A Shakespearean Sonnet for Winter


After talking with some friends and family, I have thought more about the reasons I started this blog.  Most importantly, I want it to be a place I can share my creative experiments and get feedback; but I also see it as a type of education for those that are interested.  I want to keep the material basic and clipped enough for everyone to understand, especially for those that have little or no background with these types of writing practices or think that creative writing “isn’t for them”.  The pattern will usually be that the first section of a post will describe the purpose of the piece and give some context to the writing.  This blog has the goal of entertaining and educating – if it starts to fail at that, please let me know.

The only requirement set for the following poem (in my English course) was to write at least ten lines in meter.  Feeling the need to challenge myself, I put fourteen lines in meter with a sonnet rhyme scheme (in this case, ABAB CDCD EFG EFG).  When referring to meter in modern poetry, most people think of iambic pentameter: each line has five “feet” (10 syllables) with each foot containing one rest and one accent.  This form of meter is found in all of Shakespeare’s sonnets – which is probably why it’s so popular – but can be played with to alter the pattern of stresses and number of feet.  Iambic pentameter is quite different from the meter I learned while studying Greek in the last three years because Homer uses dactylic hexameter in his well-known epics, the Iliad and the Odyssey, which has six feet per line with each foot consisting of one long syllable followed by two short syllables.  There is a great possibility that in later posts I will elaborate on other forms of meter and my wonderful adventures with Greek, both ancient and modern.


Flickering Flame

To be a wick is knowing when to glow;
to light the room and everything that fills it.
They burn me, sure my golden light will show
the sprawling papers, full of prose that spills wit.
This desk, it’s dark and aging here beneath me
and with my light cast here, the shadows grow.
From cozy rooms they carry me to see,
to look outside and watch the falling snow:
It blankets homes and fences like a sheet
and under yellow light it swirls free
before it lands atop the roof next door;
they plowed, but still snow falls into the street
and flakes drift gently down into the tree….
Now I am wishing wicks like me knew more.

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About jmmack

Full-time swim coach and pool program manager in the Seattle area. Swimmer, writer, cross-stitcher, HP fan, wife, sister, auntie of two nephews, human to a feisty Jack-Russell mix.
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