Friday, March 27, 2020

Poetry Friday: A Classic

The theme for March's poetry challenge is: "classic, or to an image we consider classic, whatever form we wish."

Well, now. I wish I hadn't left this assignment to the last second. According to most definitions, "classic" has a time element to it, as in:  "judged over a period of time to be of the highest quality and outstanding of its kind."  Contrary to some book blurbs, then, nothing is truly an "overnight" classic.  We need the strong lens of history, the developed perspective of many generations, and the long, collective sieving through much debris.  Got time for that?

Me neither.  So I glommed onto well....a classic. The sonnet!  No one could argue with that. The form has stood the test of time, and survived endless variations, too. Even now, Patrick Stewart is reading a sonnet a day on Facebook.  But I wondered, even as I made my hasty choice...why did the sonnet survive? What makes it tick? What makes it last?

Turns out, other people have asked the same.  Here's a beautiful essay on "The Sonnet as Silver Marrow Spoon."  As esoteric as that sounds, it's actually a cool "how to" for teachers on stripping the form down to its basics for students to try. The author says a sonnet can simply be a fourteen line story that, around line eight or nine, is "nudged or diverted slightly in its path so that it turns and says something else."

He suggests trying it with an old family story.  I decided to try it with a fairy tale.


Note: I truly would like to try this as instructed, with a family story (the example given in the article is stunning) but for now, that's what I have. My fellow poets have done better.


Poetry Friday is hosted today by The Opposite of Indifference.


  1. Wonderful! I like how that first use of "classic" is sarcastic. And, the command to fall in love again and again and again. Wonderful spin on a, classic!

  2. Sara, I am tearing up. That ending really got me--though my very most-loved part is They weave a scheme, as fine as the mist. Oh. I want a book of fairy tale sonnets.

  3. Oh, this is beautiful.
    I'm slightly ashamed of my less serious take on things...

  4. "There's talk of forever. For a brief time."
    Oh, there's so much I love about this line. And Laura's right. The final couplet is perfect.

  5. I am reading a history of 'night' where the current chapter tells about the lure of night for sensual trysts, especially among the working folk, this in the 1600s. There are a few rhymes that tell of that "talk of forever. For a brief time". You've caught the fairytale magic in your sonnet beautifully, again and again. Thanks, Sara!

  6. Oh, Rapunzel! Hello again! I love your final couplet!!

  7. Oh, a doubly classic poem with form and story. I love it!

  8. Seamus Heaney, right in the heart. Whew. Thank you for that, and for the "stripped down" explanation, which I have always needed because sonnets intimidate me. You did yourself proud with your "quick classic." Like Mary Lee, I love the final couplet.

  9. That last line!! Oh mercy, my friend. How clever of you to revisit a classic through a classic form.
    How did you do this last minute???


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