Sonnet to negotiate peace with your dementia by Tracy Lee Karner

Sonnet to negotiate peace with your dementia

You’re dozing in your rocker, feet planted.
You clutch the chair’s arms, appearing prepared
for the shock of bad news, your neck slanted
head jutting forward. Oh my dear gray scared
bird, while invisible worms still burrow
you stop searching for a table to hold
your reading glasses. And then you furrow
your forehead, begin to snore. You turn old.
The unread want ads lie on your stomach.
They rise and fall between us as we breathe.
Will I tell you? No, I’d rather mimic
you now, observe in silence all that seethes.
I thought I might explain why we’re broken.
But sleep. This, too, will remain unspoken.

by Tracy Lee Karner

Twitter: @TracyLeeKarner

Tracy on Facebook

Editor’s Note: This poem delicately offers a glimpse into the slow loss of a person. It’s all the more poignant because the narrator’s emotions are strong, but kept in check by love.

Over the Edge by David Stephenson

Over the Edge

The wind was strong and at our back all day
So we sped merrily across a sea
Awash with floating patches of debris,
Mostly planks and oars and castaway
Crates and sea chests, and sometimes a stray
Capsized lifeboat, thudding sluggishly
Against our hull with tiresome frequency
And spinning and foundering on the ricochet.

The boats they sent to stop us have turned back
And there are no birds trailing in our wake;
We sail beyond the maps and charts alone.
And now the waters swirl and skies grow black
And in the distance vast waves rise and break
And we are doomed. If only we had known.

by David Stephenson

Editor’s Note: This sonnet offers the reader a bleak situation. It isn’t until the closing lines that the metaphor becomes real.

San Diego Sky by Jean L. Kreiling

San Diego Sky

At first you doubt the San Diego sky—
you think such perfect blue is bound to fail—
but there’s no limit to the vast supply
of azure backdrop for white sand and sail.
It seems the palms stand tall just to be near
that crisp cerulean consistency,
where sunshine polishes the atmosphere
with warmly steadfast luminosity.
Blue graciously recedes at close of day,
and for a passing shower now and then,
but at Balboa Park or on the bay
or by the piers, blue soon prevails again.
There’s not a lot on which you can rely.
but you can trust the San Diego sky.

by Jean L. Kreiling

Editor’s Note: This ekphrastic sonnet slips the reader seamlessly into San Diego with imagery that is clear and descriptive, but not melodramatic. The scene is restful, as is the poem.

Photo by Jean L. Kreiling

Vintage verse – Sonnet 54 by William Shakespeare

O how much more doth beauty beauteous seem,
By that sweet ornament which truth doth give!
The rose looks fair, but fairer we it deem
For that sweet odour which doth in it live.
The canker-blooms have full as deep a dye
As the perfumed tincture of the roses,
Hang on such thorns and play as wantonly
When summer’s breath their masked buds discloses:
But, for their virtue only is their show,
They live unwoo’d and unrespected fade,
Die to themselves. Sweet roses do not so;
Of their sweet deaths are sweetest odours made:
And so of you, beauteous and lovely youth,
When that shall fade, my verse distills your truth.

by William Shakespeare (1564-1616)

Vintage verse – Sonnet 102 by William Shakespeare

My love is strengthen’d, though more weak in seeming;
I love not less, though less the show appear;
That love is merchandized whose rich esteeming
The owner’s tongue doth publish everywhere.
Our love was new, and then but in the spring
When I was wont to greet it with my lays;
As Philomel in summer’s front doth sing,
And stops her pipe in growth of riper days:
Not that the summer is less pleasant now
Than when her mournful hymns did hush the night,
But that wild music burthens every bough
And sweets grown common lose their dear delight.
Therefore like her, I sometime hold my tongue,
Because I would not dull you with my song.

by William Shakespeare (1564-1616)

Losing the Art of Love (2017) by Ralph La Rosa

Losing the Art of Love (2017)

There was a time when poets sang of love
without embarrassment, when versifiers
happy at their trade were gracious liars
in measured sonnets. They’d imitate a dove,
an owl, perhaps a dawn-drawn bird above,
who sighting human beauty soon desires
to mate his heavenly might with earthly fires
of passion: begets a paradox of love.

But tapping keys that text or tweet romantic
notes is so archaic, old-school, stilted
that songs of love, once tender or ecstatic,
are elegies about the lost or jilted.
Raving in rhyme about a love that’s new?
Postmodern ironies evaded you.

by Ralph La Rosa

Editor’s Note: This delightful sonnet pokes fun at all of us.

Vintage verse – Sonnet 105 by William Shakespeare

Let not my love be called idolatry,
Nor my beloved as an idol show,
Since all alike my songs and praises be
To one, of one, still such, and ever so.
Kind is my love to-day, to-morrow kind,
Still constant in a wondrous excellence;
Therefore my verse to constancy confin’d,
One thing expressing, leaves out difference.
Fair, kind, and true, is all my argument,
Fair, kind, and true, varying to other words;
And in this change is my invention spent,
Three themes in one, which wondrous scope affords.
Fair, kind, and true, have often liv’d alone,
Which three, till now, never kept seat in one.

by William Shakespeare (1564-1616)

Vintage verse – Sonnet 127 by William Shakespeare

In the old age black was not counted fair,
Or if it were, it bore not beauty’s name;
But now is black beauty’s successive heir,
And beauty slander’d with a bastard shame:
For since each hand hath put on nature’s power,
Fairing the foul with art’s false borrow’d face,
Sweet beauty hath no name, no holy bower,
But is profan’d, if not lives in disgrace.
Therefore my mistress’ brows are raven black,
Her eyes so suited; and they mourners seem
At such who, not born fair, no beauty lack,
Slandering creation with a false esteem:
Yet so they mourn, becoming of their woe,
That every tongue says, beauty should look so.

by William Shakespeare (1564-1616)

Vintage verse – Sonnet 132 by William Shakespeare

Thine eyes I love, and they, as pitying me,
Knowing thy heart torments me with disdain,
Have put on black and loving mourners be,
Looking with pretty ruth upon my pain.
And truly not the morning sun of heaven
Better becomes the grey cheeks of the east,
Nor that full star that ushers in the even,
Doth half that glory to the sober west,
As those two mourning eyes become thy face:
O, let it then as well beseem thy heart
To mourn for me, since mourning doth thee grace,
And suit thy pity like in every part.
Then will I swear beauty herself is black
And all they foul that thy complexion lack.

by William Shakespeare (1564-1616)

Vultures by Laura Rutland

Vultures

We come—the vultures of old houses—
Circling through grass and knee-high clouds of weed
To stare with eyes jeweled in vulture greed
Upon a corpse of battered rotten wood.
We tear at nails with the talons of our hands
And gorge our pockets with their rusty shapes.
You taste the woodwork, I sample the stairs,
While another simply waits—expectant—stands
Before a half-dead row of cedars that
Mark an already buried path. They will speak,
We say, if wind blows. Reluctant vultures,
Hungry for a trace of wind, the faintest creak
Of wooden voice or moan. And these dead walls,
Oppressed by breathless wind and vulture calls.

by Laura Rutland

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Editor’s note: This sonnet uses anthropomorphism to illustrate the decay of human endeavor.