Goose Thunder

by Thomas Davis

An Italian, or Petrarchian, Sonnet

All week green waves had groaned and cracked great chunks
Of gleaming ice onto the bay’s curved shore.
Then waves of geese, wings arched, began to pour
Onto the shining lake—small, gabbling monks
Dark-cowled in heaven’s shining, winding trunks
Of bodies stirred by Spring’s esprit de corps
As gabble after gabble, more and more,
Became a mass as open waters shrunk.

A V of snow geese, white with sun-drunk wings,
Swooped down upon the lake. The darkness stirred,
A whirling vortex wild, as honking cries
Become a water spout so large it flings
The lake into a shadow, waters blurred
By roiling, whirring-dark, goose-rising skies.

Note: Nick Moore and I have been attempting different sonnet types the last few postings. I dedicated the first sestina I wrote to both Nick and John Stevens, two poets who gave me the courage to try to write one. I then followed that up with the insanity of a double sestina, “The Time of the Poetic Spirit’s Splitting,” a poem I am still pleased that I wrote. Nick then wrote his own double sestina about cycling, one of his passions, that is better than Algernon Charles Swinburne’s “The Complaint of Lisa,” the first double sestina ever written by one of the great poets in history. All of this, along with a lot of other really good poetry, can be found on his blog. There are a few wordpress poets who have influenced me over the years. Nick Moore is certainly one of the most important of those poets. He has published his Italian sonnet in response to our current sonnet-writing effort on his blog, along with his Spenserian sonnet. He, like I, have long written Shakespearean sonnets. Ina Schroders-Zeeders at has joined us in our sonnet writing challenge.


Filed under Poetry, Thomas Davis

20 responses to “Goose Thunder

  1. Another great sonnet. Way out of my league! I applaud you all.

  2. à propos of the sonnet form– it’s good for stretching and toning the versifying muscles, yet always a challenge to fit one’s thought or vision to a Procrustean bed….especially if the thought is complex, or the vision is original. And if I were to see poetry as a competitive sport, it would take away my joy. (Is this because I’m not “a guy”?) A set form can be a liberator or a. crutch….it all depends.
    I’ve read several of your sonnets now, and they’re quite fine, in my humble opinion. “Goose Thunder” is an accomplished sonnet and a lovely poem too. That image of the “waterspout” is gorgeous and unforgettable!.

    • Cynthia, the competition is not to see who can write the best sonnet, but to challenge us to stretch out of our comfort zone, I’m afraid. God forbid that it ever becomes a competitive sport. I agree with you. I’m sure Nick does too. Thanks for thinking Goose Thunder is an accomplished sonnet. From you, with your skill, that has meaning.

  3. Say….I have an idea. Let’s all try to write a DROIGHNEACH …..(.Just kidding.I haven’t life enough, or time…..)

    • Cynthia,
      If Gerald Manley Hopkins and Dylan Thomas could modify Droighneach and come up with masterpieces, what’s wrong with trying? I’m not sure about you, but I’ll take your note as a challenge and see. No promises, but it is intriguing. I told ExtraSimilie, Jim, about Droghneach and, good poet as he is, he reacted with disdain.

      • According to my favorite Book of Forms (Lewis Turco, 1968)….

        DROIGNEACH (pronounced dray-ee-nock) is Irish. Syllabic. A loose stanza form. The single line may consist of from nine to thirteen syllables, and it always ends in a trisyllabic word. There is rhyme between lines one and three, two and four, etc. There are at least two cross-rhymes in each couplet. There is alliteration in each line—usually the final word of the line alliterates with the preceding stressed word, and it always does so in the last line of each stanza. Stanzas may consist of any number of quatrains.
        The poem (not the stanza) ends with the same first syllable, word, or line with which it begins.
        A possible scheme:

        Lines: syllables and rhymes:
        1. x x b x x x x xxa
        2. x x x x a x x x xxb
        3. x x x x x b xxa
        4. x x x x a x x xxb
        5. x x x x x d x x xxc
        6. x x x c x x x x x x xxd
        7. x x d x x x x x x xxc
        8. x x x x c x xxd

        Now, Thomas, if you have the patience and fortitude to try this, “you’re a better man than I am, Gunga din!”

  4. Ina

    I so admire your poetry skills and this is a very beautiful sonnet! 🙂 as for these sonnets, I loved doing them, it is great fun to try and make it as much a good sonnet as possible 🙂 which for me also means finding more new words to use lol. 🙂

  5. A poem of tremendous power, Tom. Majestic imagery, capturing the drama and grandeur of nature in the raw – there’s a real sense of place and scale here. By linking the geese so closely with the water – waves, vortex, waterspouts – you give them an elemental quality, which I believe they have: their distant calls at dusk seem to belong to another time and dimension. But there’s something haunting and elegaic about this poem, too, which suits the sonnet form perfectly; a feeling of endings, as well as beginnings; of leaving, not just arriving. A glorious write, and a deeply staisfying read. Bravo, my friend. N.

  6. A truly splendid contribution, Tom!

  7. I like this a lot, Thomas. It certainly satisfies the rules of the form but it does more than that for me: the syntax flows in natural speech, there are several beautiful phrases (I would pick out ‘monks dark-cowled’ as being striking and apposite) and the content is a strongly painted and exhilarating scene. Bravo you! You make me want to go back to the sonnet form myself!

  8. Anna Mark

    I love the way a sonnet continually draws me to the last word in each line, it is so satisfying, like stepping on one beautiful stone after another, and satisfying to then look back at all the end words, to say them aloud and be reminded of the flow, the whole content, of the poem. It is also interesting that at times I lose the form because the imagery is captivating in and of itself. When I read it a third time with both imagery and rhyme integrated in mind, it is quite wonderful! I have never attempted a sonnet! But I keep waiting for a poem to just seem like it may lend itself to one…

  9. Another to print out and appreciate all the more!

  10. You are a true craftsman, Thomas. This is a wonderful piece. I enjoyed slowly stepping through the lines and appreciating the thoughts that finally landed in the patterns you so carefully crafted. I have yet to write a sonnet – of any description – but one day soon I will try! You certainly give me pause for thought. 🙂

  11. I know this post is like 6 years old but it reminds me, I wrote a sestina years ago. Only once have I written it. I have not even attempted to try to write another one since that time. It was great when I wrote it. Thanks for a nice memory.

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