Exercise #87

il_fullxfull.257143996This exercise may be less about the task and more about the workings of a nocturnal brain.

A crown of sonnets or sonnet corona is a sequence of sonnets, usually addressed to one person, and/or concerned with a single theme. Each of the sonnets explores one aspect of the theme, and is linked to the preceding and succeeding sonnets by repeating the final line of the preceding sonnet as its first line. The first line of the first sonnet is repeated as the final line of the final sonnet, thereby bringing the sequence to a close. An advanced form of crown of sonnets is also called a sonnet redoublé or heroic crown, comprising fifteen sonnets, in which the final binding sonnet is made up of all the first lines of the preceding fourteen, in order.

Write a “heroic crown” of sentences using the definition above, substituting words for lines.

1. New nights bring new angles of moon and darkness, and—between sleeping and waking—black and glowing shadows attack and retreat like great fronts of weather.

2. Weather penetrates even dreams, rain pouring so suddenly it soaks my clothes, and the loss of comfort shocks.

3. Shocks like these stir in a mind like a muddy field already filled with loose roots of leaning, menacing trees.

4. Trees loom when the dreaming brain can find nothing to turn them into.

5. Into empty hours come worries budding.

6. Budding and building and knotting, fears proliferate in brain soil like planted eyes.

7. I don’t know if a promise to face them in waking hours is anything more than another wish.

8. Wish the rain would stop, wish I might, into sodden hours, bring sun.

9. Sun might do more than hopes could.

10. Could I control my thoughts, write a forecast my brain could then enact, what a difference that would make.

11. Make another metaphor and I create more fabrication… another trouble of mine.

12. My inventions lie deep in my nature.

13. Nature in the outside world happens without care or compulsion, saying endlessly, “ It’s as simple as….”

14. As the planet makes its required revolution, so the world becomes new.

15. New weather shocks trees into budding—I wish sun could make my nature as new.


Filed under Doubt, Dreaming, Essays, Experiments, Identity, Insomnia, Laments, life, Lyn Hejinian, Meditations, Play, Prose Poems, Sturm und Drang, Thoughts, Voice, Worry, Writing

6 responses to “Exercise #87

  1. Thomas

    Holy crap….this is tougher than it looks!

    • dmarshall58

      The key is working backward really, though I’ve tried it the other way too. I’ve also written some actual sonnet crowns and those are very tough. Nothing I’ve completed has satisfied me yet, but maybe that’s a general statement on my writing. Thanks for visiting. –D

      • Thomas

        Yep. Working backwards was the only way I could get it to work. I can’t imagine trying an actual sonnet crown. But then…I guess that’s part of why I like your blog!


  2. Wonderful! Is this adaptation your own invention? Is it cheating if you start with sentence 15?

    • dmarshall58

      It’s my own invention. I wouldn’t give any instructions on how to do it, but I’m not sure how you’d do it without starting with the last sentence. The last sentence is the spine for the whole piece, and I’ve been told by people who’ve written a heroic crown of sonnets, that the same is true. That just seems a degree of complexity beyond me, however.

  3. Pingback: Exercise #87: late submission | the muttering retreat

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