Ok, it’s been a while since Valentine’s day but I’m sticking with the theme for this month. Last week, I compared and contrasted a lady and a sea monster. This week, I’m comparing and contrasting a lady and a slice of bread. I’m nothing if not a hopeless romantic.
Shall I Compare Thee To A Slice Of Bread?
Shall I compare thee to a slice of bread?
Thou art far more compelling when I’m tired
Bread is embellished with filling or spread
But you need no such thing to be admired
Bread is too soon forgotten in it’s bag
Becomes a moldy mess if it’s left out
But you, I want to show my friends and brag
This is the girl I told you all about!
Bread is made more appealing when it’s toast
But you need never change for me at all
Between the two options, I like you most
Because you won’t turn sticky if you fall
But most of all, and this is not a sin
I’d never, ever put you in the bin
You’re like pasta. If you sit in my cupboard for too long, I’ll probably forget and replace you.
For the last of the September sonnets, I’d like to present you with a word sonnet. Word sonnets are the most unusual form of sonnet I’ve come across. They’re quite a recent creation and, rather than featuring fourteen lines written in iambic pentameter, they actually consist of only fourteen words. The aim is to try and pack all of the punch of another kind of sonnet into a much shorter space.
My attempt is probably not particularly inspiring or original but, I have to admit, I’m quite pleased with the concept and the execution of it.
Too Few Words
Not even this is sufficiently suffused with sayings to strengthen my sonnet
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
For the second sonnet of September, I am posting a Spenserian sonnet. These are very similar to Shakespearean sonnets like the one I posted last week in that they are written in iambic pentameter and consist of three quatrains (four lined verses) and a couplet (though the structure can, of course, be varied). The main difference is in the rhyme structure. Whereas a Shakespearean sonnet follows the structure a-b-a-b, c-d-c-d, e-f-e-f, g-g, a Spenserian sonnet follows the structure a-b-a-b, b-c-b-c, c-d-c-d, e-e. It’s all quite fascinating.
The story of this poem is a trip I made to an Indian restaurant in Tooting a few weeks ago with my friends. The food was delicious but all too plentiful. We left feeling rather bloated.
Just through the door my nostrils burned with spice
And beautiful aromas filled the air
A plan was made to order pilau rice
Samosas, bhajis, and king prawns to share
I tucked into my meal without a care
And drank a double stout to wash it down
We heartily agreed the price was fair
But, one by one, each smile became a frown
My chicken ceylon, beautiful and brown
Was quite enough, my hunger for to quell
But with each dish that came, we went to town
Then left the table feeling quite unwell
I knew as I stepped out that I would rue
Ending the meal with half a sag aloo
The curry consumer’s cushioned companion.
This month, I’m going to be posting different kinds of Sonnet. I’m started with what is perhaps the most well known form of sonnet, The English or Shakespearean Sonnet, so called because Shakespeare wrote a buttload of them. These are written in iambic pentameter and feature three quatrains (four line verses) followed by a couplet. The rhyme structure is traditionally a-b-a-b, c-d-c-d, e-f-e-f, g-g. The three quatrains explain the story or problem and the final couplet features the resolution or realisation.
I decided that a familiar sonnet required a familiar theme so this is about travelling home to London. It tells the story of a particularly stressful coach journey which was delayed by about four hours overall.
I reached the stop and shivered in the cold
Umbrella raised to fend off Summer show’rs
A dismal group, we stood there, young and old
In silence as the minutes turned to hours
Two hours late, the bus arrived in shame
And every seat took on a bitter bum
Some desperate souls lashed out for one to blame
But, finding no one, settled feeling glum
An hours break was mandated by law
Some wept and other raged against the night
Eventually, in disbelief we saw
Victoria bus station by moonlight
And with a smile no lateness could destroy
I entered London, my great home and joy
Ok, Yorkshire isn’t too far behind in my estimation
I was thinking a while ago about amputations. If somebody had to have a lot of amputations in one go e.g. Both arms, both legs, bit of the tummy or whatever, could it reach the point where there was more of them in the bin than there was ‘left’. What if you kept going? At what point would it become too far? What if you just removed everything? This poem explores the possibility of complete person amputation.
The Everything Amputee
I’m sorry ma’am, the surgery went wrong
I’d thought in 20 minutes we’d be done
But though his lungs were tough, his heart was strong
We sadly had to amputate your son
The legs and arms and bum and head went first
Attending surgeons did their very best
The chest and belly left were gently nursed
But then we had to amputate the rest
I realise you’re already in pain
And though I know this will be hard to hear
I feel compelled to tell it to you plain
For now your son is merely an idea
I actually save a fortune on clothing. I just wear a giant sock
A Medic’s Sonnet is written from the perspective of an undetermined medical professional. It tells how love can find us even in the most desperate of circumstances but there are certain times that it may not be appropriate to articulate those feelings. We should also be wary of seeing love where we should, in fact, see head trauma. Be warned, this poem is a wee bit graphic. And by a wee bit I mean really disgusting.
A Medic’s Sonnet
Of all the trauma patients I have known
Not one had touched my heart til I touched yours
A stinking mess of blood and flesh and bone
I rushed you through the automatic doors
You looked at me and softly threw up blood
Both food and flesh spewed out in great abound
But lovingly, I cleansed your wounds of mud
And stemmed the flow that sweetly stained the ground
You grabbed my wrist and shed a tear of love
A love that left you paralysed and blind
You delicately tore my sterile glove
With all the grace of Venus you flatlined
And in that little hospital in Hull
My heart broke as completely as your skull
Hey girl, you don’t need a stethoscope to hear my heart but I took my top off anyway