Sunday, September 17, 2006

Sonnet Sunday

Today's sonnet I wrote for Kathleen's and my sixth wedding anniversary, Sept. 14. Yes, Virginia, there is true love in the world and I found it with Kathleen. Even so, poetry has its own demands, and though I wanted to write a very romantic sonnet for our anniversary, the poem took a wry turn to set up a simple conceit prefigured in the title.

You can't force a poem to be something it's not, a frequent beginner's mistake. You can't manhandle a poem and expect it to be something worth preserving. As I tell my students, "Get out of the way of the poem." So I did with this one, though I think it at best an average example of my work.

At Rodent Neutral, Thank God!


Thinning a Verb

I love pistachios and basketball
And blackberries and the furious mane of spray
When ocean batters rock and the pall
Of fog through pines above the aqua bay.
I love fireworks and my guitar
And everything the Beatles ever wrote.
I love the charm of a familiar bar
And my worn flannels and my paisley coat
(Though you won’t see me wearing them together).
I love asparagus and artichokes
And licorice whips and nuts and rainy weather
And Halloween and good off-color jokes.
___Have I devalued ‘love’ with things too steeply
___To say “I love you” and not mean it deeply?


  1. I liked this poem;
    although it does remind me that I can't seem to write any serious love poem without it feeling clichéd. We need a new word for love.

  2. Anonymous8:01 PM PDT

    Yes, indeed. Woody Allen in Annie Hall proposed "lurve," and Kathleen and I sometimes use it, though it's poetically clunky.

    And "emerald bay" strikes me as cliche'; I had "lapping bay" before that but I thought "lapping" even more cliche'; it's too bad when the bay is really emerald and lapping and you can't use those words because previous poets burned them out. Maybe you still can if you're good enough. The other technique I admire it when you intentionally use a cliche' and increase its importance by twisting it.


  3. Anonymous3:27 AM PDT


    I only wonder if 'steep' is a proper modifier for dilution. I think you have interesting possibilites with steeply/deeply and would keep those, maybe working backwards for a better solution than dilution, pardon the rhyme.


  4. You're right, of course, Norm. Between you and Jarod I have been properly workshopped. I changed the verb, thanks for the help.


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