Sunday Whirl Baked in a Holiday Sonnet

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to All

Not too long ago, Thomas Davis of fourwindowspress suggested I try my hand at the sonnet form.  I finally took some time to pick up that gauntlet, and though I feel the poem is still clunky (and too gloomy for Christmas), I’m happy to have put a pen to paper again.

Christmas Expectations

Half a lifetime weighted by should-decree
Finds little joy in angel pomp.  Tidings
Join a cacophony of haste which sings
Of abandoning soul-heart for bent knee.
No room in that inn for dreams.  Admission fee
For this cold peace, compliance and troth rings.
Sell secret self for sex and glittering things;
Unwrap regret beneath each Christmas tree.
Still shepherd heard and pondered seraph sight
And I, afraid to change, consider too–
Can I forsake this life that I have known,
Exchange this prison home where poems incite
Resentment?  Will poems sow that field of view,
My hopes swaddled on a manger throne?

The Sunday Whirl:  Wordle 36

About T A Hillin-Smith

Just one of the literacy scholars on this site who wants to explore writing in all its complexities.
This entry was posted in Interesting Blogs, Poetry, Prompts, Sonnet and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

34 Responses to Sunday Whirl Baked in a Holiday Sonnet

  1. Shawna says:

    This is incredible, girl. Way to puke your guts out onto the page. 🙂

    I love “should-decree” and “angel pomp.” Love the soft rhyme in “decree”/”cacophony” and “fee”/”peace.” Great line breaks.

    “abandoning soul-heart for bent knee” … Ouch, but the struggle all passionate people face, nonetheless.

    I’m hoping the “speaker” is able to find some compromise between poetry and compliance. Perhaps a smoother perspective will dawn the horizon after the dreaded holiday season has passed. Winter turns everything to ice, especially hearts.

    • Yousei Hime says:

      I laughed at loud at that first bit, my friend. Sigh. Compromise in the next year … we’ll see. It’s possible. No holding your breath though. I’m so glad you stopped by. BTW, I’m a sucker for red hair and seventies bling. 😉

  2. Hey, Yousei. I like it! I really don’t know a sonnet from a bonnet, but I like your words. Troth rings ifs very evocative. Unwrap regret interesting too.

    And it’s snowing on your blog, whooohooooo.


    • Yousei Hime says:

      Welcome! 😀 I appreciate you stopping by and checking out the bonnet. The snow on the blog is courtesy of WordPress, something they do for the season. I like it, so I’ve turned it “on” since they started the option. Have a great New Year down in Texas. Wish I was there.

  3. I like the images of “cacophony of haste” and “cold peace” very much, and how you have de-stilted the sonnet by starting new sentences toward the ends of lines. I felt the really specific issue of poetry-writing in the conflicts the narrator faces arrives late in the sonnet’s day, the 3rd-last line. Till then, I thought the narrator was centrally concerned with the shoulds, with regret over a cooled relationship, with dreams-in-general unrealized, and noticing how the season brought these feelings forth. If the room-at-the-inn line said “poet’s dreams”, for e.g., it would foreshadow this move from the general to the specific?

    • Yousei Hime says:

      Thank you so much for this critique. You found so many of the things I was afraid were buried in the poem, and your suggestion to add mention of poetry early is perfect. I’ll definitely revise this with your suggestion at the top of the list. I’ll try to let you know when to give it a reread. I really appreciate the time you took, in reading and analyzing. Your comment is what I always hope for in comments and delight in when they appear. Happiest of New Years to you.

  4. ManicDdaily says:

    You did a wonderful job with the sonnet. I love sonnets, but sometimes (especially if you use a form with an ending couplet) they can get a bit sing-songy and pat. Yours is not at all like that–it’s wonderfully complex and heartfelt. Very lovely. K.

    • Yousei Hime says:

      Thank you. 🙂 I love sonnets too, and I’ve read some lately that made go back and make sure they were sonnets, they read so smoothly. That’s my goal. Next time I’ll find a subject less whiny and more alluring. Happy New Year to you.

  5. brenda w says:

    There is a great deal to chew on in this sonnet. It’s well written, and demands a second look. Best wishes for the New Year. May joy knock out regret in all of our lives.

  6. Irene says:

    Impressive deep sonnet Yousei!

  7. Laurie Kolp says:

    The sonnet is very challenging and you combined it with the wordle words… very impressive. I did read your answer to Brian’s comment, but this still stands out to me as such sadness:

    Sell secret self for sex and glittering things;
    Unwrap regret beneath each Christmas tree.

    Blessings to you for a better new year.

    • Yousei Hime says:

      You read accurately, but I’m determined to make the best of every day, even the choice is not convenient and doesn’t mesh with others opinions of best. Thank you for reading and sharing with me. Blessings to you and yours as well.

