Remember Angela? Her original Glass Slipper post had a different opening, which I trimmed out for the sake of space. But I kept it, because it was so cheeky I just knew I’d want to be sharing it with you eventually. Today’s the day. [You’re on, Angela ]
So you want to be a sonneteer?
To prove yourself mistress of wit and master of sass?
To cultivate your inborn ability to think up, slap down, and grand slam fourteen-liners like it’s nobody’s business—and live to tell the tale?
Call a sonnet anything, but don’t call it subtle. The sonnet’s aim is plain: to woo them and wow them, to take no prisoners, to claim and keep her readers’ hearts with nothing but big sound and a little sense. She’s a diva, and as with every soprano joke you’ve ever heard, what she wants is all of everyone’s attention.
The sonnet is small, despite its big voice, and its diminutive size may make it seem fragile. But the sonnet is a shoe your feet would kill to fill, so why not?—try one on for size, walk the floor, dance a two-step, and see how it feels. My guess is that once you break it in, one sonnet won’t be enough—you’ll find yourself morphing into the Imelda Marcos of poets, the pages of your notebook lined with sonnets of every hue and make—Petrarchan, Shakespearian, Spenserian, Miltonic, Versace (okay, there’s no Versace Sonnet)—yet each of them bearing your signature stride and strut.
— Angela Alaimo O’Donnell
As it turns out, I struggled to wear the sonnet, but it didn’t quite fit my feet. My younger daughter shared my pain, while my older daughter wooed and wowed us at high-speed, composing sonnets like they were some kind of oversized Lego-blocks project: so easy that any three year old could do it.
While I think it’s important to discipline myself to try on the shoes of various poem forms, I understand that personality and brain-wiring somehow play a part. I may be sassy, but I’m no sonnet master, and I suspect I never will be.
However, that doesn’t exempt me from joining the effort. So, here’s my glass slipper sonnet. Complete with the “ouch” I felt while trying to compose. It must be said that the gracious James Cummins gave me some advice about punctuation, which slowed the sonnet down and turned the final line (which he also suggested I rewrite) into a statement. The sonnet is better for it. (Thanks, James )
Upon Learning that Fur Was Lost in Translation
(and then learning that it wasn’t, but too late for this sonnet)
What did fine French Cinder elles wear besides
glass, what high class did they hope to flaunt to
the ball, what gall muster towards, “I do”?
Did they eat ash, secret, pretend inside,
ache for privilege to take midnight steed ride
to prince, to price, to prove flamed thoughts, undo
braided tresses, guesses? Did they have clues
about the way ever-after collides
in fives, in tens, muttered end lines tight shut,
a fight to rise between odd hours ticking,
tripping like a da-dum tapped short, slight cut
into small rooms, I am‘s that jam, turning
coated slippers towards spondee minutes?
Where we pace time’s seconds on silk shirred string.
Post by L.L. Barkat. Visit L.L. at Seedlings in Stone, for more on writing, poetry, art and life.
Subscribe to Every Day Poems— Read a poem a day, become a better poet. In August we’re exploring sonnets.