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Old 04-06-2001, 06:51 AM
MacArthur MacArthur is offline
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Portland, Oregon, U.S.A.
Posts: 1,317

(On the main thread SteveWal asked what the Formal expectations of a sonnet are, and this prompted me to think how rarely a sonnet which does not rhyme true or follow a fairly regular IP seems to actually work. In fact, in trying to think of an exception, only one came to mind...although I'm sure there are others.
Although I don't dislike D. Thomas, he's not a favorite poet of mine. But I've always been fond of the poem below. At first, I not only didn't realise it was a sonnet...I didn't realise it rhymed at all. The scheme is ordinary, but the rhyme and meter are very loose.
As I said, it's the only sonnet I can think of that works this way.)

Lie Still, Sleep Becalmed
by: Dylan Thomas

Lie still, sleep becalmed, sufferer with the wound
In the throat, burning and turning. All night afloat
On the silent sea we have heard the sound
That came from the wound wrapped in the salt sheet.

Under the mile off moon we trembled listening
To the sea sound flowing like blood from the loud wound
And when the salt sheet broke in a storm of singing
The voices of all the drowned swam on the wind.

Open a pathway through the slow sad sail,
Throw wide to the wind the gates of the wandering boat
For my voyage to begin to the end of my wound,
We heard the sea sound sing, we saw the salt sheet tell.
Lie still, sleep becalmed, hide the mouth in the throat,
Or we shall obey, and ride with you through the drowned

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Old 04-09-2001, 07:09 AM
SteveWal SteveWal is offline
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Manchester, England
Posts: 204

I didn't know this poem - thanks for posting it. Doesn't answer my question though - what are the formal expectations of a love sonnet? I'd like to know so I can assidiously avoid them in future

Steve Waling
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Old 04-16-2001, 03:01 PM
graywyvern graywyvern is offline
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: dallas
Posts: 718

Besides the usual technical requirements, i think a sonnet
should also (& more importantly) possess gravitas*;
& feature a thematic shift or twist in meaning, either
at the ninth line in an Italian sonnet, or at the thirteenth
line in an English one. This "turn" can come earlier or later, but without it it's no more a "Sonnet" than a "haiku"
which lacks that quality of wordless profundity,


*serious intent, as opposed to a grave manner
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Old 04-21-2001, 12:29 AM
Christopher Mulrooney Christopher Mulrooney is offline
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 356

Dylan Thomas is such an orderly composer of verse, and he found the Eisteddfod amusing. I take this to be a war poem; the first thing you notice is the modesty of those rhymes. They're diffused through the poem by the internal rhymes, which altogether gives the poem a modern structure.
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Old 05-01-2001, 01:58 PM
robert mezey robert mezey is offline
Master of Memory
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Claremont CA USA
Posts: 573

War poem??
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Old 05-01-2001, 02:07 PM
Tim Murphy Tim Murphy is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Fargo ND, USA
Posts: 13,831

His brain was at war with his liver.
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