  8. brian says:

    i really like the layers in this…some def heart pings…the selling of self for gifts…ugh to what extreme…glad you got your hope in the right place…smiles…lovely…def not a form i am comfortable with…merry christmas!

    • Yousei Hime says:

      Hope your holiday was filled with giggles, wrapping paper and yummy food. I appreciate you coming by for a read. I think the poem ended up making things sound more dramatic than they are, but when you write from mostly emotion, those colors are going to dominate. Simply “selling” (as in for a wedding ring) was meant as giving someone else the right to tell you what you “ought” to do. Alright … no more whining today. Very Merry Christmas to you and your family.

  9. slpmartin says:

    As Claudia notes ‘kudos for approaching’ the sonnet….have a joyous and love filled new years.

  10. claudia says:

    i think it’s ok to unwrap regret beneath the Christmas tree as well as joy and thankfulness…the sonnet is one of the hardest poetic forms to master i think – kudos for approaching one and merry christmas to you

  11. I do not understand the flow of sonnets so I read this as free verse and greatly enjoyed it.

  12. Thomas Davis says:

    Ahhh, Yousei! Life is not always easy. The good Lord knows that Ethel and I know that as well as anyone can. Still, you should never denigrate what you do as poetry, especially not in your deepest self. This is actually a magnificent effort that you pull off wonderfully on a theme that should be universal if it is not. What is Christmas all about?

    Sell secret self for sex and glittering things
    regret beneath each Christmas tree?

    You are obviously conflicted right now, and, is proper, that comes through in a poem, a sonnet:

    Still shepherd heard and pondered seraph sight
    And I, afraid to change, consider too–
    Can I forsake this life that I have known,
    Exchange this prison home where poems incite

    I have no answers for you, of course.

    Will poems sow that field of view,
    My hopes swaddled on a manger throne?

    But I can tell you this: You are a poet, inheritor of a line that spins back into a history when only bards sat before a blazing fire and recited whole epics to their audiences. Poets peer beneath the waterline of reflections, and sometimes they see false, but more often true, and in their courage lies a universe that humanity must glimpse if the individual within humanity is to be whole. I call you poet, and you gain enormous honor by the ancient name.

    • Yousei Hime says:

      Thomas and Ethel,
      Your comment was an unexpected and very welcome gift today. It is hard not to find fault in a song when the singer is worried that key words were forgotten or breathes were poorly phrased, especially when hecklers are shouting to give “hobbies” their proper time. Even so, I will trust in your wisdom and believe the song good.

      I can sing. I have songs and have heard tales that must be recited, whether sonnet or haiku or other. I’ll keep writing, whether it is by this fire or another. I’ll walk a bard’s path, hold my breath and plunge under any frozen surface to glimpse a fay world. I’ll cling to the courage your comment and my heart proclaim, and emerge to write for the hearth and heart. Thank you both, and all blessings of this season to you and your families.

  13. hedgewitch says:

    I have a hard hard time with the sonnet form, because of the meter more than anything–my mind doesn’t compose in iambic pentameter, and wrestling it into shape often makes the language stilted for me. You’ve avoided that here, and written a very complex and nicely-tuned piece, and said a lot at the same time. May you find a place where your poems live free, and a happy holiday to you.

    • Yousei Hime says:

      Thank you for your visit and especially for your critique. The avoidance came from ignoring iambic restrictions, for the most part. Perhaps I should follow the rules a bit closer until it flows even in iambic pentameter. Time for addressing that in the coming year. I was more concerned with a consistent imagery, unified story and definite turn in that ninth line. Rarely satisfied completely, I’ll keep trying. Maybe even revise this one. Happy, happy holidays to you as well.

  14. zongrik says:

    nice word crafting

    • Yousei Hime says:

      Welcome. Thanks for the visit and comment. I’m glad you like the crafting. I love sonnets but really struggle with making them flow. Hope your holidays are peaceful.

  15. Traci B says:

    Very honest and introspective, Yousei. I think you did the sonnet justice, and the feelings and thoughts you share here are widely felt if not widely expressed. We all have expectations of Christmas, and sometimes life keeps them from being met. In those moments, we have to look beyond the hurt to the hope.

    • Yousei Hime says:

      Traci B,
      Welcome and thank you for both visit and comment. It has been a difficult holiday this year, as to which all too many can relate. I’m glad you felt the sonnet had merit. I’ve long loved the form but have been intimidated by it. I can’t seem to write one that doesn’t limp along unnaturally brashly flaunt its rhymes.

      Three more months and you’ll reach your first year at poemflow. Let me congratulate you early. Best of the season to you.

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