Poem #27: Two Lovers in an Hourglass; Prompt #4: The English Sonnet

Two Lovers in an Hourglass

What makes us grow to wish these days away,
content to spend our hours combing sand?
The grains between our toes have much to say
to those still clinging grimly to our hands.

Encased in glass, we’re safe from fortune’s touch
as subjects in our own menagerie.
Though trapped inside we cannot hope for much,
the risks we face are minimized this way.

In time the coarse precipitate will fade
and facing us will be a question, too:
do we attempt to flee this cell we’ve made
or flip our fragile hourglass anew?

Well there is one thing history has shown:
The choice is not one I should make alone.

@NBF 5.13.2009


Los Angeles, 2008



This poem is an English Sonnet, the form employed by Shakespeare when he wrote his collection. Like blank verse, the English Sonnet is written in iambic pentameter. In addition, it uses an end-rhyme scheme of ABAB CDCD EFEF GG, upping the challenge a bit. I invite any serious masochists or poets (or both) out there to give an English Sonnet a try. The balance of narrative, rhythm, rhyme, and originality is very tough to maintain, but the satisfaction level of creating a great sonnet cannot be overstated.

The sonnet, though less popular today, has evolved over time and many twentieth century poets experimented with the form, including Robert Lowell and John Berryman.


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