A traditional sonnet has 14 lines of 5 iambic feet each. Each iambic foot has 2 syllables for a total of 140 syllables. This form gives the poem a “rectangular” look. But let’s suppose instead that we try a form that is triangular in form. That’s still an underspecified design constraint, but let’s try one that is 14 lines ending in a single two syllable foot. We will start with 28 syllables and each successive line will have two fewer syllables; thus, lines of: 28, 26, 24, etc. ending with 6, 4, 2.
Human auditory memory being what it is, 20 or more syllables is a long time to “wait for” or perceive a rhyme. I may put internal rhymes in some of these lines. Let’s see how it goes.
As for topic, October 10th will be celebrated by some as “Columbus Day” and by others as “Indigenous People’s Day.” That tension seems like a good way to begin.
Columbus sailed the ocean blue in fourteen hundred ninety two; enslaved and killed for profit, fame: The Glory Game.
Columbus knew the world was round; his sense of distance — not profound. He called the natives Indians (so wrong!)
So wrong about so many things — the Europeans of his time; believed a King’s most holy name
Had rights conferred by God Himself alone to do just as they willed so killed with God’s own song.
Enlightenment was yet to come. The ages then were still quite dumb. The Greed for Gold:
A tale of lies and flies and platitudes; of guns and groundless attitudes.
As ages passed, humanity began to see a bolder bold:
Poetic Commentary: I’m trying Sonnets and variations on Sonnets on Sunday. Here, I used the traditional iambic pentameter but slightly changed up the Shakespearean rhyme scheme ABAB, CDCD, EFEF, GG to ABBB, ACCC, CDDD, EE The idea of rhyming lines one and five is to reflect some unity among those five which deal with fairly direct perception of the here and now. In line six, I begin to move into “conceptual” shadows. Line nine rhymes with the previous three because this is meant to unify those lines more. But line 10 begins a contrasting thought. Though the couplet introduces a new rhyme, it is also a restatement of lines 10, 11, & 12 so the long “e” is kept and repeated internally as well (“me”, “thee”, “De-“, “sweet”, “de-“).
Political Commentary: In the photo above, you will see shadows of leaves and shadows of birds, though without movement, it may hard to tell which is which. But birds and olive trees are not the only shadows here. We are here at this particular spot partly because of our puppy Sadie. But how did Sadie come to be? Dogs were bred over thousands of years and while Sadie is still a puppy and very uncivilized as yet, she’s learning and a lot easier to deal with than her wolf ancestors. It isn’t just our training that helps Sadie live with us. It also depends on thousands of our ancestors taking the time to train and breed dogs to be our companions. There is a slab of concrete. Where did that come from? When did people invent that and perfect it? There is also a railroad tie. Railroad? Without early scientists and engineers and mathematicians, how would that have happened? And, of course, there are the builders who put this here and did not “cheat” so that the concrete was improperly made. Some other hundreds of folks arranged systems of commerce and government so that all this was possible. And how did you come to be looking at this photo and reading these words? Wait did I mention reading? You & I can read or write because someone took the time to teach us. And seeing it across time and space? Taking a picture with my iPhone? These depend on millions of people working in tech. But how could people spend so much time working on tech unless farmers made the food and truckers brought the food to a convenient place? But none of that system would work without government and police and armed services.
There are many shadows here and most of them are thousands of years old. The truth is that we are vastly interconnected. We have what we have and can achieve what we achieve because of countless others alive and long dead. Setting citizen against citizen is a ploy so that a very small number of people can end up controlling everyone. It’s an old, old cancer of society, but that makes it no less deadly.
We’re all in it together.
Those who would tear us all apart do not admit to their outsized greed. Instead, they wear camouflage of “patriotism” or “religion” to try to fool others into helping them steal. The plane hijackers who wreaked destruction were convinced they were doing it for “God” not for their pocketbooks. To be radicalized into killing others is to be blinded. At first, people are told to tell a little lie for the good of God. And, a little later, they are taught to believe a slightly bigger lie. Until, in the end, they are willing to kill hundreds of innocent people and give up their own life as well. It’s all based on lies. One way you can tell they are lies is that the lies must never be questioned. Not to believe the lie is to be punished or even kicked out of the club.
I’m mainly a visual person. I’m much more distracted by, for instance, a butterfly wafting by than a truck backfiring. Like nearly everyone, I love music. But I don’t go out of my way to hear it nearly so much as do many others. But there are sounds that I love: Simple sounds. That is why the poem itself needs to be short and neat. Those are the kinds of sounds I’m talking about. Discrete.
And some of these sounds I think I inherited a love for. Others, I grew to love. And some sounds I believe have elements of innate beauty and of learned significance. The sound of a well-hit baseball is satisfying in some deep sense over and above the significance in terms of the game. It has a resonance of beauty beyond the even more important sense that it shows what humans are capable of. All of us feel pride when we watch an athlete perform some amazing feat of strength and skill and training and will and concentration all coming down to a moment of truth and *CRACK!* there it is and you know long before it clears the fence because you heard the Home Run first.
So, there’s that. But I can’t help wondering why we can’t find a way to also feel pride in all the accomplishments of all human beings. They’re all in our family. And, we recognize that, at some level. See paragraph above.
The snapping sound of a puppy’s jaws “missing” a toy is something I haven’t heard for many decades. Sadie reminded me of that sound from more than a half century ago. Some sounds you remember your entire life.