Monday, September 22, 2014

Sonnet 10

Gain Mastery

When in a crush of many misled men
Our World scunners of horrible deeds,
A counter is born by all strong women
Who bear our children, birth new seeds :

Then, fresh generations gain the wheel,
Trims the sails, set the compass to steer
Vessel into clear waters. Where they feel
Gaining mastery is something not to fear :

And then, we of a lesser state, find comfort 
In understanding life on Earth gains in merit
From vitality pent up with genes of this sort,
Wishing for a more perfect union, to inherit.

Be these, the dreams to set aside our own misery
Of discontent or discarded woes, gains its mastery. 

Ronald C. Downie

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Sonnet 9

Trial And Error

When in the surge of history, we brace
Against the breadth of inane ignorance,
Which permeates those persons seeking grace
From worship, instead of, perseverance:

Then the tide swings toward understanding
Limits of man's faith in a modern world.
Scribes write their definition of meaning,
Describing the shackles, flags are unfurled:

And then, the inquisitive seek science
As it builds upon trial and error,
With preponderance on thought not seance,
 "This I Believe" just's a broken mirror.

Faith's failure leaves many disconsolate,
Though science, may they all repatriate. 

Ronald C Downie

Saturday, September 20, 2014

The Modern Sonnet

These days the sonnet has taken on a modern perspective; unlike in the days of Shakespeare, when sonnets spoke mostly of love in all its particulars. Sonnets written these days are capturing every aspect of life and thought. 

They're written with a rhyming fourteen line scheme and swagger to foot and meter. But, the true beauty of the modern sonnet lies in the shortness of its length, about a minute's time to read a standard one.  

These days poets are promoting their books by this notion of shortness, calling them, an hour of verse. Sixty poems at a minute each creates an hour of reading if done with no interruptions, that's the hook. Who reads a poem just by mouthing written words ? Sonnets are as addictive as most other types of written verse; they too draw the reader in, to read again, to capture a reader's mental state, to pause and reflect a proposition the author presents. 

Authors are not fools, neither are publishers. They know purchasers of poetry books are looking for writings that have a chance to jog their minds and titillate their emotions. The sonnet tries to do this in only sixty seconds, at least by those, who read quickly.

Ronald C. Downie
Sonnet 6

Writing's My Play

When I'm caught up in national political chatter,
I retreat to my front porch, weather permitting.
There, enjoy brown leaves dropping without clatter,
While squirrels chase and birds wing, rarely resting :

Then, comfortable on my rocker, I turn on the radio
To NPR or, if they're rehashing gotcha's of the day,
I dial in a classical music station. Walkers say, Hello!
My universe expands from this rocker, gone is play :

And then, birds catch my eye, with swop and flit
As they move from tree to tree, kind of like chase
When I was young. A large hawk glides in to sit
Tippy top of the steeple pointing to heaven's place.

The older we get, memory enlarges to fill our day,
Now I can't physically engage, so writing's my play.

Ronald C. Downie

Friday, September 19, 2014

Sonnet 5

Long Night's Activity

When, in the wake of dreams unfulfilled,
Looking back, reaching for past memories,
Stirring hidden hollows, hiding strong willed
Thoughts left for a long night sleep pleasantries :

Then, with tossing and turning, sweat arrives
From body heat captured by layers of covers,
Deepened sleep slacks as the mind's eye drives
Piercing nerve endings toward thoughts of others :

And then, over and over we relive day's events,
Real or are they derived of fiction or of facts ? 
A deep night's sleep would have provided vents
For the escape from rewind or rewrite of acts.

Into this netherworld of super active long days
Take deep breaths, relax, quiet, chilling out plays.

Ronald C. Downie

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Sow's Ear- Wishing It -A Silk Purse

What do you all expect ? Train a bird to sing, and sing it will. Train a dog to fight, and fighting becomes his style. Train a boy of eight to be aggressive, and continue his training in the ways of thuggery each year after year and what should society expect ? 

Couple the youths' training with a lifestyle of stressed, if not absent, traditional family structure and the child has little chance to fall back on a positive roll model to emulate. All through middle school, high school, onto the beginning of college these young men, trained in thuggery, are now expected to be pillars of our society. But, how would they know what it takes to be a pillar ?

It takes more than wanting to make "a sow's ear into a silk purse." When one experiences a lifetime of a drug culture, then add to this lifetime, a societal acceptance of unlimited, uncontrolled alcohol use, and what remains in a young man's mind ? Train him in football thuggery, feed him on a lifetime of televised killings, promote to him the honors of cage fighting and what are your expectations ?

"We reap what we sow" rings in our ears but seems easily forgotten. Football has become so prominent in modern day life that a few indiscretions by a few players can be easily overlooked. Television revenue makes learned men forget a lot of things, as does, office pools and tailgating. Yes, we are a Football Nation having a little hiccup right now but it will be sweep under the rug soon enough. Don't fret, young men trained to be aggressive fit right in to a military society. They'll be quite ready for War when it comes.

Ronald C. Downie

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

A Bard's Sonnets

Champion, in the world of writing plays, William Shakespeare also became the master of the sonnet, and all of his writings ring as meaningful today as when he wrote them. One hundred and fifty four sonnets were compiled and printed in 1609 under his name. 

His sonnets had structure: written in rhyming iambic pentameter of ten syllables per line divided into five feet per line, each of these feet were composed of one unstressed syllable and one stressed. This rhythm can be heard by the reader or listener in it's drumming of "baBoom" five times over in each line. His rhyme scheme, in poetic lingo, was : abab,cdcd,efef, and gg.

William wrote 14 line sonnets configured in three quatrains of four lines each, in which he developed  a problem or a theme and then followed them with a couplet that resolves or sums up the issue. Definitive were his sonnets while holding on to a confining structure. Shakespeare was the sonnets' master and  was rewarded by having sonnets written in his style named after him these past centuries, they're called Shakespearian Sonnets.

Except for the difficulty of writing in iambic pentameter, the other constructs of his style of writing sonnets are not too difficult to master. I have struggled many years to write a well constructed Shakespearian Sonnet but they seem not to cut the mustard for many people. Poor as they seem to those, I still publish them, because they ring well in content to me. I am competing with no one but myself and for those few who may read them for their content. I may only hope you are one of those who are willing to join me in my folly.

Ronald C. Downie