I like the sonnet form.

My first sonnet here was a response on 1st October 2011 to a set of verses from my friend W. David Zitzkat, a classical scholar and lawyer in Connecticut, after a discussion about rap and the vernacular of the city streets, of which the closing quatrain went:

We ain’t Jane Austins here in the ghettos,
An Shakespeare, him went out with stilettos,
So git real my man, and go follow yo muse,
But do it wit’ joints, ’n’ maybe some booze.

You’re absolutely right, I just don’t have
The “black” street culture thing a rapper needs
Because he looks, and hears, but never reads
From books of poetry; for, like a chav,
His literary leanings are just av-
erage* — he thrives not on words but on deeds
But cares not: you can’t say that his heart bleeds
Though he’s lost, like a twit without sat-nav.
I, on the other hand, prefer to write
A sonnet, that far more distinguished norm
Belov’d of Petrarch, Shakespeare, Milton, Keats,
And even William Wordsworth, who wrote sheets
Full of iambic pentametric form.
Could this improve on his? I think it might.**

* Do you think that it’s wrong to end a line
Like that one, in the middle of a word?
That this makes any prosody absurd
Or that critics of poetry would whine
That this was wrong, like apples on a vine
Or grapes upon an apple tree? Preferred —
Conventional — line endings have occurred
So much that they are trite. I prefer mine!
** You’ll notice in that first stanza’s sestet
That I have used a far less usual scheme
Of rhymes: c-d-e-e-d-c in fact,
Whereas the patterns most of us have met
Have been perhaps thrice c-d; but I deem
That boring now, so don’t just think; I act!

© 2011 Ian P. Hudson
Headley, Hampshire