Brittany is a self-published poet, poetry blogger, and aspiring children's book author who enjoys participating in poetry challenges.
Sonnets: What Are They?
A sonnet is a fourteen line poem with a fixed rhyme scheme. Oftentimes, sonnets are used with iambic pentameter. Sonnets were invented by the Italian poet Giacomo da Lentini during the 1200s. The word sonnet is from the Old Occitan phrase sonet meaning "little song." Sonnets are a classic poetic form that has been adopted across many languages around the world. Even though free verse has popularized tremendously, sonnets have allowed poets to examine religious, personal, and political problems. Primary schools are even allowed to dabble in the classic form of romance poetry.
Sonnets must rhyme in a specific pattern:
-Sonnets must be written in three sets of four lines and one set of two lines.
-The first quatrain will have lines representing an ABAB pattern.
-The second quatrain will use different words to rhyme using a CDCD pattern.
-The third line needs different words to rhyme using EFEF pattern.
-The two final lines are called a couplet using a rhyme scheme of GG
Shakespeare Sonnet 18 example:
A: Shall I compare thee to a Summer's Day?
B: Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
A: Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
B: And Summer's lease hath all too short a date:
C: Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
D: And oft' is his gold complexion dimm'd;
C: And every fair from fair sometime declines,
D: By chance or nature's changing course untrimm'd
E: But thy eternal Summer shall not fade
F: Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest;
E: Nor shall death brag thou wanderest in his shade,
F: When in eternal lines to time thou growest:
G: So long as men can breathe, or eye can see,
G: So long lives this, and this gives life to thee
Whew! That was a lot to take in! In this poem, I think Shakespeare was looking at a summer day that has limitations (despite the beauty) and eventually fades. He compared someone with that beauty from summer, but also showed superiority to it. I think death can't interfere with that because the subject will live forever in the poem, as Shakespeare suggests, will be read so long as there are people to read it.
Writing Sonnets in Modern Day English
Ready to get your hands dirty? I think writing a sonnet in modern day English will be an easy task if we follow the steps from above. I'm going to pick two subjects and write a sonnet for each. The first will be about love and the second will represent death.
My love for you is pure and strong
I'll fight for you in sleep
Writing sappy romance songs
My heart is joyous and weeps
Throughout the years you've been my rock
Through sunshine and the rain
Romantic nights spent on the dock
Traveling to Greece and Spain
Tender hands caress my skin
Your kisses make me soar
Always wearing a big, fat grin
Making me love you all the more
You give me meaning in this life
I'm truly glad to be your wife
When I cross into the other side
I'll be atoning for my sins
Re-watching my life makes me cry
Making my quiet head spin
I'll yearn for the chance to do life over again
Not sure where death will take me
Not knowing where or when
I'll beg and cast my pleas
Heaven seems too righteous
That's not the place I'll go
My life has been a crisis
I'll accept the final blow
The borderline of Hell opens up its gates
I walk with frigid movements towards my eternal fate
By: Brittany Benko
How to Write a Sonnet
John Hansen from Gondwana Land on August 07, 2021:
Hi Brittany, I enjoyed both your sonnets on love and death and also your explanation on how to write a sonnet and challenge. Here is a link to a couple of sonnets I wrote previously. Cheers.