General Poetry posted March 11, 2014


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Not for the faint-hearted

On Writing a Crown of Heroic Sonnets

by tfawcus

I

Release my body now and set it free.
The time has come for me to fill the breach
And quit this drowning warmth. Security
Can hold us captive and enslave, so reach
Inside these swirling mists of mystery
And pull me out. But heed! That lusty screech
Defines the start of this, a history
I tell whilst still I have the gift of speech.

So hold me upside down and give a whack
To fill my fragile lungs with woes to come.
Let loving arms assuage your rude attack
Upon this child. At first I suck my thumb,
Then find her breast - innate response to lack
Of food - then suck for milk with toothless gum.
She soothes my brow and rubs my tiny back
While I consider what I shall become.

But though I make that claim, I must be frank,
My wrinkled mind is largely still a blank.

II

My wrinkled mind is largely still a blank
But quickly fills with all that I can clutch.
Whatever senses offered, so I drank
To quench my thirst to know the such-and-such
Of life. I had no fear and never shrank
From seeking knowledge, sometimes overmuch.
New learning would become a narrow plank
To build a bridge. This knowing was the crutch

With which I was equipped to limp through life.
What gaps appeared, imagination filled.
I rode white horses into mortal strife,
In magic lore I was both wise and skilled,
I led my men to strains of drum and fife
And what I feared I faced and then I killed.
I ruled my world, a king whose realms were rife
With demons I dispatched, each quest fulfilled.

But these are only dreams for I am lame,
My life is quite a diff'rent sort of game.

III

My life is quite a diff'rent sort of game,
For I was schooled in fear and learnt to hate
Myself and there, in place of love, was blame.
I ran the gauntlet of the schoolyard gate
Where insults wounded me with deadly aim.
I was an easy target, overweight,
And soon I spiralled down beyond reclaim.
The sweetest things in life were what I ate.

I fell into my teenage years enthused
To write the mixed up sentence of my mind,
I searched for meaning, trapped and quite confused,
A worthless soul, ill-fitted, ill-designed
For deeds that heroes did in dreams; bemused
But then I saw a dragon clear defined.
With sulphur smell, a maiden he abused.
Enraged, I blushed to see him so unkind

And rushed to save the day. I was so wild
The bully backed away. The goddess smiled.

IV

The bully backed away. The goddess smiled
On me with tears that made my ego grow.
I was entranced, in love, inflamed, beguiled
And now a man. At least, she thought me so.
Soon lists of loving kindness were compiled
We spooned with sonnets, villanelles, rondeaux
In time infatuation spawned this child
And with this child I too began to grow

Now mating with one's muse is not a crime
And outcomes if they're good may wear a crown.
Heroic sonnets do take stacks of time
Unless you have a muse to smooth your frown.
The words you thought were verging on sublime
Just never fit the form when written down.
The rigours of the rhythm and the rhyme
Take incoherent tumbles like a clown.

Oh, Yeltel, this is only number four!
I hardly dare go on, in case I bore.

V

I hardly dare go on, in case I bore
For looking through the listings I can see
Rondeno's Madame Caillaux is for sure
A gripping tale, a murd'ress going free,
And Piper's Fancy's graphic gender tour
That's written from the heart, a heartfelt plea.
This was the seven ages till I saw
Yeltel's Vicissitudes had beaten me.

The others still not writ will mesmerise,
I have no doubt. Their pens are poised to ink
Their wit and wisdom and draw forth our sighs.
Meantime my muse and I just sit and think
Although we are in love we are not wise.
What ho! I could have sworn I saw her wink.
Dear reader, please be kind, avert your eyes
For poetry dictates that we must sink

Into each other's willing arms and kiss
For inspiration's to be found in bliss.

VI

For inspiration's to be found in bliss.
I also seek in part to entertain.
Like all old men, I sometimes reminisce,
A fault we have. I know I should abstain.
We point out things that seem to be amiss,
We treasure life and drink it like champagne,
We tread upon the edge of life's abyss,
To take our readers there - and back again.

These are the things the lowly poet's for,
A window on the world for those with time
To think. Sometimes we lead you through a door
To worlds that lie beyond the ones we rhyme,
To worlds we wake and cast upon your shore.
When I have found some poet's words sublime
They've changed the way I looked at life before
When lost in all the dross of worldly grime.

So what of this? The crown we seek to wear?
Its gems do only shine to take you there.

VII

Its gems do only shine to take you there
When you appreciate their glowing light.
The switch is in your mind. It's your affair.
I set the gems but cannot give you sight.
My task is done, I only wished to share
A spark that lies within, a spark so bright
That verse can scarce commune its awful glare
In words that fill my dreams but come out trite.

I launch them into flight with best intent
With wings that blur like those of humming birds
Who strive to stay until the nectar's spent.
Their music floats so sad in minor thirds,
Its notes fall into hell though heaven sent.
When I shall shift this mortal coil that girds
My mind, I shall achieve accomplishment.
I am the poem's self, that's locked in words

Inside these swirling mists of mystery.
Release my body now and set it free.


A Crown of Heroic Sonnets contest entry

Recognized


The Crown of heroic sonnets is a sequence of seven heroic sonnets usually addressed to one person. It is concerned with a single theme and each sonnet explores a different aspect of the theme and is linked to the preceding and succeeding sonnets by repeating the final line of the preceding sonnet as its first line and by having its final line be the first line of the succeeding sonnet.

The first line of the first sonnet is repeated as the final line of the final sonnet thereby bringing the sequence to a close.

A Heroic Sonnet is an iambic pentameter based poem that adds a heroic couplet to either two Sicilian octave stanzas or four Sicilian quatrain stanzas. In other words, it's eighteen lines of iambic pentameter broken into three or five parts with the last part being a couplet. The rhyme scheme has usually been a,b,a,b,a,b,a,b - c,d,c,d,c,d,c,d - e,e OR a,b,a,b - c,d,c,d - e,f,e,f - g,h,g,h - i,i.


This vector image of a crown was created with Inkscape. (Coat_of_Arms_of_England_(1509-1554).svg) [CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)
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