Sonnet for Elizabeth
by Joseph C. MacKenzie
I fear no more the settling of the night
Or mind its grey, evaporating shades;
Mine ears are deaf to time’s lost serenades,
Mine eyes content with thy soul’s loving light.
Thy morning’s halo puts the stars to flight,
And warms me in its luminous cascades;
And though the fairest luster sometimes fades,
No shadow taints thy bloom, O benedight!
When this brief season’s sun shall fail to rise,
And cease to gild our interfluent streams,
These verses shall emit thy beauty’s glow,
And make some heart, behind some future eyes,
To marvel how thy radiance yet gleams,
And how I loved thee, more than men could know.
Has it always been the norm from time immemorial that we experience those moments where we feel like we should be given a reprieve from this relentless expectation of earning a living and allowed to focus on what is most important right in front of us. The vast majority of us have bills to pay and not the financial resources to take a break during our working years. Most of us have no one who is in a position to give us that sense of security to take over the finances during a time of crisis to allow ourselves to devout our full consciousness on healing or re-invention. Or if we do, we jeopardize the life lines that job security represents and we either have to be willing to risk it, or feel like you are not putting other’s at risk unnecessarily if you take a break. It’s why the responsibility of being responsible is so pernicious.
In this weird epoch we have entered in 2020, where the sands seem to shift beneath our feet daily on several fronts, I think many of us are starting to question this endless march of productivity for productivity’s sake. It seems a bit pointless. I stumbled across Joseph Coelho, a marvelous poet who is making video’s to help bring poetry into the classroom. He has a whole series of video’s on YouTube around poetry. I loved this video and his suggestion of writing a poem in the sand.
In response to a recent post, a friend sent me the first stanza and a link to Philip Larkin’s Aubade. Aubade is a masterful poem, both in its construction and it’s content. A brief comment on its construction. Each stanza is 10 lines, with roughly a rhyming sequence of ABABCCDEED. Each line is 10 or 11 syllables long. The five stanzas provide 50 lines and 500 syllables of canvass with which to work. Each stanza is like a mini sonnet, with one four line ABAB clipped out. I rather like it and will keep that idea open in the future as a writing structure for ideas that lend themselves to 20 or 30 or 40 lines.
I appreciate Larkin’s deft touch with stark subjects. Larkin doesn’t pussy foot around, either about himself or the world about him. He articulates what most of us feel at times, about death and life and love; it can be a bit of a slog at times. But Larkin has a way of weaving in a bit of hope as well, another day will dawn and the light grows stronger. Go walk on the beach and write a poem and leave it for strangers to be inspired and the waves at high tide to wash away.