10-14, Part 1 [sonnet]

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Some say sonettos throw you in a cage,
imprison you, your back against the wall;
claiming they herald from a bygone age —
a time of courtly love ‘Neanderthal’.

Poetry, they feel, should always run free —
stream of consciousness, never bow the knee
to any structure pre-prepared, rigid,
or written verse is bound to be frigid.

I beg to differ with this point of view:
Liberated by the whole construction;
seizing syllables in self-eruption;
the words are given wings to latch onto.

Not finding it confining or extreme,
I love the formulaic ten fourteen!


[This is a sonnet about the sonnet – a wonderful 700 year-old verbal vehicle for romantic and passionate verse of many kinds. Generally, a sonnet has 14 lines – usually with an 8-line (2 x 4 line) statement followed by a 4-line statement and (in its English form) a final rhyming couplet – and 10 syllables on each line with various end-of-line rhyming patterns according to the subject. Fourteen lines. Ten syllables. The sonnet above is my response to the idea that it is a very rigid form which dampens creativity. There are not many sonnets about the sonnet so I thought I’d make this contribution. It is the first part of a two-part sonnet. Written at an altitude of 35,000 feet above Europe!]


© 2011, Alan Morrison

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