What Compels Me to Write Sonnets

Where have I been, you ask?

I have been detoxing off some medication that is no longer working for me. It was helpful when I was in active depression, but the benefits no longer outweigh the side effects. The process has been difficult on both my body and my spirit, and withdrawals haven’t helped one bit. I remind myself that I’ve been taking these meds for awhile so this is to be expected.

I haven’t been writing much but I have been listening to and studying the songs of Leonard Cohen. I get him, or maybe I get what I want to get, but isn’t that what poetry is about?

Molly continues to decline. I noticed her zoning out again this week but wanted to be sure before I talked to the vet. Taking her in is stressful for her and we may can get by with a phone consult but in case I have to take her in, I want to be sure it’s worth the pain it will cause her.

The cat situation is not getting any better. I guess surrender of my mom’s cats is in the near future. I’ve gone above and beyond but I can no longer afford the cost of calming collars, diffusers, medications and vet visits that are doing nothing to rectify the situation. If you think you can do better, come get them. If all you have is advice for me to do still more, shut your pie hole. I’ve done all I can reasonably handle.

When I do write it’s mostly to untangle the knots of my feelings. I thought that once my depression was in remission, all would be well. Wrong. I’m finally facing some truths I wasn’t strong enough to look at before. It’s a difficult process and I am contemplating therapy yet again. What keeps me from making the call is the last two therapy experiences I had were not good. I thought they were at the time, but I could not in good conscience recommend either of those therapists to anyone today.

For now, writing, especially writing poetry, helps with the unraveling. This is the first poem I’ve written in a few weeks, and this is the fourth iteration of that poem. I will say nothing more because the person I wrote about has no clue I write about him, or that I even write at all. Well, I say that, but I never would have guessed that a bunch of kids at Walmart would have nothing better to do than to stalk me online, and yet…

The word “sonnet” comes from the Italian word sonetto, or “little song.” There are different types of sonnets, though they are 14 lines written in iambic pentameter. The well-known Shakespearean structure goes ABAB CDCD EFEF GG. The Petrarchan structure (named after Francesco Petrarcha, who made sonnets popular), on the other hand, is ABBAABBA CDECDE; it was employed by Barrett Browning for her famous sonnet, “How Do I Love Thee,” and is the form I toyed with for this sonnet. I find structure helps me get at what’s bothering me. Do those of you who can easily identify your feelings know how amazing that is and how much I envy you?


Sometimes love and lust will grow side by side,
but they are two very different things. 
Love is dates, flowers, family and rings,
while lust is where arousal would abide.
It's hedonistic pleasure he provides.
No watching football, eating chicken wings. 
It's just sex, and damn good sex, with no strings.
Into my bed he jumps, then out he strides. 

This man can will me to groan with delight
and shudder as his teeth tighten their grip 
on my shoulder and his fingers adjourn 
to where reason ends and rapture takes flight. 
With him there'll be no love or partnership,
but oh, how hot that fire he stokes can burn!

4 thoughts on “What Compels Me to Write Sonnets

  1. Poetry does mean different things to different people and it can mean different things at different stages in our lives. I think that’s the beauty of it.

    I’m sorry you have so many difficult things to cope with at present.

  2. I’m sure you know well enough by now, Jen, that pet owners must prepare themselves for the eventual demise of their fur-babies. But I know you’ve always been able to provide these animals with a loving and compassionate environment.

    As someone who has dealt with depression since my youth, I can tell you it’s a constant battle. And it’s one you’ll always have. Despite popular misconceptions, depression isn’t something you can just ‘get over’. I think society is only now coming to realize that.

    I discovered years ago that writing is one antidote for me. Whenever I’d feel depressed or disgusted with my life, I’d turn to my journal, which I’ve kept on a regular basis since 1983. I’d let out all of my anger and frustration – as well as revealing my hopes and happiness – with whatever words came to mind. And, after every single entry, I’d always feel so much better. ALWAYS! All of my problems wouldn’t necessarily be resolved, of course. But I’d still feel both calmer and energized afterwards.

    So please keep writing, Jen. And loving those animals!

    And I’ve kept your sonnet. It’s a beautiful piece.

    1. I am ready for what comes. Molly and I have never bonded the way Buddy and I did and he was with me a mere two months. I think maybe she was already suffering with dementia when I took her in. Nevertheless, she will be appropriately cared for.
      The thing about writing for me is I’ve known since I was very young that I was meant to write, but I never found the time for even journaling. The TMS therapy has brought all that out and helped me to see how much I have minimized the effects my upbringing has had on my adult life. Perhaps if I lived in a society that didn’t blame victims for their suffering things would have been different. But it is what it is.
      And thank you for your high praise of my poem. Nothing like having a writer tell you your stuff is good.

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