Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Sonnet With A Low Battery

Having written a sonnet that rhymes on its left, as opposed to its right, side, and an extremely narrow sonnet, I will now continue my assault on the form by writing a diminishing sonnet, a fading lyric that starts out robustly in the usual iambic pentameter but withers to monosyllabic lines. At the same time, I attempt to adhere to the 14-line limit and to follow the Shakespearian or English rhyme-scheme, based on quatrains and a couplet.

Diminishing Sonnet

I have this sonnet, and its battery
Is running down. The sonnet's theme,
I think, is flattery.
--Not, it would seem,
The best
Thing.
Psst:
Sing!
Of
What?
Love,
nut.
Oh,
no.

There we have it, an entropic sonnet that goes from iambic pentameter to mono-meter in 14 lines, includes an internal dialogue, and rhymes best with Psst. I think of it as an old wind-up sonnet that came along before sonnets could run on long-lived batteries.

I'm considering the possibilities of a square sonnet, not "square" as in the way the Beatniks used the term (although maybe that, too), but geometrically square. This could be achieved simply by playing with spacing, of course, but maybe I'll go for a more figuratively square sonnet and write 14 lines with 14 words in each line. I could also throw in an acrostic or two--top to bottom and/or diagonal. This is starting to sound not simply like lyric madness but Shakespearian soduku. Somehow, I think John Donne would have approved.


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