Thursday, 19 March 2015

Writing a Shakespearean Sonnet

By THLaird Colyne Stewart

An early 16th century form, introduced and developed by other poets, but made most famous by Shakespeare. It consists of fourteen lines structured as three quatrains and a couplet. The third quatrain usually introduces an unexpected thematic twist (volta). In the sonnets written by Shakespeare the volta usually comes in the couplet and usually summarizes the theme of the poem or introduces a new look at the theme. The meter is almost always iambic pentameter. The usual rhyme scheme is abab, cdcd, efef, gg.

For my sonnet I decided to write about my belt-sister, HE Mahault of Swynford. Specifically, I wanted to talk about the wide and diverse service she has rendered to her kingdom over the years. Therefore, I decided to compare the kingdom to a grand hall, and talk about how her service had helped build it.

The pillars of the grandest house are built,
By deeds both great and small the bricks are laid,
And with hard work the walls and floors are gilt,
With blood and sweat the mighty mansion’s made.

In the second quatrain I compared her to the Roman goddess of abundance and prosperity and make mention of the hardships she has had to overcome.

The mason is Abundantia on earth,
Her toils in both hall and field are great,
Long laboured maiden held in deepest worth,
Who does not fear the fight with fickle fate.

My volta came in the third quatrain, where I switch perspective and talk about her willingness to express her heart, even if that opinion may be unpopular, and her propensity to champion the accomplishments of others. I again invoked a Roman goddess, this time one of forgiveness.

Clementia forgive her forthright voice,
Which rises in defense of those struck mute,
To honest live, herself to be, her choice,
Who can then dare to bold denounce her route?

For my closing couplet I went with a dedication.

So do I grace her gifting words I penned,
To sister, mentor, and my closest friend.

As a title I settled on Crossing for two reasons. The first is that her byname Swynford means “swine ford” (which is a crossing). It also refers to the people who have denounced her route over the years.

The final poem read as follows:


Crossings
Also for Mahault
By THLaird Colyne Stewart, February AS 49 (2015)

The pillars of the grandest house are built,
By deeds both great and small the bricks are laid,
And with hard work the walls and floors are gilt,
With blood and sweat the mighty mansion’s made.

The mason is Abundantia on earth,
Her toils in both hall and field are great,
Long laboured maiden held in deepest worth,
Who does not fear the fight with fickle fate.

Clementia forgive her forthright voice,
Which rises in defense of those struck mute,
To honest live, herself to be, her choice,
Who can then dare to bold denounce her route?

So do I grace her gifting words I penned,
To sister, mentor, and my closest friend.




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