There is an elegance to the sonnet form that has always appealed to me. However, the origin of the sonnet has other things going on besides the structure and rhyme on the page. The Petrarchan sonnet is about the unobtainable, idealised beloved. It’s something Shakespeare both works with and pushes back against. It’s very much part of the poetic tradition of man as poet and woman as muse – something that has long frustrated me about older writing, and that drove me round the bend with Graves’ The White Goddess.
Most of us first encounter sonnet form through Shakespeare, and I think there’s a pull to that kind of language while writing sonnets. Part of the way through writing the one below, it struck me that I really want to work with the kind of language that seems out of place in a poem of this shape. I’ll be exploring that in the future.
I’ve already got a bit of a thing going around deliberately unromantic poetry, and this is certainly one of those…
Give me the lust that dares to speak its name
Bring me the joy of confident desire
The longing that refuses to know shame
The lips that gasp, the skin that seems on fire.
I have no time for guilt or reluctance
If wanting proves submissive unto fear
There’s more to this than getting in your pants,
Informed consent is something I hold dear.
Seduction holds no temptation for me
I shall not be your reason for betrayal
A willing gift of self would be the key
To love on other terms would be to fail.
I am not here to bring about your fall,
Come willingly, or do not come at all.