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Spellwork Through Poetry, Lesson 7

Sonnets

Last month, we wrote rhyming couplets and quatrains. We will be building off of that skill this month as we explore sonnets. There are two types of sonnets, the Elizabethan Sonnet and the Italian Sonnet. They have different rhyme schemes and different numbers of lines. The sonnet is written in iambic pentameter, but we will not concern ourselves with something that technical.

The first sonnet we will tackle is the Elizabethan Sonnet (aka Shakespearean Sonnet). It has fourteen lines made up of three quatrains and one couplet. The whole poem is to set a scene or tell a story; each quatrain should be able to stand alone, but must also flow together fluidly. The rhyme scheme for Elizabethan Sonnets is as follows:

(quatrain)

A Hidden behind the thinning fog,

B The moon longs to shine through.

A We curl up with our heated nog

B And stir the bubbling brew.

(quatrain)

C Tonight we exhale frost

D While we prep for winter nights,

C Tonight we know none is lost

D At winter’s end, summer is in sight.

(quatrain)

E Midsummer is long off,

F For now we enjoy the cool,

E And, despite the occasional cough,

F Tonight we gather for Yule!

(couplet)

G The Wheel turns round and round,

G Passing by the sun without a sound.

The second sonnet we will discuss is the Italian Sonnet (aka Petrarchan Sonnet). It is also fourteen lines, but now with two quatrains and two triplet groupings. The Italian sonnet in many ways is easier than the Elizabethan because it has less rhyme groups (5 versus 7). The rules remain the same with the story telling but the fluidity is slightly different. The poem should break into two whole poems, one quatrains and one triplets, but flow together cohesively.

The rhyme scheme for the Italian Sonnet is as follows:

(quatrain)

A Hidden behind the thinning fog,

B The moon longs to shine through.

B We stir the bubbling brew

A And curl up with our heated nog

(quatrain)

A Ten of us huddled on a hollow log,

B Eight more sitting in bamboo;

B All shiver when the wind blew

A We are waiting to leave the bog.

(triplet)

C Tonight we exhale frost

D While we prep for winter nights,

E And, despite the occasional cough,

(triplet)

C Tonight we know none is lost

D At winter’s end, summer is in sight.

E But tonight we gather for Yule!

Assignment: Write at least one Elizabethan sonnet and at least one Italian sonnet.