Poetry Workshop or… Mary Tries to Write a Sonnet

What happens when a non rhyming free-form poet tries to write a sonnet?  Why, we end up with a blog post of course.  So, in keeping with my anatomy of a story series here’s one I like to call… Mary tries to write a sonnet.

First, I have to decide on the rhyming scheme.  This is a personal choice since I have trouble with rhyming and that already puts me at a disadvantage. So… According to Wikipedia my choices are:

a-b-b-a, a-b-b-a, c-d-e-c-d-e
a-b-b-a, a-b-b-a, c-d-c-c-d-c
a-b-b-a, a-b-b-a, c-d-c-d-c-d
a-b-a-b, a-b-a-b, c-d-c-d-c-d (which are all variations of Italian sonnets)
or
a-b-a-b, c-d-c-d, e-f-e-f, g-g (the classic Shakespearean Sonnet)

The other hint they gave, which I’d never seen before is that the first set introduce the problem, and the second the resolution… So… maybe I do need a topic first.

The final piece of this puzzle:  it has to be wrapped up in Iambic Pentameter… or 5 sets of two syllables where the second syllable gets the accent or, to use a more recent reference than Shakespeare: 14 lines of CSI dialog….

And then, this happened:

I hold a heart with no sonnet in it
Ponder a world with no answers given
Try though I might I can’t make the words fit
This is the truth of the world I live in.

Whispers and wantings can’t make it happen
For truthfully spoken I’d own the theme
But wishing has brought me nothing but ken
And wanting has left me seeking a dream

I toss and I turn searching for rhythm
A rhyme-scheme that’s slowly driving me mad
My mind is breaking and causing a schism
Coming so close and not sounding so bad

Could it be that silliness is the key
To finding that which has eluded me?

(please note I left out a lot of the back and forth to get us to the basic form… Let’s just say… it involved counting and about an hour and a half of sitting here drinking way too much cappuccino.)

Now… there are parts I really like with this, ones that are forced and make no real sense and some random silliness thrown in so… let’s see what I get out of it.

I hold a heart with no sonnet in it  ( not a bad first line and it flows well)
Ponder a world with no answers given  (this really needs to be replaced)
Try though I might I can’t make the words fit (If I wanted to make a point with this line,  I could step out and add a lot more syllables since I’m saying I can’t make it fit)
This is the truth of the world I live in. (This line kind of stutters in the Iambic Pentameter portion of our content)

Whispers and wantings can’t make it happen (I *really* like this line)
For truthfully spoken I’d own the theme (I like the Iambic here, but it doesn’t quite fit)
But wishing has brought me nothing but ken (The line is great except for the last word)
And wanting has left me seeking a dream (I like the beginning but the last word needs something… like maybe changing the Theme/Dream pairing with something that fits better)

I toss and I turn searching for rhythm (not… too bad)
A rhyme-scheme that’s slowly driving me mad (With the rhyme scheme slowly driving me mad) (Okay.. that’s a better/tighter more Iambic line)
My mind is breaking and causing a schism (It may not fit… but I like it)
Coming so close and not sounding so bad (I should probably have something about falling short or fearing it)

Could it be that silliness is the key (let’s face it, silliness always works for me, but the rhythm’s still off.)
To finding that which has eluded me? (I like the message but the rhythm is slightly off)

So… we have something that fits the rhyme scheme and is almost but not quite in Iambic Pentameter … but I finally have a form to drape my words over and polish.

So… let’s try cleaning up the ones that are close that I like…

 

I hold a heart with no sonnet in it
Ponder a world where nothing is given
Iambic Pentameter ending with “it”.
This is the way of the world we live in.

Whispers and wantings can’t make it happen
For truthfully spoken all dreams are lies
And sometimes the sword gets more than the pen
wanting has left me with too many tries

I toss and I turn searching for measure  (changed to measure because it’s another word for rhythm in this case and its easier to rhyme.
With the rhyme scheme slowly driving me mad.
Something something a truth I can treasure
Poems so close I can see them silk clad

If only I could let go and write one
The brain-lock I suffer would fade in the sun.

A lot closer but there are still some stutter points where, if you read them out loud you can sense where they’re going wrong but it’s a lot closer I think.  So… lets add some polish and try and fill in the blanks…

With a few tweaks and line changes (and filling in the blanks), I have my first sonnet:

I hold a heart with no sonnet in it  As I said earlier, I really like this line.
Pondering worlds where nothing is given  By changing bits of wording I gave it a stronger Iambic feel
Poetry seeking I wish I could quit  I added words, and while the iambic pentameter and rhyme are there – it still doesn’t quite feel right
Or at least find a style I could live in.  Yes, I’m writing a poem about writing a poem… work with me here.

Whispers and wantings can’t make it happen  Again I really like this line and it stayed
For truthfully spoken all dreams are lies  This line was added/adapted last time and it is a really strong Iambic feel to it
And sometimes the sword gets more than the pen  I just like turning things on the pen being mightier than the sword… because sometimes… with some people that’s the way it works
wanting has left me with too many tries  A good Iambic feel but a weak line… I’ll need to work on it

I toss and I turn searching for measure  
With the rhyme scheme slowly driving me mad. The iambic is off in this because it wants to start with the first syllable… and that needs work
If only once the truth I could treasure  Like I said, its easier to rhyme with measure
I’d give it all for a sonnet silk clad  I’m still not sure I like this line or not.

If only a sonnet were like a song  This isn’t bad, but I want to say “more like a song” but that takes me over the Pentameter… but it might make a better line so… I might break the rules in favor of a better line
I swear it wouldn’t have taken so long  Still with the humor but… that’s me.

And we go back for another pass (about 4 days later)

I hold a heart with no sonnet in it  
Pondering worlds where nothing is given
Frantically searching for words that will fit This just fits better
Or at least find a form I can write in As does this… (and it’s closer to the truth)

Whispers and wantings can’t make it happen
For truthfully spoken all dreams are lies
While sometimes the sword gets more than the pen
I find the rhyme lost with too many tries The truth of the matter is the fact that you get so close to it, and counting that you do lose track of what you’re trying to do… besides, this line fits better.

I toss and I turn searching for measure
carefully counting until I’m half mad. Like I said – that original line was just… off and this one just… flows.
If only once the truth I could treasure
I’d find an iamb that isn’t half bad Again, truth in the poetry that makes it fit

If only a sonnet were more like a song  And yes, I decided to break form in favor of the better line.
I swear it wouldn’t have taken so long

Okay, so… still not quite right, but I think it is close enough that I can honestly say… I have written my first sonnet. Thereby making the subject of said sonnet null and void, which pleases me to no end.

So… the final version (for now)

Sonnet #1 – The Poem

I hold a heart with no sonnet in it  
Pondering worlds where nothing is given
Frantically searching for words that will fit 
Or at least find a form I can write in

Whispers and wantings can’t make it happen
For truthfully spoken all dreams are lies
While sometimes the sword gets more than the pen
the rhythm is lost with too many tries 

I toss and I turn searching for measure
Carefully counting until I’m half mad.
If only once the truth I could treasure
I’d find an iamb that isn’t half bad 

If only a sonnet were more like a song 
I swear it wouldn’t have taken so long

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About mtdecker

Just your average writer- which is to say, I have a full-time job developing and testing software.
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