Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Hidden Sonnet


As I have recounted elsewhere, I stopped writing poetry for over a decade because of a traumatic event during a deeply troubled prior marriage. For the longest time, I didn't even try to write poetry, other than occasional light verse (doggerel, really), because it was simply too overwhelming emotionally.

Truth be known, for the longest time, I did no writing other than personal letters and those documents necessary in my law practice. For someone who had once written "take away my pen and you render me mute," this was a very bleak time in my life. It was not until I left the marriage and had a long course of therapy that I started to feel I could again take pleasure in writing.

My confidence in my prose writing came back first. In 2002, I began writing a monthly newspaper article about downtown commercial architecture. To my surprise, the articles gained a following and eventually netted me and my editor two state awards.

As much as I loved writing about architecture, it wasn't poetry. I steadfastly avoided poetry. Poetry still hurt too much. Poetry was still way too scary. Over the next several years, I would only attempt two poems, making sure to bury them deep in a computer file so no one would ever know they existed.

Starting this blog in March, 2009, brought me a long way down the path towards poetry. Writing publicly, receiving feedback, making new friends in Blogville who responded positively to my writing - all of these things reassured me that maybe, just maybe, I did have something to say.  And if I did have something to say, then maybe I could write poetry again.

I tested the poetic waters a few times in my blog, quietly and without much ado. It didn't hurt, but it didn't yet feel comfortable. To borrow a line from my friend EA, "that stubbornly insecure heart of mine" wasn't ready to acknowledge that I was allowed to write poetry again.

But even if my heart wasn't ready to acknowledge that poetry was permissible, my pen was. Last Saturday night, looking through my writing notebook, I came across what clearly was a roughed out sonnet. By its location in the book as well as its topic, I knew it dated back to this past August. I had forgotten all about it. Sunday morning, I copied it out and cleaned it up, correcting the meter and the rhyme scheme.

I'll discuss sonnet structure later this month. Enjoy this one today.  

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It Would Have Been Enough

It would have been enough to see your smile
If you had come upon me suddenly
And watched me cut the peppers for awhile,
Bagging them for later suppers to be.
Standing in the doorway, you with ease could
Have viewed the sorting through the greens and reds,
Seen the line of concentration that would
Weave its way from my hands to my forehead.
I would have gone on chopping, unaware
Of your gaze until you moved in the door
And caught my attention away to stare
Briefly at you until I turned once more
To peppers. But no, there you were outside,
Tending other tasks, love's look set aside.

1 comment:

Terri said...

It captures that longing in the midst of our everyday married lives...and lovely form. My students are writing their first formal sonnet with strict attention to rhythm and rhyme. It remains to be seen how they do.