Writing a sonnet is challenging and rewarding. Sonnets are often winners in contests compared to other forms. Once I learned how to complete a sonnet, the form became one of my favorites. Sonnets in English are usually fourteen-line poems of iambic pentameter with a rhyme scheme that follows any of the several traditional patterns. I like writing the Shakespearean Sonnet best of all.
The following poem is one of my Shakespearean sonnets. It appeared in Encore, the National Federation of State Poetry Societies, Inc. anthology, in 2000.
BRIDGING THE ABYSS
Blue waves of water broke upon the shore,
where Bonny laughed and played that misty day,
and splashed and dragged her to a cold, sand floor
where depths of dark replaced her world of play.
Her mama rushed to edge of rolling sea
as black storm clouds like veils of midnight came.
Her heartbeat’s rhythm pounded out a plea;
she thought she heard her Bonny call her name–
but it was . . . only rising, frothy foam
from angry sea — untamed, a friendless thief,
who dashed away her special spark of home,
and turned her joy into a burning grief.
“Oh, God,” she prayed, “Take hold of Bonny’s hands!”
Then raindrops pelted hard the silent sands.
Beside the sea she knelt on dampened sand
at water’s edge where jumbled seaweeds sway
close by the spot she last held Cindy’s hand
before tsunami took control that day.
The heap of tangled heartache has no end. Please let it stop, she prayed, then saw the sky
was red as flames–a warning to extend
to sailors. Please keep him safe. He must not die!
Oh, calm the waters on the raging sea.
Protect his boat as waves rise high and fall.
Give him God Speed and bring him back to me. Her voice grew dim in roar of summer squall.
Request denied, she wandered on the beach,
her loved ones close in heart–but out of reach.
The rain in winter hits the ground to run
in rivulets to muddy pool and creek.
The hidden, strong and glaring rays of sun
dare not to draw the veil for one quick peek.
And so it is a weary time, at best
for man within the waves of winter’s rain–
for beasts of burden, birds upon a nest,
for all who shiver but do not complain.
When warming sun removes the veil, at last,
and man is glad at sight of newborn day,
perhaps the worst of wintertime is past
and green-leaf spring is somewhere on its way.
Only the sun can take away the chill
and wake the sleeping daisies on the hill.
c Copyright, 2013, Freeda Baker Nichols
(Shakespearean sonnet, one of my favorite forms to use in writing poetry)
The hat of felt my daddy wore was bent
around the edges of its sweat-soaked brim;
my daddy wore it everywhere he went.
I keep it now in memory of him.
Inside a box it sits on closet shelf.
I often think I should discard it now,
and yet I simply cannot bring myself
to throw away the hat he wore to plow.
My daddy’s strength, his heart, his steel-blue eyes
made straight my path and edged my walk with pride
and gave me hope beneath bright sun-filled skies,
gray-dimmed and damp the day my daddy died.
The hat of rich worn felt looks out-of-place
away from daddy’s deep-lined, humble face.