Today, I’m excited to bring you the results of the first ever Experiments in Fiction Poetry Challenge: The Sonnet! This competition generated a lot of interest, but also a little apprehension. Some people were put off by the idea of having to fit their words to a strict metre and rhyming scheme. Others were unfamiliar with the form, and weren’t sure they were up to the challenge. I can assure everyone who entered, you were more than up to the challenge! I was moved and inspired by your responses, whether a sonnet in the strict, Shakespearian sense, or a free-form verse inspired by the sonnet. I have therefore decided to feature the work of all the poets who were brave enough to enter. Read on for their responses:
‘The Thought’ by Laura Schmidt
This entry, by Laura Schmidt of Voyage of the Mind, is a modern take on the Shakespearian sonnet:
If you could but reach out and see beyond,
Beyond the life of solitude you lead,
Pass o’er the ripp’ed reflection in the pond,
You’d see that what you want, you do not need.
With haste fly hours that pass you by and by —
You, caught within the web you chose to weave
Of all the secrets and the lies that lie
In shreds about your feet each time you leave.
Your life is dust that scatters in the air,
Like silver, diamonds and precious things.
As tarnished dreams and hopeless wishes dare,
You follow them away — the siren sings.
As I begin to find my final rhyme,
So too you pass — a thought — beyond all time.
A beautifully crafted piece carrying a powerful message. I love this sonnet: congratulations, Laura: I hope that now you will share the other sonnet which you mentioned in your post!
‘No Decent Reason’ by Carolyn Cordon
I am honoured that Carolyn wrote a brand new sonnet in response to this challenge. Hers is a topical take on current events, with a still broader message:
What on Earth is the reason, for this disease?
A rhetorical question, but is there a ready answer?
Is it response for doing whatever we please?
Have we become Nature’s deadliest cancer?
We’re killing things with barely any restraint –
With no regard for damage that we’ve caused,
Murdering creatures – no avenue for complaint
Wanting things right now. If only we’d paused …
Covid-19 a symptom of devastations,
Inflicted on habitats, trees cut down.
Some put all the blame on developing nations,
But the destroyer here is the big end of town …
How do you explain to a little kid,
The selfish reasons for what us oldies did …
Congratulations, Carolyn! A fantastic response to this challenge, and a timely message.
‘Humanity’ by Haroon Mirza
Haroon has a winning formula for writing poetry which never fails to impress me. He has adapted his poetic form into a free-form sonnet in response to this challenge:
Shall we call ourselves human?
We lack forgiveness and patience
Have you seen any crewman?
Gracious and chasing relations
Blaming others for our fall
Forget to counter our own faults
Makes it difficult to stand tall
How long will we face this assault?
Why do we attack our friends?
For race, faith and colour
We need to put a strong end
To this discriminatory usher
Hoping for humanity to soon recover
Let our tolerance and humility rediscover.
Another powerful message set to beautiful words. Congratulations, Haroon! I especially love the use of assonance (internal rhyme) in lines such as ‘Gracious and chasing relations’ and ‘For race, faith and colour.’
‘Nightingales Sing’ by Maseera
Maseera, of My Poem Attic, did not intend to enter the challenge as she had other commitments. But she wrote this wonderful poem and asked if it could be included for consideration. Another beautiful verse inspired by the sonnet:
a voice broken, throatily cries,
nightingales sing, nightingales die,
the last note sounded like a diamond chime,
nightingales break at the dawn of the night.
let us sing and let us be,
let us sigh and let us see,
nightingales are the moonlight’s dream,
diamond chimes atop a hill,
in throatily cries my nightingales sing.
colder mornings make us fade,
singing voices end in disdain,
no one hears a word of the night, a voice broken, throatily cries,
one last song and my nightingales died.
maseera | my poem attic©2020.
These song-like words spoke to me and moved me. Congratulations, Maseera! Beautiful use of alliteration and rhyme; a splendid, mournful song.
Congratulations to all who entered: I was moved and impressed by such heartfelt and accomplished responses to this challenge. Everyone who took part is a winner and deserves the laurel wreath!
Look out for more EIF Poetry Challenges coming soon: I was thinking about making the next one a little easier, but then…it wouldn’t be challenging, would it?