I am, however, addicted to sonnets. And I've been itching lately to write poetry again, after six years clean and sober. I actually wrote a haiku the other day...
Perhaps it's time to remind myself why I'm not a poet, again.
The Oven Bird
There is a singer everyone has heard,
Loud, a mid-summer and a mid-wood bird,
Who makes the solid tree trunks sound again.
He says that leaves are old and that for flowers
Mid-summer is to spring as one to ten.
He says the early petal-fall is past
When pear and cherry bloom went down in the showers
On sunny days a moment overcast;
And comes that other fall we name the fall.
He says the highway dust is over all.
The bird wouild cease and be as other birds
But that he knows in singing not to sing.
The question that he frames in all but words
Is what to make of a diminished thing.
This level reach of blue is not my sea;
Here are sweet waters, pretty in the sun,
Whose quiet ripples meet obediently
A marked and measured line, one after one.
This is no sea of mine, that humbly laves
Untroubled sands, spread glittering and warm.
I have a need of wilder, crueler waves;
They sicken of the calm, who knew the storm.
So let a love beat over me again,
Loosing its million desperate breakers wide;
Sudden and terrible to rise and wane;
Roaring the heavens apart; a reckless tide
That casts upon the heart, as it recedes,
Splinters and spars and dripping, salty weeds.
Sonnet: Love Is Not All
Edna St. Vincent Millay
Love is not all: It is not meat nor drink
Nor slumber nor a roof against the rain,
Nor yet a floating spar to men that sink
and rise and sink and rise and sink again.
Love cannot fill the thickened lung with breath
Nor clean the blood, nor set the fractured bone;
Yet many a man is making friends with death
even as I speak, for lack of love alone.
It well may be that in a difficult hour,
pinned down by need and moaning for release
or nagged by want past resolution's power,
I might be driven to sell your love for peace,
Or trade the memory of this night for food.
It may well be. I do not think I would.
Dammit. I still have the urge to write poetry.
Touchstone: When a man’s verses cannot be understood, nor a man’s good wit seconded with the forward child Understanding, it strikes a man more dead than a great reckoning in a little room. Truly, I would the gods had made thee poetical.
Audrey: I do not know what ‘poetical’ is. Is it honest in deed and word? Is it a true thing?
Touchstone: No, truly, for the truest poetry is the most feigning; and lovers are given to poetry, and what they swear in poetry may be said as lovers they do feign.
-William Shakespeare, As You Like It, Act III, scene iii
ETA: Whups. I'm not looking for condolences, encouragement, or assurances that if I just keep writing poetry, my poetry will improve. Seriously. Nor am I insinuating that anybody else should give up on their own aspirations as a poet. I was attempting to be amusing, and have an excuse to mention some sonnets I love, and to remind myself that really, while I'm a damned fine prose writer, I'm also an enormously bad poet, and I should bear that in mind. Really. No subtext. Honest. I swear.
On the other hand, if anybody wants to kick up a favourite sonnet or three.... wheedle