Your shaggy, winsome countenance belies
A strength borne out of harsh austerity
Unparalleled, comparative to size,
A product of your insularity.
Your humble, compact form inspires delight,
Small children are entrusted to your back–
Beloved pets, devoted guides, despite
Strong will, which manifests in training’s lack.
And yet I cannot look into your faces
Without recalling how your forebears bore
The the pit and lash in suffocating places,
And how your brethren perished by the score.
Past sorrows make our present selves inclined
To err, I hope, upon the side of kind.
For JL Aldis, who requested a sonnet about Shetland ponies.
A common gull that flew toward the dawn
Was suddenly with pinkish orange aflame,
As lead by alchemy had undergone
Its transformation, baseness overcame.
I knew it was a trick of light, and yet
Its unexpected beauty gave me pause,
I fixed it in my mind, not to forget
The transient perfection that it was-
For who among us would not wish to be
But for an instant, thus illuminated,
That all who were so lucky as to see
Should with the memory be ever sated?
As sunlight may banal surfaces gild,
Am I when I with gratitude am filled.
With heartfelt thanks to those who helped me through 2014 with their support and kind words.
This is the last time I will write my life
Into a daily sonnet, those things great,
Exciting, middling, sad, and sometimes strife,
Through stubbornness one cannot understate.
Tonight, I’ll sing to thousands and the sky
To fete a civic gem’s centenary
Then dinner, where we’ll bid the year goodbye
And sonnet cycle done successfully.
Tomorrow, will it feel strange not to write,
Thus letting loose the stories in my head?
Or will those nagging feelings in the night
Inspire me to read a book instead?
To paraphrase the words of one less boring
Who knows? I’ll get the sled. Let’s go exploring!
Wan winter sun, the second to the last
Of this, the year I chose to sonnet daily,
Your rise announced all starts of poems past
And now, upon the end you shine so palely
Upon this concept that I’m now outlining,
Which has already set my scansion spinning
I know what words may yet survive aligning,
With confidence I lacked at the beginning.
And yet I feel that I have hardly started,
Since every day’s addition is discrete,
With each idea previously uncharted-
It’s hard to see this as a single feat,
Unless it is embracing introspection,
And finding good alongside imperfection.
I soar above the waves with little clearance,
As if an unseen cloak fashioned of breeze
From choppy waters wanting interference
Protects me over other devotees.
I rise in joyful arc into the sky,
Then turn my shoulder to the sea below
To dive upon what fodder I espy
And fill my bill, and through its grace I grow.
The ancients thought that I would pierce my breast
To feed my young, a sign of sacrifice,
But for the fish that I would fain ingest,
I’m not a favored heraldic device.
Thus, any symbol others may exalt
I’m sure to take with a large grain of salt.
As one conversant with verse, rhyme, and scansion,
And long-familiar forms of poetry,
It’s not surprising I should seek expansion
From borders of familiarity.
Though language’s music is eternal,
Specific phrases and their orchestrations
Can bring about acknowledgment internal
That such things, as Wilde wrote, produce vibrations.
And so when watching other tales that came
A few years after those I know too well,
They cannot but my memory inflame,
Along with pride that it was done so well.
Though kismet might have lighted my ambition,
T’was perspicacity made me audition.
It’s one thing to lack motivation when
There are a dozen things you’d rather do,
Like listen to beloved comedians
Pretend to fly a man to Timbuktu.
It’s quite another when you’d rather write
The thoughts to form the basis of a story
And not the piece that must be done tonight,
As it occurs in mental territory-
Ideas, like rabbits, tend to reproduce
When shielded from the crush of worldly stresses,
Yet their abundant presence can’t reduce
Anxieties that spring from their excesses.
Wild fancies sparked from works of great renown-
If only I had time to write them down!