Following on in September’s sonnet series, we now come to the Petrarchan sonnet which is quite different from the two previous sonnets I have posted. Whilst it is still written in iambic pentameter, the structure has changed. Rather than three quatrains and a couplet, we have one octave (eight line verse) and a sestet (six line verse). The rhyming structure for the octave is usually a-b-b-a-a-b-b-a. Typically, the sestet follows either c-d-e-c-d-e or c-d-c-d-c-d. For this poem, I have chosen the former.
I have something of a phobia when it comes to swimming. Being in water is distinctly uncomfortable and upsetting for me and I find deep water utterly terrifying and disturbing. I can trace this phobia back to a particular day in the year of 2012. I was travelling around Europe with some friends and we stopped in Slovenia near a stunning lake named Lake Bled. It really was one of the most beautiful places we had ever seen so we went for a swim.
A few metres out, the bed of the lake suddenly plummeted to a great depth. I found myself almost paralysed with fear then, without knowing what happened in between, I was crawling up the bank breathless and shaking. That afternoon, I stupidly agreed to go swimming again and had another panic attack when a very large fish brushed passed my legs. Later, back in my room, I had a vivid flashback and fell over. How dramatic! These experiences have been condensed for the sake of concision (severely lacking in this introduction) in this sonnet.
We swaggered through the bright Slovenian heat
Some days into our European break
From Castle Hostel, out towards the lake
The water gently lapping at our feet
Lured into depths by cunning and deceit
And glancing down, a terrible mistake
A giant fish, more than my mind could take
It pushed my legs then vanished into peat
Still screaming as I staggered up the bank
And trembling for hours after that
Not caring that my friends thought me insane
I pondered just how deep I nearly sank
Collapsed into a heap and, laying flat
I swore that I would never swim again