My son, who is studying A-level English, gave my recent sonnet [posted 19 November] a thorough critique, and we found ourselves having an interesting discussion about the structure of sonnets. He issued a challenge: how far could you push the structure and still have a poem that ‘works’.
I thought I could probably play with the internal rhythm, the rhyming pattern and the style of each verse. For the rhythm, I wanted to try 5:1:3:1, followed by 2:6:2, 2:5:3 and 5:5; for the rhyme, AABB, ABAB, ABBA and AA; and for the style – well, it snowed this week, as you probably noticed, which has multiple impacts and connotations… see what you make of it.
Winter’s nearly here – look! Look outside! Snow!
Want to go and play? Sure. Wrap up warm – go!
Yes I’ll come out too – wait! Where’s my hat? Where?
Snowball fight you say? Yes! Here it comes – there!
Later, switching adult guises, he flies
Business, a suited trip up north, a deal
Beneath, the whitened kingdom waits, it lies
Silenced, a billion solo flakes, unreal
Structure: our cities and fields, mesmeric
Aircraft: our engineered birds, titanic
Snowflakes, crystalline magic, organic
Poem: playful and rhythmic, and metric
What flexible forms, these various themes
Lifting our daytimes, upholding our dreams