Thanks to everyone who submitted a sonnet. You all deserve a shiny blue “participation” ribbon. But only one of you will walk away wearing the sparkling rhinestone tiara and impractical ceremonial sash of the 2010 Sonnet-Off Champion Poet Of The Year. Whom will it be?
Without further ado, I present, for your consideration, this year’s entries:
Some poets say that love is like the fire
Of homestead hearths that burns to keep up warm –
That cheery flame that never seems to tire
And dances madly through the fiercest storm.
But love is not the quaint and cheerful burn
Of crackling logs beneath the whistling flue;
I feel it in the sharp primeval yearn
For shelter from the howling force of you.
Like Northern skies of January night
By gaseous, cold auroræ can be split
My soul’s blue welkin empties to the sight
Of stars as cold and lifeless as a pit.
And as the twisting cedars squeal and groan
I find myself exposed, in love, alone.
B. Never Was The Real Thing
There is a certain look that people get
When thinking back on choices they have made
(And most of all the people they have laid):
A mixture of revulsion and regret.
It happens when they think on how they met –
A crowded bar, perhaps, or pride parade.
They have their reservations, but they’re swayed
By cocktails, and they willingly forget.
Then two days later starts to come the doubt;
They ask themselves, “What was I drinking then?”
They see now that it wasn’t meant to be.
They tell their poor admirer that he’s out –
They just don’t know what they were thinking then.
Now, need I say that’s how you look at me?
C. Rattling Heart
In truth, I guess at what is true and real,
We hide, we dodge, and tango up with truth,
Be it found by our tongue’s deep and wet feel,
After it glides by lips as sweet vermouth?
Or burrow and hide until found by gaze,
But dance from light into dark of shadows,
Or jump from view into a fiery blaze,
Coming as smoke from exhale, sigh, and blow.
Does it etude a sound like crooner’s song,
In volume with lyrics from a poet?
Yet twists, and lies may turn it out so wrong,
And the echos of sound might not know it,
I believe we know by rattling heart,
Is to where it ends, as well as its start.
D. Dharma Burn
I find myself again in human form,
Another inning in this karmic game:
A thousand thousand times I died, was born,
And suffered life, with only me to blame.
I know the Buddha hangs it on desire,
This misery we unenlightened bear.
If I could only feel detached, this fire
Would cease to burn, completely starved of air.
But yogis, gurus, wise men, monks, et al.
(Ascetics who have learned to do without)
Have never been completely in the thrall
Of love like this, that turns me inside out.
Nirvana’s great, but choose between the two –
What good’s enlightenment compared to you?
E. The Love Sonnet of J. Alfred Prufrock
Within the room the women come and go,
With arms all braceleted and white and bare,
Still talking of don Michelangelo.
I wonder: “Do I dare?” and, “Do I dare?”
And, “Do I dare disturb the universe?”
I’ve known the mornings, evenings, afternoons,
The visions which a minute will reverse:
I’ve measured out my life in coffee spoons.
I’ve heard the mermaids singing, each to each
(But do not think that they will sing to me),
Worn flannel pants and walked upon the beach
And lingered in the chambers of the sea
By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown
Till human voices wake us, and we drown.
F. O Bitter Bubbles
The ancients of the Fertile Crescent brewed
That liquid that warms souls once it ferments.
This nectar spans the ages; cultures wooed.
Most brews deserve acclaim, but some, laments.
From mead to ale we see advances made;
Clear lager from dark ale – a trend so swell.
But don’t allow beer’s history to fade,
For lager’s born of pilsner dubbed Urquell.
Quite lifeless are now lagers – sadly plain;
Such weakly hopped concoctions – Oh, for shame!
The water Plzeň bears, no else can feign.
True pilsner hails from Czech; deservèd fame.
At paltry pilsners, purists soundly scoff.
Authentic pils, Urquell; I crave to quaff.
Don’t you dare desert me by your hand.
The thought just makes all reason seem to flee.
I never thought you’d choose to make it end,
don’t prove me wrong and take it all from me.
I say you better damn well stay intact,
for if you don’t, I say this to you now:
if you go, you make it more a pact.
I would be close behind, that is a vow.
It’s since I love you more than words can tell,
that I would feel that I would follow soon.
Do not, for weakness, make my life a hell.
Don’t end both lives, don’t take from me my June.
If you die, I end without a trace;
Love and Earth dissolved with your erase.
H. How to Live Life
If I consume this life with past anger…
What awaits me? A list of all my faults? Damn.
The mirror shows and addict. Who’s bitter?
Pride shoved into a sore throat. Life’s a sham.
Frequently I turn for empty guidance.
What’s found is life long independence. Damn.
Sometimes one’s fate gives them a decent chance.
Responsibility is quite heavy.
What’s right and wrong become a sinful dance.
The final result is a dreamer,
Someone who strives to be ever better.
I hacked your facebook page, and then, in spite,
I changed your status update to “IS GAY.”
I made a copy of your key one night
And threw a party while you were away.
A fit of spite compelled me to take down
Your photos, and destroy them in a fire.
And spite it was that made me tell the town
That you were sleeping with the highschool choir.
In spite, I threw your clothes out on the lawn
And threw your books out on the driveway, too.
In spite, I flushed your toothbrush down the john.
In spite, I filled your CD ROM with glue.
In spite, I did these things and more besides,
And yet – in spite of this – your love abides!