October Sonnet

I look out on a bright October day,
bewitched by wanton sun and shadow-play.
The blush of autumn spreads its leafy hues
and drips its blood in scarlet vesicles.

Horse-chestnuts, heavy-laden, start to rust,
their tumbled conkers lying in the dust;
with spiny shells, some squashed and some half-split,
they wink the brown eye of a shiny nut.

The copper beech is burnished with the light,
the fading moon is all that’s left of night
together with a scattering of stars
that glitter in the frost formed on the cars.

I open up the door and breathe the scent:
the decomposing musk of summer spent.

Kim M. Russell, 11th October 2018

conkers

My response to dVerse Poets Pub Meeting the Bar: Iambic Pentameter  also linked to Poets United Poetry Pantry

Frank is our host this Thursday and he would like us to explore the general idea of iambic pentameter with no other constraints. He says that our poems do not have to rhyme; they can be as short as a couplet and have a limit of fourteen lines, which allows for a sonnet.

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73 thoughts on “October Sonnet

  1. Your sonnet is golden, autumnal and nearly perfect. You and Bjorn just shine when it comes to sonnets. I tend to use blank verse; the rhyming puts me off. I always think, how would Walt Whitman express it?

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    1. It’s the iambic pentameter that most people find difficult – and it’s tricky. Sometimes you have to shift words around until you get it right and it’s easy to lose patience with it. Sonnets don’t have to rhyme – some of mine don’t – and they don’t even have to be in iambic pentameter. I often taken part in Poetry School on-line courses and am always being criticised for ending with a rhyming couplet or for writing sonnets. They push us to write in experimental forms, which I also enjoy, but I think it’s up to the individual poet to decide how they want to express their ideas. I enjoy your poetry, Glenn, especially the anecdotal poems. 🙂

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  2. You can rhyme toots and your timing what a technician ! And who doesn’t love a game of a conkers? All so timely with Octoberfest and all the beer gardening. So personal I felt you colored it just for me. I would love to try to rhyme but I fear I would end up saying sounding like a child with nothing to but goo goo ga ga. Inspired anyway.

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    1. Thank you so much, Charley. Iambic pentameter is supposed to follow natural rhythm of speech in the English language, but I wonder if American English and British English have different rhythms and, if so. does it vary for different regions and which meter fits your speech pattern? Where do you naturally place stress?

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    1. And good morning, Sarah! I see you’re up with the birds too. I was shattered last night so I gave up on commenting and went to bed to read a Kate Bush biography that I’m enjoying. Now I have to prepare reading books for 5, 6 and 7-year olds – I’m at the infant school all day. Lunch at Cafe Charlotte, yay!

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  3. This is as traditional and formal as it gets — the pentameter’s almost perfect (I’d trade “or” for “and some” in the 3d line of stanza 2) and the heady rose of the Romantics plushes the images. So the challenge is to stand on one’s own, or apart somehow; or maybe it suffices to hang in there with the gods. Such questing aside, I found it heady and pleasant and a smooth ride.

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  4. Ah, I admire a good sonnet; and this IS one.

    My favorite lines are these:

    I open up the door and breathe the scent:
    the decomposing musk of summer spent.

    I really never thought the scene of autumn in this way & find it a masterful description!!

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  5. I enjoyed reading your poem. I hoped it would be uplifting, and found it so, even though you speak of summer spent…and it is. I always look forward to the transformation of winter…so good autumn is wedged in between.

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  6. My original comment has vanished. Alas. a truly beautiful sonnet Kim. I think American and English and Australian English all place emphasis on different syllables at times. when I speak in an “English” accent, I know I pronounce words differently. I wouldn’t change a thing in this lovely.paean to autumn. It is truly a beautiful and perfect sonnet as it stands.

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    1. Thank you, lovely Toni. Even in the UK stress patterns differ. I think that I might explore stress patters in some way the next time I host poetics. Could be interesting.

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  7. A wonderful sonnet – beautifully sketched and masterfully constructed. I find that you have a real gift for imbuing your pieces with a solid and satisfying close. To me, they always feel – somehow – complete.

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  8. Just lovely. And I love the closing lines. I don’t feel so poetic about October. The leaves haven’t changed yet and it’s been too warm and/or rainy.

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    1. Thank you, Colleen. We have plenty of colour here but my husband was up in Newcastle over the weekend, where they’ve been having terrible weather and most of the leaves have been blown off the trees.

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