Tag Archives: Shakespearean sonnet

Religion as a Whiteness

by Thomas Davis

They fought religion as a whiteness, probed
To find a way inside their lives to let
The genius centered by His love, light robed
With justice, free slaves from the numbing threat
Dredged from the God of thunder who had touched
The white race with superiority and rights
That forged the chains that bound free spirits clutched
With anguish felt through years of days and nights.

The abolitionists reached out and tried
To build invisible, faint trails the god
Of whiteness couldn’t find since he denied
The wrongs done in his name and lived a fraud
That failed to comprehend that souls of men
Could see his Christianity as sin.

Note: A sonnet from the novel, In the Unsettled Homeland of Dreams I am submitting to University of Wisconsin Press.

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Upon the Edge of Sanity and Fear

by Thomas Davis

The edge where sanity and fear collide
Whirls passions that are uncontrollable
Into events that spark events that tide
Across the barriers of shores and scull
Destruction, pestilence, a flood of woe
Fermented in assumptions drawn from trials
That litter through all human lives and flow
Like water over hopes, beliefs, denials,

And on the edge, in ferment’s shifting shape,
Decisions ratchet back and forth; dreams lure
The spirit as dire consequences scrape
Against the future suddenly obscure
Enough to paralyze the strength from hands
That long to civilize the hinterlands.

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Love Singing Alive the Moon

by Thomas Davis

Upon a shore where sheets of ice had stacked
Into a shadowed sky, the full moon round
And silver in a field of stars that tracked
The darkness with eternity, the sound
Of waves beyond the ice a lullabye
That serenaded who they were, they walked
And held each other’s hands and felt the sigh
Of what they’d lived inside the talk they’d talked.

And in between their words, love sang the moon
Alive to whom their dreams said they would be
As passion beat against soft silver strewn
As light across ice shards, a filigree
That echoed pulsing waves, blood stirred, inflamed
Into two lifetimes that was love exclaimed.

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The Silence of Old Men

by Thomas Davis

 As old men sink into their silence, words
Become entangled in the memories
And moments that are like a flock of birds
So dense in time and space they start to freeze
The meanings that an old man means to say,
Or be, or clarify to those who’d listen
As if he still had thoughts that might convey
Some sense beyond the silence of his person.

Inside the living room I watch his eyes.
I feel inside myself and try to hear
The silence as its heaviness denies
Old age’s bucketful of pains and fear —

And as I watch I know the old men in their silence,
Their frozen faces and their look of patience.

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Emerging Into Freedom

by Thomas Davis

Waves rolled with curving lines into the shore.
Lake Michigan horizoned into sky.
They watched a dark brown, white crowned osprey soar
Above the waves and heard its hunting cry.

Inside pinched spirits chained by slavery
And endless hours of suffocating fear,
Bonds loosened as the dream and fantasy
Of freedom suddenly seemed real, so near
To where they stood above the giant lake
They were not sure they had not reached a future
Aware of who they were, the earth awake
To spirits that had passed through deadly danger.

Inside the distant swamp they’d been but slaves.
They stood upon a hill and listened to the waves.
Note: I have been working on a novel about a black fisherman community founded on Washington Island prior to the Civil War in the wilderness of Wisconsin. This is the eleventh sonnet published here that heads chapters in the novel. I have made slow progress, but the novel keeps expanding, so we’ll see if I have the energy and capability of finishing it. I am less than half way through at this point.

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Publication in The Lyric

I just posted two sonnets and then the latest issue of The Lyric arrived in the mail.  The Lyric is the oldest magazine dedicated to traditional verse forms in the North America. Its website can be found at https://thelyricmagazine.com. My Shakespearean sonnet, “A Lover’s Song,” which was written to Ethel several years ago, is in the new issue. I subscribe to the magazine and have had another sonnet published in it about a year ago.

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By The Skin of Our Teeth, a Sonnet of Hope

by Thomas Davis

Sweet Bacchus in a passion ate his heart
As spirits floated through his pounding head.
The wood nymphs cheered, and rogues proclaimed the start
Of celebrations for the grateful dead.

The world went mad, and all the heavens rang
With shouts of drunken gods and mortal fools.
The mad embraced the mad. Chimeras sang
That chaos had replaced all laws and rules.

The stars inside the sky flew at the sun.
The peaceful moon turned red with hidden fires.
The night turned white and then began to run
Like liquid paint into the fires of funeral pyres.

But just before destruction raised its lovely head,
Sweet Bacchus died. Sweet Eros died.  Was dead.

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