SDMB Poetry Challenge, Part 1: The Sonnet

Recently I wrote a sonnet in IMHO about my beloved new office chair. I have decided it would be sort of neat to see what sort of poems the SDMB could come up for certain types of poem, so why not start with sonnets?

A sonnet is a rhyming poem exactly 14 lines long. There are two major types of sonnets:

Shakespearian sonnets, which are organized into three quatrains and one rhyming pair, usually rhymed like ABAB CDCD EFEF GG. The three quatrains usually contain three distinct concepts, with the last two lines summing up the poem or delivering a climax. The rhymes can be mixed between the quatrains, too, like ABAB BCBC CDCD EE, which is a “Spenserian” sonnet.

Petrarchan sonnets, broken up into an eight-line octet (usually rhymed abbaabba) and a sextent (rhymed cde cde, or cdccdc, cdedce, or whatever.) The octet introduces a concept, and the sextet resolves it.

Sonnets are usually written in iambic pentameter, which is a mumbo-jumbo way of saying “Having ten syllables per line.”

So have at it; Write a sonnet. Don’t worry too much about getting 10 syllables per line or whatever, but what cool 14-line poem can you come up with for Dopers to admire?
Here is a sonnet as an example:

So oft have I invoked thee for my Muse,
And found such faire assistance in my verse,
As every Alien pen hath got my use,
And under thee their poesy disperse.
Thine eyes, that taught the dumb on high to sing,
And heavy ignorance aloft to flie,
Have added feathers to the learned’s wing,
And given grace a double majestie.
Yet be most proud of that which I compile,
Whose influence is thine and born of thee,
In others’works thou dost but mend the style
And arts with thy sweet graces graced be.
But thou art all my art, and dost advance
As high as learning my rude ignorance.

Any excuse to avoid work.

(iambic pentameter consists of five iambs, which is a metrical foot of an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed one. duh-DUH duh-DUH duh-DUH duh-DUH duh-DUH. In case you really wanted to be authentic and l33t.)

(I can’t believe I said l33t.)

My rage doth burn with fire of many suns,
Antacid holds no solace for my soul.
Though anger may derive from those called Huns,
To hell with that, I think I'm on a roll.
Ten syllables per line is not that hard,
For even if your brain is filled with goo,
A rhyming scheme is stolen from the Bard,
As Shakespeare did, so I will also do.
But wait! My anger still must not know bounds,
Forgetting all my rage would be a sin,
It's really not as a bad as it may sound,
I take my rage and shove it deep within.
  Provoke me, though, and you will not be missed,
  Step off, bitch, or I'll add you to THE LIST.

In his novel House of Sleep, Jonathan Coe had a poem called Somniloquy. When I read it, I loved the structure–faithfully a sonnet, yet generally abjuring the traditional line-breaks to get a prose-like flow. So I wrote one in imitation.

(All rights reserved, blah blah blah)

(I must mention here that, in addition to the fine definition provided by RickJay above, a Shakespearean sonnet’s final two lines will not only provide a climax but also usually repeat, to some extent or another, the first line or two.)

I am sorry isn’t there another form of a sonnet. The spanish one?: they also have fourteen verses but divided in two four verses stanzas and two three verses stanzas like:

Francisco Luis Bernárdez (Argentina, 1900-1978)
Si para recobrar lo recobrado
debí perder primero lo perdido,
si para conseguir lo conseguido
tuve que soportar lo soportado,

si para estar ahora enamorado
fue menester haber estado herido,
tengo por bien sufrido lo sufrido,
tengo por bien llorado lo llorado.

Porque después de todo he comprobado
que no se goza bien de lo gozado
sino después de haberlo padecido.

Porque después de todo he comprendido
por lo que el árbol tiene de florido
vive de lo que tiene sepultado.

It was a pretty good excuse to share that sonnet, it’s one of my favourites. Unfortunately my english isn’t good enough to translate it so you will only enjoy it if you speak Cervantes’s language

When I consider how my boredom grows
Enough to write up verses to a chair
(And how my Muse has left me–it’s not fair!)
Then my rage–eh, it sorta kinda glows[sup]1[/sup],
Don’t know no Huns[sup]2[/sup], just bureaucratic schmoes.
Ah well. They slice me with a thousand cuts,
My brain cells bleed while they can’t find their butts[sup]3[/sup].
Wait, hurry. Hurry, wait. This meeting blows
Chunks of greasy grimy gopher guts. Hear
When I speak to thee, soulless thief of time:
Go thou and felch thyself with rusty spork.
I could surely go for a nice cold beer.
Perhaps with oysters, or BBQ’d pork[sup]4[/sup]
And/or a large margarita with lime.

