Saturday, August 27, 2005

Morning Couplets

What a morning yesterday! The air was still cool from the lengthening August nights but the sun was just beginning to get that height in the sky where things warm up. The sound of crickets carpeted the landscape. And the river! What an early morning perambulation! I had started this sonnet-month with walks such as these in mind. But as this month has progressed, my attention has been diverted to other topics, although the sonnet has remained.
Sonnet August Twenty-Three

First the sun—December-high but April
intense—allowing dark to gather still
in shadows—midnight-cool-opaque—but brief.
The crickets next—low-lying bas relief
of higher frequencies—earth-treble-sound
—gathered still within that shadow-ground.
Dew—it lacquers every car with dash,
and on the road in shadows toward that splash
of light—atomic-bright—completely fair
—refocusing near molecules of air
in horizontal motion towards the river—
rippled-indigo—a liquid shiver
—reflection of illuminated skies.
This morning is opening my eyes.

~Son Rivers 2005
I should say “sonnet” of course, because these are not the classic kind. I’ve addressed that previously and have adopted Annie Finch’s nomenclature: formal and semi-formal deformations of the form. I’ve been leading more to the formal deformations of late, leaving out the rhyme for the most part. But not the reason I hope. K. Silem Mohammad addresses a question posed by Mike Snider yesterday in a very reasoned post which ultimately revolves around a “closed, static mode of taxonomy” and a “dynamic mode of functional ontology,” which despite the high-faluting speech, is exactly right. I’ve known some to argue that any poem other than one in meter is not a poem, but prose in broken lines. And I’ve heard some argue that random prose is a poem. There’s no bridging that gulf (and I certainly couldn't or wouldn't try). It’s too fundamental, almost theological. I probably sit somewhere in the middle, as usual. And, if any one cares, it should be understood when I write such sonnets that I’m writing “deformations of a sonnet,” but just sonnet for short.

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