Sonnet to a Poet’s Hands

The young man’s hands were slender, quick and strong,
composing sonnets to his unknown muse,
creating worlds in drama and in song
to challenge the emotions and amuse.
The busy writer’s hands were stained with ink
and words. His skin was cracked and raw with rhyme.
The scratching of the pen spurred him to think
and melting wax of candles told the time.
The hands that once were softened by caress
sometimes were stiff and talon-like with age;
eager to hold and often poised to bless,
his falt’ring fingers fought to fill a page.
­   Those hands that conjured worlds with ink and quill
­    belonged to Shakespeare – also known as Will.

Kim M. Russell, 17th January 2019


My response to dVerse Poets Pub Meeting the Bar: Enjambment in Sonnets

Jilly is our host for Meeting the Bar and offering support for the month-long Sonnet Challenge.

This week, she reminds us that punctuation reigns supreme in shaping the meaning of language and poetry, and explains enjambment: why poets use this technique and how we handle it as readers of poetry. She uses the example of Shakespeare’s Sonnet 129 to demonstrate how he used enjambment to keep it fresh.

I chose to revise a sonnet I wrote and posted back in 2016 as ‘Shakespeare’s hands’.

21 thoughts on “Sonnet to a Poet’s Hands

  1. Very clever, bang on. I, too, used the Shakespearian sonnet rhyme scheme this time. The message really resonates with me since arthritis has crippled my hands, and writing in longhand becomes a spastic mess that only I can read; that and one finger typing keeps me in the game.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Glenn. My hands have become unwieldy too. I can type with both hands but they mix up the letters and sometimes type gobbledygook – better than mutilate spider writing! Imagine trying to use a quill!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. An amazing tribute to Will and I love how you focused on his hands – stained with ink
    and words. His skin was cracked and raw with rhyme.

    Appreciating the enjambment and rhyming verses too Kim. Cheers!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hands were important in Shakespeare’s plays, for gesturing among other things. Lady Macbeth’s hands, for example, and Romeo and Juliet touching palms. I can’t remember if hands play a part in King Lear or The Tempest.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think they did, in Lear – when he faces himself and is going on about diving into himself, his reflection etc. and it’s borderline absolute madness etc. – at least, that’s how I’ve always remembered it portrayed.

        and Brava – well done with this sonnet – it’s right ode to the Bard – and just dances on the tongue! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Lona. My own hands seem to have aged before everything else. I’ve seriously thought about wearing gloves all year round like they used to, but they wouldn’t go with the rest of my clothes! I need a some manicure magic.

      Liked by 1 person

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