apologies and a petrarchan sonnet
July 12, 2011

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.


blank verse
May 12, 2011

Philosophical Fragments

I’ll tell you now what (I think) is most sure,
above all else and even beyond god:

This moment, now, is all that we can hold;
it’s all that is most real to searching hands.
And do not try to reach out past yourself,
for self alone is all that you can grasp.
Embrace it, hold it close to you, my love,
hold you to you and never let you go,
and I, by all the most unchanging things,
I swear to keep me close to that in me
which most of all is mine and me myself,
and so, when we in double sureness touch,
your self and I can know we are, in truth.
So kindle your own deepest eager youness,
and in the moment, I would have you glow
so I will see the trueness that is you.

So wander wild if you must
and stretch out past yourself to find the World,
but know that when absurdities and terrors
haunt the night and when you’ve lost whatever
truth you thought you had, know that
you are always there within yourself –
know that such a loss is just a way
of losing self to self and heart to mind
and know that in your labyrinthine soul,
you are the path of every maze you walk.