apologies and a petrarchan sonnet

I realized recently that it has been far far too long since my last blog post and that apologies to my readers (if I have any at all) are due.  I have been hesitant to post my poetry recently due to the fact that I have been sending my work out to other online publications, and it is generally frowned upon in the literary world to submit work for publication that you have already posted yourself.  Hopefully, then, you will be able to read some of the things I have written recently, but on other websites (response time for most submissions, though, is frustratingly delayed, so have patience).

In the meantime, I’ll share with you a sonnet that I wrote recently.  Petrarch, who is recognized as the originator of the Italian sonnet, wrote a series of 366 poems for which he achieved great fame, and interestingly, 317 of these poems were for a woman called Laura.  This muse was perhaps inspired by a real encounter Petrarch had with a woman, but in his poetry, she is an idealization and the object of his unrealized passion.  As an exercise, I decided to write his 367th sonnet (keep in mind, though, that I have not read all 366 poems that would have come before it).  It is in iambic pentameter with the traditional Petrarchan rhyme scheme of an ababcdcd octave followed by a cdecde sestet.

Sonnet 367

To Laura

This final work is yours, my love and heart:
these tired lines I almost let slip by
in thinking of them always from the start,
from even the first day I met your eye
and fell for every tender turn and nod
your head would make in sleeping and in speech,
and from that fateful day I prayed to God
that yours would be a threshold I could breach.

But, my lady, you are my undoing;
you’ve been my end in 14 simple lines,
for loving you was always self-defeat,
and when my corpse, laid out for viewing,
is washed of sin and all its outward signs,
they’ll find my heart lies trampled at your feet.


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