Thursday, April 4, 2013

Heart-Deep in Winter

One of the blogs I read is Keepapitchinin, The Mormon History Blog. Among other things, Ardis shares content from old publications, such as this poem in today's blog:
Heart-deep in Winter
By Eva Willes Wangsgaard

With you so lately gone it seemed untrue
That winter had relaxed and spring was near.
Half-heartedly the northern ranks withdrew
Relinquishing to spring the infant year;
And spring came blithely, undisturbed by death.
The soil had quickened; I could feel it stir,
Perfumed by hyacinths; the morning’s breath
Was stroking cheek and throat like rabbit fur.
The autumn bulbs erupted wells of gold;
The lilacs leafed, for day was April warm;
But night kept lagging back with icy cold
And threatened lily fringe with frost and storm.
Heart-deep in winter, unprepared, alone,
The night and I and newly lettered stone!

I was touched by this poem, and immediately wanted to share it, but worried that perhaps it was too sentimental. I sought Jim's opinion (not necessarily a good idea, since he is rather sentimental himself). He also liked it, deemed it not overly sentimental, and pointed out that it is a sonnet.

A sonnet? Who knew?!? I did a Google search, and found this article, which explained that the English, or Shakespearean, sonnet has the form:
a b a b
c d c d
e f e f
g g
As Jim observed, this poem follows the described form quite nicely. (Another article about Shakespearean sonnets, is here.)

The article also discussed the idea of a volta, a turn, which introduces another idea. In this case, it seems to me that the volta occurs in the final couplet. Here, after discussing the weather, the poem suddenly brings up the unexpected loneliness of the poet, thinking of that new grave, somewhere out in the night. The poet's despair and loneliness washed over me, and I felt that I understood perfectly what they were feeling.

Making that connection, that link with the poet, always leaves me satisfied - and I walk away thinking, "I like that poem."

1 comment:

  1. It is a nice poem and a sonnet. You forgot to mention iambic pentameter. I tried to write a few sonnets in college--not easy. The form is not limiting, though, more like challenging. I think it's a shame that poetry nowadays is all free verse. Blank verse and other forms are beautiful when practiced by someone who is comfortable with the form. But it's my guess that if one turned in a sonnet, or even blank verse, in a creative writing class, one would be scoffed at. How sad.