January Month of Poetry: Part Two

This year my goal for Month of Poetry (MoP12) was to write a sonnet. In truth, I wanted to play and ‘perfect’ the form. Not that I particularly *loved* the form – but because in other MoPs participants who have written a sonnet speak as if they’ve climbed Mount Everest. A challenge? I’m in!

I asked my friend Di Esmond for some pointers. Which she gladly gave in her own inimitable style. You can read Di’s simple sonnet tips on the Month of Poetry blog.

I wasted a day on my first attempt. Tried three different sonnets, on suitably learned topics. Failed. Crushing defeat. Rising frustration. Those five strong beats were a syncopated constipated curse! I quit.

At which point, my anger and frustration bubbled over… (Oops…) and resulted in Sonnet: Finito.  ….. 

Sonnet: Finito

Sonnet! Away you evil, vile thing!
Your syncopated rhythm drives me NUTS
so go! No ifs or maybes and no buts…
Be gone! No satisfaction do you bring.

If venerable poets like the Bard
could scribble sonnets neither weak or pallid
then why – when I can write a rhyming ballad –
do I write a sonnet marred and deeply scarred.

Rue the wretched resolution made
before I even knew what I resolved.
Quit. And I am instantly absolved…
Persist and you must all try to dissuade.

But wait! The end is nigh. This sonnet writ;
a travesty of poetry and wit.

Funny. My laments inspired Karen Collum to write the fiercely passionate sonnet  A Mother’s Love.

My sonnet headache had only just subsided (two days later) when Megan Bickel wrote a stunner sonnet. To me, it ticked all the boxes – beautifully. Scroll down to the comments on Di’s Simple Sonnet post and you can read it for yourself. Then Penni Russon wrote an exquisite Kinglake Sonnet – not in the iambic pentameter rhythm, and I must confess that I find this four-strong-beats style much easier to read and write (!!!) since my lines naturally fell on four or six strong iambs. Then Catherine Johnson used the sonnet format to tell of excitement in her street…

At which point I decided to try again and write a sonnet that wasn’t a lament about a sonnet! In fact, I wanted it to wrangle an emotive issue dear to my heart. And I wanted to conquer that iambic pentameter. Once I got through the obligatory three failed attempts, (to write a sonnet, you must first fail three times and quit – and then…) Sonnet: Money Hungry flowed quite easily – in its syncopated, shuffle-footed style. The last two lines took more work – but I think they stand strong, now.

Sonnet: Money Hungry

Conviction cuts me to the core again –
that we should have so much – and much to waste
while round the globe the millions know not when
they’ll stay starvation with the blandest taste.

The table of the world is bountiful;
no need for any one to go without,
yet bloated bellies feel the wretched pull
of hunger pangs in countries cursed by drought.

Clean water in abundance, we abuse,
to run a river gushing down our drains,
while others labour, precious drops to lose,
never knowing cleansing flush of quenching rains.

It doesn’t take a millionare to care;
in truth, we all have much – and much to share.

I still can’t say I love the form. In fact, I’m even more convinced that I don’t speak or write in pentameters – even IF the many webpages I consulted inferred it was a natural pattern of speech. But I do feel that I have, at last, written a sonnet. And since it was such a struggle to do it, I feel quite… motherly-proud of the finished product. Besides – it ponders a message that is close to my heart.

It doesn’t take a millionaire to care. There are many ways that we can all positively impact on those who suffer much and have so little. Even children can have the joy of making a difference.

These are some organisations that I have loved – but there are many, many more.

World Vision:  Through World Vision we sponsored Dagouma until he was withdrawn from the program.

Compassion:  Through Compassion we sponsor Iragena. It is a joy to know that her life is enriched because of us.

Operation Christmas Child: Children love filling shoeboxes with gifts for children in need around the globe. Fantastic opportunity for schools and parents to foster kindness and empathy, while empowering young children, who love to give!

TEAR Australia:  Giving gifts that give again. You buy a gift to go to a struggling family in the name of your friend or family member. I then also like to give a related gift to the family member – like a chicken ornament or stuffed toy if I’m choosing the ‘give two chickens’ option. Or pen/notebook if giving school supplies. This makes it tangible for your family member, and the family in need.

Turn on the Tap: For safe, accessible water in the developing world.

It doesn’t take a millionare to care;
in truth, we all have much – and much to share.


  1. I loved this post so much, Kat. Thank you for your thoughts – and of course, I’m in total agreement.

    We, in the Western, ‘first-world’ countries have so much, and waste so much, it’s so unjust and horrible to be part of a world that, mostly through parentage and geography, so many can have so little, and so few can have so much.

    And I love your sonnets too! ♥


  2. You rock the sonnet already Kat. I love how each phrase stands alone as a great use of language aswell as the sonnet as a whole. Lovely rhythm too :0)


  3. Heart warming and inspiring, Kat. Your gentle and generous soul comes through. And as for the xsonnet? It worked damned fine for me! But alas I’m not a purist – I (to coin a much overused cliche) simply know what I like…

    Well done and have fun with the rest of your poetry quest.


    • Aww. That’s such a lovely thing to say, Kaz. Gentleness and generosity are definitely things to aspire to. Glad you enjoyed both. I read Sonnet Finito through again when preparing this post and I confess, I quite liked it too! 😛


  4. Pingback: January Month of Poetry – Done! « Kathryn Apel

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