Sonnets 27 and 28

by Thomas Davis


His photograph was of a running boy,
the sunset red and orange, the spray of waves
afire with light, the boy suspended, brave
from being young, his crazy leap of joy
upon the lake-soaked dock a song to buoy
the spirit, calm a troubled heartbeat, stave
off nightmares, swear to dare to misbehave
in ways that shows that life’s a game, a toy.

He sat outside his cabin in the sun
and shyly let his mother see his art.
She looked amazed, as if the photo stunned
her sense of who her son was in his heart.

He listened to her praise, but looked chagrined,
as if her lavish praise was not for him.


Mosquitoes swarmed in visible gray clouds.
Inside the dusty parking lot he laughed
to see my face as I exclaimed out loud,
“Where is the spray? They’re making me half daft!”

“Ignore them, or your final epitaph
will read, here lies my Dad, whose mind unhinged
because mosquitoes worked their bloody craft
upon his face and made him wail and cringe.
Mosquitoes buzzed him to a lunatic’s mad fringe!
Forget they’re there,” he said. “The welps on welps
will scar your skin and let you go and binge
on campfire food or find a scout to help.”

He paused, “mosquitoes, once ignored,” he said.
“Sting skin, but let you keep your mind and head.”

Note: Sonnet 28 is a description of an experience at a boy scout camp near Oshkosh, Wisconsin.


Filed under Poetry, Thomas Davis

14 responses to “Sonnets 27 and 28

  1. Oh my goodness! This is such rich, vibrant stuff–I felt I was watching a home movie, Thomas! I can see my New Year’s project is to learn to write sonnets. God bless you and the family this New Year’s.

  2. I find Sonnet 27 riveting. In the first stanza you create an image then create a new image in the second stanza. And boy can I relate to that feeling in the final stanza. 28 reminds me (yes – even in winter) just how much I loathe mosquitoes.

  3. Sonnet 27 reminds me of so many times viewing my own son’s amazing artwork that captured the essence of the day. Thank you for the sweet memories that brighten my day right now. Sonnet 28 was ME at Girl Scout Camp near Brandon, MS in the 50’s!! I am laughing at myself right now. Your poetry has been very successful at touching us today! Thank you.

  4. What a great pairing — the first so personal and heartfelt, the second so much fun! There are just great in both expression and in the mechanics.

  5. I used to work in Richekieu’s canning factory and Katherine Clark’s Brown Bread Bakery in Oconomowoc – quite an experience – I could no doubt write a sonnet upon it –
    last line:
    “I still can smell the bread, still taste the peas.”

  6. I loved both of these so much, Thomas! That first one, so poignant, truly touching, almost delicate – and so full of love….

    And the second one makes me itch! Hope you had some calamine lotion! (Truly, my face is itching in empathy. And now my arms! I love it when a poem is so “immediate” that we can FEEL it!)

  7. Thomas! your words flow so naturally and ring so clearly.. I wish I could do that! I love both sonnets…. maybe the one about mosquitoes is my favorite… so full of humor and wisdom.

  8. rainalosariel

    They both have such rish imagery and a nostalgic feel to them! I could read this again and again and again, and still find something I didn’t catch the first few times. I love it!


  9. #27 ababcdcd efef gg Mother’s awe for artistic son
    #28 abab cdcddede ff Mind over sting keeps mind right

  10. How can I say how much I liked 27 without dismissing 28? Oh, I did. 😀

  11. Julie Catherine

    The many faces and emotions of life and nature in juxtaposition … both beautiful in their own way, and bringing life to their shared experiences. I loved reading these, Thomas. ~ Julie 🙂

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