poetry critical

online poetry workshop


A modern sonnet, based on the Petrarchan form - a joint effort by Larry and Opal.

Heavens open. clouds siphons water down
through sullen skies, whose sombre crimson streaks
leak an other worldly light onto scales of antique
fish, swimming like statesmen, flashing gold and brown.
Twisting bodies weave through weeds and rushes, round
curving sweep of ornamental basin, as they seek
nothing more than precise pathways amidst oblique
and mildewed statues who sport their algal crowns.
Still the river rises, while a heron makes his careful tread
in search of prey among a new submerged terrain.
He spots a silver swimmer in emerging moonlight,
released to explore the flood tide as it spreads,
A beak snaps shut and ends a short lived reign.
Wings unfold to launch him out of sight.

23 Aug 05

(define the words in this poem)
(838 more poems by this author)

Add A Comment:
Enter the following text to post as unknown: captcha


Sorry for liking this ... but I do, and there's nothing you two can do about it. Overall: rather impressed. A nice slap in the face. Love it.
 — Hear

Though, I guess I have a small suggestion, if you care for it: don't use the word "thus" in the second to last line; it doesn't help the flow in this, which is quite nice. Just reword it, I think you will still be able to keep the rhythm here.
 — Hear

why shouldn't you like it Hear? Is there something we should know? We like you. btw - agree about 'thus' - it's gone.

 — unknown

I was just worried that saying "I liked this" would sound too sappy.
I read this again, and like it even more. Good change, too.
 — Hear

 — Hear

Beautiful! I especially like the fish "swimming like statesmen," and the overall picture. Favorite.

The rhythm seems choppy in places, with stresses occuring at odd parts of the line and the length of lines inconsistent -- but I've tried writing sonnets and God knows this is way better than mine. However! Here are my suggestions for improving the rhythm...

Line 3, replacing "an otherworldly light onto" with "phantasmal light on"

Line 7, maybe "precisest pathways midst oblique"? It has the right number of stresses and they fall in the right places, but it is a bit short, especially coming after line 6. (To shorten 6, I might remove "ornamental," but it seems like an important word.)

Line 8, replacing "who sport their" with "sporting"

Line 9, perhaps change "while a heron makes his careful tread" to "while a careful heron treads"? Slight change in meaning, but rhythm is better, and I like the internal assonance of "careful" and "heron." Also it is an exact rhyme with "spreads" in line 12.

Line 11, maybe "He spots a silver swimmer in moon's emerging light"?

Line 12 -- I don't have a specific suggestion, but the rhythm seems awkward...

Hmmm, it's probably very rude of me to rewrite lines in someone else's poem. If so, I'm sorry; don't mean to offend, just to offer suggestions for improvement.
 — leukothea

Dear Hear
Thanks for you constructive idea for a change to this poem.
 — larrylark