a sonnet" and I get Sonnet Writing For Dummies or something like that. Click here if you'd like to see for yourself. If not, these are the bones of the idea:

  • It must consist of 14 lines.
  • It must be written in iambic pentameter (duh-DUH-duh-DUH-duh-DUH-duh-DUH-duh-DUH). Every line.
  • It must be written in one of various standard rhyme schemes, like the following Shakespearean scheme:
A
B
A
B
C
D
C
D
E
F
E
F
      G
      G
Every A rhymes with every A, every B rhymes with every B, and so forth. This one is made up of three quatrains (four consecutive lines of verse that make up a stanza) and one couplet (two consecutive rhyming lines of verse). Shakespeare was famous for his rhyming couplets. Like I have to tell you.

But that's not all, NOOOO that's not all. The sonnet has to be built up. The main idea is presented, often as a metaphor, pondered, and then built into an argument. Complications, twists, conflicts are thrown in, tearing down the initial idea. And then, the rhyming couplet comes to the rescue. These last two lines are meant to swoop in and save the day, like a ray of hope. They might introduce a new line of thinking, or prove the complications as nothing to despair over. Yay.

My answer to the question, "If you could have any superpower, what would it be?" has always been Tirelessness. Not as in cars, but as in having boundless energy. It's a bird, it's a plane, no! It's Indefatigable!
I'd also wear jammies like this. Because even though I'd never have to sleep, I still like to wear jammies.

But if I were to have a second choice, I think I would be Rhyming Couplet. Coming in at the point of hopelessness and proving the villain wrong. Yup.
In your face, Misery and Woe.

But I digress. Would you like to read my sonnet? I'm not going to say much about it, except it's the protagonist's favorite, and she doesn't know why, exactly. But she will. *smiles mysteriously*

Ahem. I give you Sonnet 11, and a little more, from Silkener, by Krista Lynne Jensen.


What hath removed itself will come again.
‘Tis promised in the arms of Heaven’s clocks.
Tho in the throes of dust you may have been,
Yet counted ‘midst the sweet beloved flocks.
What love is this to crumble fixed stone?
And satisfy love’s yearning for return?
Nay, you cannot see its flesh and bone,
Nor feel love’s truth and light within you burn.
For man is hopeless, cruel as he is blind,
And taken in by power, greed, and lust.
A selfish beast can lure with truths unkind,
Will offer falsehoods, honeyed in their crust.
      And yet would love’s true light taste sweeter still
      Through dust and blood, returned by Hope’s pure will!
This particular sonnet always left Jessamyn a bit dizzy. She had no idea who it was by, as it was accredited to “Love’s Last Hope”, which she found a touch melodramatic. She pictured some romantically tortured monk sitting in his dimly lit cell, furiously writing of his forsaken lover.

TA DA!
I have to admit, it was kind of fun to write.

Why not try writing a sonnet of your own? Sonnets For Dummies suggests writing a sonnet does all the following:
  • Shows you how much you can pack into a short form.
  • Gives you practice with rhyme, meter, structure, metaphor, and argument.
  • Connects you with one of the oldest traditions in English poetry — one still vital today.
Have you ever written a sonnet? Do you have a favorite?

4 comments:

Rebecca said...

Beautifully done!

I've never written a sonnet, but this makes me want to try!

Carrie Dair said...

Beautiful composition!!!!!! And I have indeed written a sonnet and dedicated it to my husband. :) Seemed only fair since he came home from work one day having memorized one of Shakespeare's sonnets in order to recite it to me. Ahhhhhh...

This post is so well timed, having just moved into the sonnets in my Shakespeare class. I've tackled them during one other semester, but this time I get to memorize one and recite it in class!!! Oh boy...maybe I ought to ask my husband for tips!!

Krista said...

Rebecca, I had never written one before, either. I tried to remember if I'd ever done this in school, but I don't think so!

Thank you, Carrie. I love that your husband memorized one for you! Fun about the timing. Good luck with your assignment!

Christy said...

That is a beautiful sonnet. Especially for your first! I will have to try one.

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