General Poetry posted April 2, 2016 Chapters:  ...15 16 -17- 18... 

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Petrarchan Crown of Sonnets

A chapter in the book 2016

I'm But An Old Man

by mountainwriter49

Please read author notes first.

I’m But An Old Man

I’m but an old man, worn and tired tonight
from what I’ve heard, all seems in disarray.
I sip my bourbon and sigh in dismay
at gross display of grievous Fascist blight
that now descends upon our lives with fright.
The rhetoric is strong and casts harsh ways
that’s filled with fear and hate; life’s gone astray.
‘Tis though humanity has lost its sight.
Tonight, my love, I’ll drown myself in tears
and Bourbon’s kiss to wash away the sounds
of demagogues that preach false prophet’s lies.
But I remember, darling, those lost years
when we would dance, and you would wear frayed gowns.           
Despite my tears, I focused on your eyes.
Despite my tears, I focused on your eyes
as our world fell apart.  We fled the scourge
and wandered to where hope and fate converged;
to where we might find peace. I agonized
at how our kind and kin were so despised.
Their evil and horrendous plans to purge
us from this Earth and life,  and thus submerged
to dust and nothingness.  All was awry. 
My dear, please pour me yet another glass
so I might numb my nerves, yet stimulate
my mind to write my thoughts of current days.
You soothe my heart as my mind now contrasts
the horrors of  our youth—now at our gate
again.  My love, we shan’t become its prey.
Again, my love, we shan’t become its prey
because we know how its dank darkness dawns.
Another glass, before my thoughts are gone,
mon cher, because I’ve much to write—to say.
I thought that I would never see the day
when demagogues would rise again and spawn
such hatred and intolerance.  We’re pawns
in horrid, sordid games of fear they play.
“Oh yes,” you sigh, before you kiss my cheek,
reminding me that history repeats
itself again—and thus again…again…
It always starts with lies and words oblique
designed to bolster evil plans’ deceit.
Those who resisted were defiled, detained.
Those who resisted were defiled, detained,
because new laws had stripped away our rights.
We lost our shops, our jobs, our homes—our plight
was visible to all, but yet most feigned
false empathy, or even worse…disdain.
And as the months became long years, our fright
increased as we decreased—our deaths a blight
upon the men at whose hands Jews were slain.
“Oh, Benja, please breathe,” you plead, “—calm your mind;
another glass of Jane will soothe your nerves.
Two candidates would now patrol our streets
and have us watched again.  We’ll not resign
ourselves to live in fear and lose our verve.
We will defeat their evil plans’ design.”
“We will defeat their evil plans’ design
because we understand democracy.
They stoke fears’ fires to scorch sweet liberty’s
esprit while all the while they seek supine
repose from those whose votes they can entwine
with rhetoric and meaningless decrees.
We’ll push their backs to evil’s apogee,
thus making their egregious threats benign.”
Oh, Elsa, love of my long, well blessed life,
your words so soothe my heart with joy and fill
my pen with flowing ink—my angst surrenders,
to courage and shall rise above this strife.
Be damned! I say, to Trump-a-tears and chilled
tea from their sordid party’s chief contenders.
Tea from their sordid party’s chief contenders,
gives me distress, but never hopelessness.
Another glass, my dear, as I caress
the ancient words that Jefferson conferred
upon the nation when the rift occurred
with England in those years of harsh duress.
‘Twas then when freedom flowed and flowered best
within the veins of man—their eyes not blurred
to sacrifices they must make to win
sweet liberty’s ascent o’er tyranny.
Oh yes, my dear, we are the immigrants,
new patriots, and we will fight again,
repulsing dark repression’s yoke.  They’ll see
we’ll make the Fascist bastards impotent!
We’ll make the Fascist bastards impotent
because, my dearest love, we have no choice.
They wage the politics of fear with voices
piercing safety’s calm respite and content.
They feed upon chaotic fear’s ascent
that’s caused by evil rhetoric ‘s loud noise.
They play us ‘gainst each other and rejoice
as their strength speeds sweet liberty’s descent.
Bring me a double wisp of bourbon, Dear,
as I complete my thoughts for my reply
designed to bring all others to the light.
We are Americans and must cast fears
away and stand e’er brave. My love…I sigh—
I’m but an old man, worn and tired tonight…

2 April 2016

Poem of the Month contest entry


POETIC FORM: Petrarchan Crown of Sonnets

The Petrarchan Crown of Sonnets is based on a poetic form dating to the 1400s in Italy and in England during the 1500s. The Crown consists of seven sonnets linked by a common idea. Each sonnet explores a different concept of the idea. The last line of sonnet 1 forms the beginning line of sonnet 2, and so forth until the last line of sonnet 7 forms the beginning line of sonnet 1. Thus, the circle is completed and the Crown fully scribed.

The Petrarchan sonnet form is named for its creator, Francesco Petrarch, a Florentine poet and philosopher (1304-1374). The Petrarchan sonnet form consist of two parts. The first part is the octave which states the argument, statement or problem. The second part is the sestet which responds to the octave. There is no closing couplet. Thus, the Petrarchan sonnet form is well suited for meditative and contemplative statements on a wide variety of subjects.

The Petrarchan sonnet is known for its complex rhyme format, containing five rhymes throughout the 14 line structure. Italian is a rhyme-rich language that easily supports such rhyme patterns. Compare this to the English (Shakesperean) sonnet which has seven rhymes within its 14 line structure. Thus, when written in English, one must expect to see both true and proximate (slant) rhymes in order to make the rhyme patterns work. The octave's rhyme pattern is abbaabba while the sestet has the flexibility of cdecde,; or cdcdcd, etc. However, with that said, the last two lines should never be a mono-rhyme, i.e., cc, as is the case with the Shakespearean sonnet's closing couplet.


While this Crown is written in iambic pentameter, I have taken the liberty to utilize metrical substitution in several lines in order to achieve dramatic effect. Metrical substitution, including feminine verse, is considered appropriate in long iambic poetic pieces. I have also used proximate (slant) rhymes.


Jane = Widow Jane, a Hudson Valley craft bourbon


I've become increasingly distressed at the state of American politics, particularly as it relates to Presidential politics. I see a most unsettling undercurrent in the far right that sends chills down my spine. As a student of history and politics, I am well aware how easily the "realm of stability and democracy" can be forfeited by those who wage the weapons of fear and rhetoric to gain control. I've drawn upon historical precedent to help drive my point home in this Crown.

Thank you for reading my poetry.
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