Saturday, June 19

Moon wax sonata

Photo: © John Parminter at

Moon wax sonnet
One night I saw the bay undress the moon.
In gratitude she lit a candle shell,
And oozed her wax on choppy water dunes
That murmured songs for midnight’s breeze to quell.

The thrashing bass could splash no song as he
Convulsed and gasped, marooned on the puddled pier.
With eyes and gills agape, his dying plea:
“Return me now, my water sleeps so near”.

My heedless hand gave no release and, then,
no ripples troubled the moon’s reflecting pool.
I left him waxed in wood, went home again;
A child I was, unlearnt the golden rule.

New morning’s empty pier, my mercy to mull.
A moistened feather! Resurrected gull.
© Lorenzo — Alchemist’s Pillow

Photo: © luis filipe franco at


  1. "return me now,my water sleeps so near"... :)
    black and white photo is so .....feels like home to me,this entire post,thank you!

  2. With eyes and gills agape, his dying plea:
    “Return me now, my water sleeps so near”.

    This is so haunting. You have captured that unique atmopshere the mixture of land to sea.

    A real joy to read :)

  3. Dude...

    That first line is a poem unto itself.

    I quite literally said, "Holy shit," upon reading it.

  4. just beautiful---you capture the mystery of the nature and its ever changing beauty...I agree with Jeff first line sets the stage and says it all --wow;-)great work

  5. yes that first line is wonderful!

  6. I have the same thoughts as Maggie -- magnificent first line (and all those following).

    I am agape. And in agreement with JeffScape, too, four letter words included. Astonishingly good, but knowing you, I would not expect any less. :)

  7. the whole thing is have a marvelous flow and the word slip easily from your mouth in reading it...i do feel sorry for the fish and littl boy who lives with him now...

  8. I will be content to dwell with that first line a while ... Captivating!

  9. Thank you so much to everyone for your comments. As I often do, I will try to respond individually be email and/or on your blogs. As this is my very first attempt at doing a sonnet, I am heartened to see a warm response. The truth is that I find it quite hard to stick to the strictures of the sonnet form and iambic pentameter (more or less, with a couple of 'anapests' thrown in) and still have the words flow and images draw in the reader. But the difficulty makes it all the more rewarding if it works.

  10. you make this look so easy!

    very beautiful images and rhymes too.

    i'm looking forward to your second sonnet

  11. Lorenzo

    Like all the rest you had me at the first line.

    Your writing is profound and penetrating beyond what is superficial or obvious.....simply said a hauntingly beautiful sonnet.


  12. In this Sunday morning worship (birds) I join the chorus of the lovers of your first line.

  13. I love the notion of moonlight as melted wax on the waves. As everyone else has already mentioned, the first line is, indeed wonderful!

  14. This is so lovely, Lorenzo. So many beautiful images--I can't believe it's your first sonnet!

  15. Lorenzo, I just read your comment above, and I am amazed that this is your first sonnet. I would never have guessed that. This is so beautiful! The beat and stresses are wonderful. I am instantly pulled in when the bay undresses the moon. I can hear the gentle slapping of the water in each stress. There are so many phrases I love! The wet feather is a powerful ending. Absolutely gorgeous poem.

    P.S. - Have you ever read Fred Chappell's "Shadow Box?" I have recommended "Shadow Box" at least a hundred times to people who love sonnets. It is amazing. He writes sonnets in which the sestet nests within the octet...sort of an "inlaid" form or poem within a poem.

    I have studied it for months. I write my own. Unfortunately, mine suck...haha! But the suckiness of my sonnets is another reason I am so very impressed with yours. Fantastic work!

  16. Thanks, Margaret. I have certainly tried a few before, but gave up. I am glad I stuck this one out, though. Normally, I start a poem with an image or line I find compelling. Other times I have found that the demands of the form, with the rhyme structure and, especially, iambic pentameter, constrict that initial impulse, so I give up and go "free verse". This was the firs time, however, where I felt the requirement of the form actually helped me find new images and lines, so that was satisfying. This is not something I will probably try too often but I do somehow feel that before writing free verse, I should at least try to do something with traditional forms. There is a huge difference, I feel, between free verse poetry written by poets who have developed a command of structured writing, say sonnets, and free verse done by people who have never even tried traditional form.

  17. Hi, willow. Believe it or not this began as a submission for this week's magpie tales, with the photo of the knife. I had an idea about a boy fishing with his uncle, who tells him the knife he has is for harvesting wild mushrooms and truffles, not for gutting fish. Somewhere along the way, other images and lines came in, I decided to try to do it in sonnet form, and the knife bit got dropped.

  18. Julie: Thanks so much for your very kind words. I am not familiar with Fred Chappell's 'Shadow Box' but appreciate the suggestion and will definitely check it out. It is the iambic pentameter "beat and stresses" that I find the hardest in sonnets and that is what has foiled my earlier attempts. So I did take some satisfaction in seeing this one through. I know it is not perfectly iambic throughout, as I changed a couple of the iambic feet to anapests because it 'sounded' better, but still, it comes close. This is all relatively new to me, so whatever progress I feel I make cheers me greatly.

    As I really love and admire your poetry, your words here really mean a lot to me. I am still mulling over your latest poem post "Beauty On A Lonely Road" and have put a link to it on my "Caught our eye ..." sidebar.

  19. Julie (again): Doing some research on Chappell's book, I came across this post on Kathryn Stripling Byer' former blog 'My Laureate's Lasso' ( click here for link).

    It made me realize that I had not understood what you meant by a poem inlaid or embedded within a poem. She includes an example and I was really floored! True virtuousity.

  20. Hi, Lorenzo. Thanks for the shout out. I appreciate it very much. I'm so glad you checked out "Shadow Box." I had a feeling you would be interested. It really is magnificent work (and great to use as a study of the form). I've been a fan of Fred Chappell's since I was a kid. I love Kathryn Stripling Byer's work, too.

    I was so impressed that this is your first sonnet. I love the images, which makes it even more compelling for me. I've read many sonnets, and while some are perfect in form, they don't feel "alive" to me (if that makes any sense at all). In other words, yours has soul, and I love that!

    I look forward to reading the next one.


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