[Being an hour of wandering around sonnets and declaring random things, in preparation for a panel discussion, while also thinking about sex…(only because sonnets are rooted in it (sex) of course)]
First Shakespeare, of course, and his first:
You are so freaking fair, I desire increase,
(which is not to say your heirs, but rather your audible airs)
(as increase comes from crescendo, the sound grows)
so, we have holes inside our souls, / but mustn’t we begin by filling others’? —Yes, that’s why I’d write a sonnet to you, and soon.
I open my mouth all the time to fill it with that line from the book called Desire:
“We fill pre-existing forms and when we fill them we change them and are changed.”
And then Frank Bidart wrote a sonnet, Love Incarnate, and it wasn’t his to begin with, but he changed it.
Every time I write in you, I am changed. See, here’s the hole, the breach! ( )
And so it becomes a business of breach and mend–
What are wounds for? Anticipants accrue
void to your harrow-vowel. Syllable
stammered and ordered, unitary will
deformed, divisible, consumptive blue
blotch is the gangrene weather! pall, ague
you atomize, cauterize — patient, shill . . .
Oh burn the blight. Just stanch it.
That’s Karen Volkman, from her book of sonnets that are so ethereal. And yet reading them, you cannot forget you have a body, and one that needs cauterizing, atomizing, stanching, in order to survive the wound opened by yearning…
As a tradition, sonnets lie so heavy on top of me. Of course when I say I feel something so heavy (and yet so full of preflight), I mean not a sonnet but a swan.
(Though both sonnet & swan come from sound, from the heart of the same long ago language.)
And they both make hearts so that others can eat them.
Someone told me and I have forever in front of students mouthed the words, “Pentameter most closely approximates the beating of the human heart.”
For this upcoming panel discussion, (or for you,), maybe I’ll just lock myself in the chamber and beat on the walls, while wearing a swan dress feathered in fourteen ways… For how can body, laid in that white rush,/ But feel the strange heart beating where it lies?