Nowadays, many people will tell you that any fourteen line poem is a sonnet. But I still abide by the rules of the Shakespearean sonnet, which are as follows:
- 14 lines
- ABAB rhyme scheme (for the first three quatrains; the last couplet should rhyme)
- Entire poem follows iambic pentameter (read this to learn more about iambic pentameter)
Following such a strict pattern can be difficult, but I think it makes the poem all the more rewarding to write. The poetry form itself is also beautiful if you stick to the rules regarding rhyme scheme and formal meter. Because sonnets focus so heavily on what the poem sounds like, it ends up being very lyrical and pleasing to the ear when read aloud.
This is the first true sonnet I’ve written, and it’s based on something that actually happened:
Of Stinging Beasts and Shining Knights
She dashed inside the house with loud a scream,
Her hair a tangled mess and heart afraid
Of stinging beasts with angry stripes agleam;
Yet someone brave did rush at once to aid.
Her daring savior stop to think did not;
His hands were bare yet banished all the beasts
And bore the stings as he so bravely fought;
Until they were destroyed he would not cease.
The shining knights may ride with swords and skill,
And over them we swoon but do forget
About the one with armor none but still
Alone protects his dear from any threat.
The truest love’s not charm or glamor pure;
It’s what for someone else you would endure.
The Rainy Day
The rain, it falls in sheets that flood the earth;
It dribbles down the collar, soaking skin,
And splashes from above for all it’s worth;
The puddles turn to lakes as fog rolls in.
Tis dreary, dismal, damp, and wet a day;
It drenches spirits and it pours on thoughts,
Inducing one to sleep or hide away
With sorrow and despair the mind is fraught.
We long for carefree days of summer sun,
Of light that turns the leaves of trees to gold.
Yet dreary days, they can’t amount to none
And golden days can’t always be so bold
Though murk and gloom are not what we adore,
They make the shining rays worth so much more.
At times my travels take me far away
To thrilling lands that beg to be explored,
And here I like to spend each night and day
Adventuring from shore to distant shore.
Yet oft I find my thoughts begin to stray
To cozy evenings spent in my own bed;
The family room where raucous games are played;
The bookshelf where I’ve left no tale unread.
The garden bench on which I sit, carefree
As robins in the birdbath splash around;
The kitchen table where I drink my tea;
The sofa that invites me to lie down.
No matter where I wander or I roam,
It always brings me pleasure to come home.