If you had told me when I turned 50, that I would find myself writing a blog about sonnets, I would have been incredulous. I am not a literary scholar or published author. I am a regular guy, who had up until that point in his life, only a modest interest in poetry as a reader and even less interest in writing poetry. As a writer, to this day, I am an inaccurate speller, lousy at punctuation and stubbornly ignorant of the rules of grammar. So what business have I in writing what could be considered by many one of the most structured of poetic forms- the sonnet? Good question..
There is both a long and short answer to that question and they are the same – I don’t know. In this blog I hope to share my genuine enjoyment for what feels like a somewhat unwelcome guest of modern poetry journals – the formality of rhyming poetry and in particular – sonnets.
My foray into writing sonnets began after several months as a fledgling writer, working on a poem that was rudderless and frustrating. I finally figured out the poem was actually two poems, unmercifully mashed together. One of them, after I stripped it out and gave it it’s own proper space, had a rough construction that looked something like I remembered from high school advanced English as a sonnet. Being curious, I Googled “Sonnet Structure” and soon realized it wasn’t even close to being a sonnet. However, that simple act of exploration got me suddenly reading sonnets. And once I started reading sonnets, I realized they are everywhere in our shared experience of literature and artistic expression.
Over a month later, an unexpected inspiration occurred. One Thursday morning, I awoke early and started writing, like I often do in the mornings, and suddenly to my surprise emerged from my typing fingertips a sonnet. It sprang from my subconscious, nearly fully formed in the first draft. It contained truths I wouldn’t understand for many months and to this day, surprises me with its genuine imagery of hope.
This was the beginning of my obsession with writing sonnets. Three years later it is still going strong…..
Oh Darkest Night
Oh Darkest Night, tell us your mystery.
Come like a thief to steal restless minds.
Take only the parts of life’s sordid history,
Which free our regrets from their deepest confines.
Oh love be a locksmith, open our hearts.
We’ll guard what is found as rare mortal treasure.
Love’s masterful thievery will form a new start.
Forgive our past trials as no final measure.
Out of this blackness we’ll create a new day.
A boundless void we’ll fill with pure light.
Dreams! Savage Hope! Sweet Naiveté!
Restore the magic of love to our sight.
Hold back the sunrise. Stay by my side.
Nothing before us and eyes open wide.
by T. A. Fry