I’m currently putting the last editorial touches to the star turn in December Snakesin. It’s I Sing the Sonnet, the latest in our irregular series of e-chapbooks. The poet is Duncan Gillies MacLaurin, and it’s twenty pages of fourteen-liners, the fruit of twenty-five years experimenting with the form.
All of Duncan’s poems follow the traditional sonnet rhyming patterns, but in some of the poems (and they are among the ones I like best) he has moved away from the iambic pentameter used by most sonneteers in English, to see how the form works with four beat lines, or seven beats.
And why not? Shakespeare included a tetrameter sonnet in his collection. Here is one of Duncan’s:
Mama’s Little Boy
A tearaway with golden curls,
he’ll always be a darling boy,
your little pet, your pride and joy,
the odd one out among the girls.
You worshipped that precocious child
who trusted you and shied from crowds,
the silver lining in the clouds,
a highland burn, remote and wild.
You’d cut him out to be a star,
a maestro on the violin,
a new Yehudi Menuhin.
You never dreamed he’d play guitar;
and now see nothing to commend
this bully charging round the bend.