Sonnet #4

For NaPoWriMo/GloPoWriMo 2016 – Day 23 (to prompt)
A little late maybe but just in time (it’s now 23h30 here in South Africa)
The prompt is a challenge to write a sonnet (see below).


I came across you on that cold, cold night,
So graceful, bold, yet something so not right.
It seemed as if your heart was on your sleeve,
Yet reaching out, it moved, began to cleave.
Enigma fast and strong yet oh so bright,
You carry in your soul a certain light,
Attracted, like a moth unto a flame,
I walked in close as you called out my name,
Then fell into your trap, the spiders web,
And felt the power within me start to ebb.
I really was a sight then to behold,
I fumbled for myself and tried to hold,
And as I stepped so close within your grasp
The sight I thought your heart was but a clasp.


© Copyright Robin McShane


The Prompt: “Today, I challenge you to write a sonnet. Traditionally, sonnets are 14-line poems, with ten syllables per line, written in iambs (i.e., with a meter in which an unstressed syllable is followed by one stressed syllable, and so on). There are several traditional rhyme schemes, including the Petrarchan, Spenserian, and Shakespearean sonnets. But beyond the strictures of form, sonnets usually pose a question of a sort, explore the ideas raised by the question, and then come to a conclusion. In a way, they are essays written in verse! This means you can write a “sonnet” that doesn’t have meet all of the traditional formal elements, but still functions as a mini-essay of a sort. The main point is to keep your poem tight, not rangy, and to use the shorter confines of the form to fuel the poem’s energy. As Wordsworth put it, in a very formal sonnet indeed, “Nuns fret not at their convent’s narrow room.” Happy writing!”


4 comments on “Sonnet #4

  1. Nice work, Rob. You’ve not only made the form look easy, but added internal alliteration and assonance to the obligatory end-rhyme.

    I differ with the definition of a sonnet as being measured in syllables per line, since stresses, and not syllables are the chief metric of poetry in English. But I know it’s all the rage, now, to count syllables. Since the word “sonnet” comes from the Italian, meaning “little song” I also think the sound/lyrical quality is more important than any quality of “essay” it might have. I does have a proposition and a “turn”—as yours so neatly manifests, above, but not enough room for an essay, really. So many of the most famous sonnets were written about love, and here is yours, too, joining the chorus. You can be proud!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow Cynthia! Thank you very much for this comment – I’m a little ‘blown away’! 🙂
      I so agree with your take on the stresses vs syllables and, for me, it ties in with the lyrical quality. The musician in me often gets lost trying to fit the syllables to the rhythm when writing (and sometimes reading!) sonnets! I was also intrigued by the ‘essay’ reference of the prompt.
      So pleased you liked this and thank you again for such a full, explanatory comment! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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