by Thomas Davis
Words crawl, or dance, or hurl into the air,
And as their meanings symphony
A universe born from complexity
Derived from how we humans try to bear
The waves of minutes marching unaware
Toward an ocean that no one can see,
Life crawls and dances, hurls its vibrancy
Past any time of hope or bleak despair.
As thin as paper deep with crawling words,
We dance and hurl ourselves into our world
As life swirls time into the thoughts we are
And consciousness, like sparkling hummingbirds,
Discerns, then speaks of times and meanings curled
Into eternities beyond the fires of stars.
The new issue of The Road Not Taken, a Journal of Formal Poetry has just published one of my sonnets, “Spreading Wings.” You canhttp://journalformalpoetry.com, then click on the Spring 2016 issue and scroll down. Since both of our daughters, Sonja and Mary, were present at the poetry reading at the Reader’s Loft Bookstore in Green Bay (http://www.houseofthetomato.com/march), I read this Italian sonnet there. The sonnet is about them when they were young. I wrote it during an extremely terrifying time in Ethel’s and my life when Kevin, our 27 year old son, was in the process of dying from cancer. Writing sonnets (I wrote 44 in all) was the only way I could bear what Ethel, I, and, of course, Kevin most of all, were going through. What concerned me day after day was our family and remembering incidents that made up the substance of our lives as a family. This sonnet tells of a time that I remember with great love in my spirit.
Raising children is not always easy, but I like to think that at least part of what Ethel and I have achieved in life is the way our two daughters have reflected into our granddaughters and grandsons. They both are beyond outstanding parents, always willing to sacrifice so that their children can meet whatever promise they have in life. I am also convince that they are great teachers because of the spirit they have inculcated from the time they were toddlers, dancing through life with a verve that gives no quarter to a universe that is not always kind.
I hope those of you who go to read the sonnet will enjoy it.
by Thomas Davis
An Italian, or Petrarchan, Sonnet
He searched a year to find the cedar tree,
Determined that he’d find a lofty lord
That towered dark and gleaming like a sword
Thrust upward with a shaggy filigree
Of branches singing winds into a sea
Of sky where hawks and eagles soared
And wings stitched sky to land, a linking poured
Into the heartbeat of his fantasy.
He dreamed the tree into the song he sang,
Then fingered ancient rosewood cello strings
Into the filigree of cedar wind
That bowed as cries of distant eagles rang
Into the sky and wove tree, song, and wings
Into a music that will never end.
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 gonecyclingagain.com 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 inaweblogisback.wordpress.com has joined us in our sonnet writing challenge.