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A Sonnet is a poem consisting of 14 lines (iambic pentameter) with a particular rhyming scheme:

Examples of a rhyming scheme:

#1) abab cdcd efef gg
#2) abba cddc effe gg
#3) abba abba cdcd cd 

A Shakespearean (English) sonnet has three quatrains and a couplet, and rhymes abab cdcd efef gg.

An Italian sonnet is composed of an octave, rhyming abbaabba, and a sestet, rhyming cdecde or cdcdcd, or in some variant pattern, but with no closing couplet.

Usually, English and Italian Sonnets have 10 syllables per line, but Italian Sonnets can also have 11 syllables per line.

French sonnets follow in this same pattern, but normally have 12 syllables per line.

 

Example #1:
 
Spring Sonnet - Shakespearean (English) sonnet

What winter winds do tear from tender limbs,
warm Spring replenishes to sunlit knowles
in seasons warm and ripe with natures hymns
when slumber yields to quickened breath in souls
which dwell beside dark waters, still and deep,
where leaf and bud are kissed by morning dew.
Along a densely wooded shore, I creep
and seek whats hidden there, from mortals view.
By Laurel Lake, the legends say, the wee
folk dance by light of day when winter snow
has once receded, leaving merrily,
abandoning the earth to things that grow.
Come, stroll down quiet country lanes with me,
as seasons bloom with possibility.

Copyright 2007 Susan Donahue

 

Example #2:

A City Sonnet
With acknowledgement to Kenny Rogers "Lucille"

What say you now of city's wondrous gifts?
Does your soul not crave the fields and flowers?
When shops and noise your heart no longer lifts,
Do you not mourn the passing of the hours;
Until once more the silver dew of day,
Sets shining on the golden heads of corn.
And when imbued with scent of new mown hay,
You hear the cockcrow early in the morn.
And did you find, that once across the hedge,
The pastures new, indeed were ever greener,
Or did you miss the warbling in the sedge
And hear the call of country ever keener.
With mystique gone and nothing more to see,
Come home my dear. The kettle's on for tea.

Copyright 2008 Alan Harris


 

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