It’s been a slow morning thus far, so I was able to rattle this one off pretty quickly. And I was able to rattle it off quickly because I was feeling a bit formal today, though only just a bit. I must apologize once more to Barbara for borrowing her term again (although I still haven’t found the original quote, wherever it lies) and appropriating it into saying unseamed sonnet, which I’ll use from now on for these not-quites. Here’s the prompty bit:
1. “The clouds had made a crimson crown…” (Mary Elizabeth Coleridge, “A Moment”)
2. “All the ocean’s water without me and yet in me.” (Roger Reeves, “Black Laws”)
3. “…fresh honey and the smell of sweat in parkland.” (me, “Horoscope”)
5. Try to begin unpacking a paradox that normally leaves you tongue-tied. Don’t worry, you don’t have to get very far.
BONUS. Write an unseamed sonnet.
ALTERNATE (3). Use a line from one of your own previous poems that emphasizes some specific smells/tastes (more than one, if possible).
So, I’m saying “unseamed” rather than “seamless” because the latter has a connotation of so perfectly done that you don’t even notice the thing. I think an unseamed sonnet should be noticeable; I like to use it when I want to suggest a sonnet, but be pessimistic about it. For me, it’s a “this poem isn’t good enough to be a sonnet” kind of thing. And unlike a secret sonnet which is perfect, aside from the shuffling of line breaks, the unseamed sonnet can subvert any of the various elements of a “proper sonnet”. Here’s my example:
(escondig at dawn)
Consider the kiss I did not give.
And the moon still up and ghostly with dawn.
The picnic devoured, our shirts undone.
The jam on your lip I was tempted with.
Observe how we made a mess out of this.
How our faces developed in the marbled sun.
And no bravery but the occasional crumb.
The do-or-do-not of the unclasped wrist.
Remember I thought I knew better.
All my broken glass shone up from the river.
We buttoned, and folded, packed the basket.
The day in our flesh grew warmer, redder.
Look how I swayed between now and never.
Some future in my eyes, I couldn’t look past it.
Obviously, the iambic has gone right out the window (though I oscillated around ten syllables). There is a rhyme scheme, but all the rhymes are willfully imperfect and slant. Any kind of volta in line nine is buried deep, with only a metal detector showing it up. The theme is not particularly lofty or well-developed, at least at first. Still, it’s fourteen lines, and there is a modicum of sound, and something about the poem striving for sonnethood reflects, in my opinion, the theme of cowardice in love. An escondig, incidentally, is an old troubadour theme-form about a lover’s apology: sorry I couldn’t be confident enough to make a move, sorry I couldn’t get over my jaded attitude from the past clouding our possible future, sorry I couldn’t write you an actual sonnet.
But that’s all just my stuff. Y’all do what y’all want with it.