Sunday, November 12, 2006

Sonnet Sunday: Be Careful

Be Careful

Most of our lives are tediously mundane.
Go trace them with a stick of dynamite;
They won’t explode because they can’t ignite.
Our memories are as white bread as our pain.
We shuffle through the sameness of the rain.
The rain is good but it won’t cleave the heart.
It can’t promote your longing into art.
It’s been that way since Abel died by Cain.

A mackintosh, umbrella, a warm haven
Is all you want come evening, and a beer.
I wouldn’t take away your hope of heaven.
But why should it be cheerier than here?
Who we are here will likely be what’s given.
Be careful not to lose imagination.

I don’t know where this poem came from. It started as free verse but the first four lines converted themselves into a quatrain before I could re-assert my will. So it became a sonnet. Not a happy one, certainly, but a cautionary sonnet.

Yesterday we took Kenyon swimming at Ten Mile River. On the shore of the beach was a line of pelicans 200 yards long. I’ve never seen so many pelicans. They were brown pelicans, the common kind; we haven’t seen white pelicans here as yet.

There is something so primitive about a pelican in flight. They remind one of pterodactyls; all they need is a bony protrusion from the back of their heads and you could hardly tell the two apart.

A northwest wind blew fiercely while we were there. About a half hour before high tide the ocean made it over the bluff of sand and united with the river through an isthmus only 20 ft. wide. The mixing of the salt and fresh water never ceases to amaze me, the marriage of the land to the sea. The waters may have been barely deep enough to accommodate some migrating salmon, but we saw none. I’m still waiting for the salmon/steelhead runs up our local rivers. What’s strange is that no one seems to know much about them, likely because the local fisherman catch their salmon at sea, before they journey to spawn.

I have no more to report. I’m working on a book review. I’m working on my html class. I stay up late and watch movies on Turner Classic Movies. Last night we saw The Maltese Falcon and most of the original Thomas Crown Affair with Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway.

Maybe writing about depression was more interesting for the reader, however painful to myself. Isn’t that the way it always is? A tale’s no fun if the hero’s not in danger.

I now have a week of not being depressed. Though I feel lucky and happy to be myself, the threat still sits on my shoulder like a drooling vulture, if vultures can drool. Depression can certainly return me to road kill in a New York minute. But I’m starting to find my feet.

At Rodent Neutral,



  1. I love the Maltese Falcon. What a great movie!

    The sonnet is good too. I won't quibble with the rhyme in "imagination" as to do so would be a failure of imagination on my part. Some fine lines in this one:

    The rain is good but it won’t cleave the heart.
    It can’t promote your longing into art.

    Nicely done.

  2. If you really want to fritter your nights away in front of the tube, get Tivo. My husband got it for me for Christmas, and I've been ruined.

    Although, I never realized there actually was some good stuff on television.

    Good to know you're still at RN.

  3. I've never seen a pelican, let alone a line of them. 200 yards long? How many pelicans, do you think? Were they lined up and facing out to sea? I recall seeing a line of seagulls at dawn right at the water's edge in Massachusetts. They were all sitting there silently, facing the horizon as if waiting for the sun to rise.

    Do pelicans make a sound? I imagine it as being a raucous call.

    A week and no depression? Go, you!

    Oh, and I don't come here to read about your depression. I come here to read about you.

  4. I come to read the poems, as they are something i fail at. ie, specific structures, I think i've said before, i wouldn't know a sonnet if it leapt out and bit me :)

    I do read the rest of the post as well, and have commented on the deprssion thing, as it is something i relate to on a personal level, but at the end of the day, mr chaffin bakes damn fine words.

    I like this blog, as it's a poetry site, with added food for thought.

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. Tivo--my sibs have it, I'm just too lazy or cheap. I use TV like a drug instead of controlling it by planning my viewing.

    Pelicans are entirely silent as far as I know; I never hear their cries, only the seagulls that flock around them.

    Thanks LKD and Inconsequential for cheering me.

  7. I just googled "pelican" and found this:

    "Oh, a wondrous bird is the pelican!
    His bill holds more than his belican.
    He can take in his beak
    Enough food for a week.
    But I'm darned if I know how the helican."
    Dixon Lanier Merritt

    What the helican! (grin)

  8. LKD--I almost quoted that rhyme in today's post, though I had it attributed to Ogden Nash in my mind.


Please share your opinion!

Unexpected Light

Unexpected Light
Selected Poems and Love Poems 1998-2008 ON SALE NOW!