Shelley Hansen - Lady of Lines

Poem of the Month

February 2020

The great English poet William Wordsworth said, "Scorn not the sonnet." Indeed, this short 14 line poetry format has flowed from the pen of the world's greatest authors. The two main sonnet forms are the Petrarchan (Italian) and the Shakespearean (English) sonnets. They are quite distinct in their respective rhyming patterns. I have used one of each to describe the moods of two Australian seasons - Summer and Winter.

Outback Summer
(Shakespearean Sonnet)

© Shelley Hansen 2020

Dead calm across the plain as nothing stirs
except for haze that shimmers from the ground.
No grass is here - just dust and angry burrs,
with buzz of flies the solitary sound.
I look to empty skies, so hard to view,
where even birds take shelter from the sun.
At dawn they come to search for drops of dew
and do not come again till day is done.
The tyrant Summer holds her reign supreme -
and leaves oppression as her legacy.
No mercy in her hard heart, it would seem -
the healing rain withheld by her decree.
How long must we endure in bitter grief?
My parched soul longs for autumn's sweet relief.

Queensland Winter
(Petrarchan Sonnet)

© Shelley Hansen 2020

My winter is not filled with ice and snow,
with roaring fires or skating on the lake.
The branches do not bear a frosty flake,
the sting of sleeting rain I do not know.
With cool clear days my winter is aglow!
The chill of early morn calls me awake
to watch the gentle sunrise overtake
pale moon, and on the land his smile bestow.
Benevolence has tamed his fiery heat -
he showers dancing diamonds on the stream
and bids the wind be still and stir no wing
of dozing bird, lest he disturb its dream.
The dormant earth must have her rest complete
before she wakes to face the birth of spring.

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