[sub]1. Yeah, it’s derivative–it’s an hommage, dammit.
2. By echoing lno’s poem, I show that I am participating in the great conversation of poetry.
3. A topic which has lately has been addressed, and as usual brilliantly, by lno.
4. That would be lno’s favorite food–and here’s a winkie just for lno so he will know I am not stalking him;).[/sub]

To what great heights will these brave fliers dare?
To cherish brotherhood o’er worldly things.
To risk one’s life in the Andean air,
Then tis too true: Only Angels Have Wings

But heroes come in many shapes and sizes:
As Bogie mounts the saddle with Bacall,
We learn of Marlowe’s gifts as well as vices.
His business you won’t like: the pay’s too small.

Now life with just my rifle and my pony
Is tough, although that Feathers makes me hot.
A flowerpot proved that she is no phony
Plus she’s got something Stumpy hasn’t got.

He set the bar for genre films much higher.
Now home I go to re-watch “Ball of Fire”.

John 14

I say be not afraid, but trust in me
for I have many rooms in my abode.
I go there to prepare a place for thee
and will return to walk thee down the road.
I am for all the way, the truth, the life.
And whosoever knoweth me may live
inside my Father’s kingdom free from strife,
a gift that from my love I freely give.
By this will all men know that thou art mine,
that thou dost love thy neighbor as thyself.
For thou and I and God are all divine
and not mere trinkets wasting on the shelf.
The Father chose to glorify the Son.
Believe me when I say that we are one.

Your matron is a thing of perfection
A subject with which you must certain agree
A treasure to add to my collection
You are incensed; she cares only for me.
No worldly objects catch her attention
No one thinks her devotion very odd
There can be no sown seeds of dissension
For she has found her one Almighty God.
In this matter you cannot e’en divine
Her cause, and it makes you very ratty
Give up your grumblings, for she is all mine
She has chosen a new “baby daddy.”
I never understand your itch to fight
But your mom WAS real good in bed last night.

I swear I’m not a geek.

Return to Castle Wolfenstein is fun,
I play it weekly with all of my friends,
It's theraputic to pick up a gun,
And shout "jawohl!" until the mission ends.
I do prefer to use the panzerfaust,
The click and whoosh and boom make me feel fine,
While those I frag occasion'ly do grouse,
To rhyme with 'faust' is a pleasure sublime.
"You panzer camping whore!" I hear a lot,
I shrug and gib them when I have the chance,
I'm good -- my ping is low, my score is not,
And when I win I do a little dance.
  The sniper has no power over me,
  My anti-tank miss'le will make him flee.

Oh, who am I kidding.

I don't know why I am attempting this
I haven't the talent to make it work
But, alas, I'll try to cause y'all some bliss.
If you don't like it, you can blow me, jerk.
I apologize for that rude outburst
But I haven't posted in quite some time
And for sonnets, this is my my very first
And I think that I would rather try mime.
I am at last on the final quatrain
This is the greatest sonnet ever, eh?
I don't like sonnets, they hurt my brain
You can give me a lim'rick any day
   This poem can be flushed down a urinal
   If you need me I'll be at [LiveJournal](

My heart beats like a bursa on the run,
Across the sweeping grasslands of Naboo.
I wait, breathless, for May 16 to come,
Bringing the premier of Episode II.

What mysteries will at last be made clear –
Is Darth Sideous really Palpatine?
How come some dead Jedi just disappear?
Will we at last see a Bothan on screen?

Obi-Wan’s skills will be put to the test,
Light saber duels will surely unfold.
Of the Jedi, one is clearly the best
Mace Windu! That cat is stone f—ing cold.

Only a geek takes a personal day
[sub](I’m still waiting for my boss’s OK)[/sub]

Kenmore Joe

Young Joe was handsome – yeah, he knew it, too,
The ladies don’t forget his lovely mug,
His fishnet t-shirt, nipples showing through,
His long hair wilder than a bug on drugs,
Or wonder where he got the money from
To act a player, spending like a pimp
Right there on Broadway where he used to come
To hustle out his own ass to the gimp.
“I run a school for fools,” they heard Joe say,
“Sometimes you have to educate these guys
That suckers suffer, motherfuckers pay.”
Joe, leveling the difference, put him wise.
The ladies all recalled Joe’s handsome face,
And the prosecution rested on his case.