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A Permutation Chart for Network Conversation: An American Sonnet

Updated on December 10, 2011


Many of my readers already know I experiment with various ways to adapt traditional literary forms to characteristically American manners and styles. I find the sonnet particularly interesting because it still maintains its prestige as a consummate way to say something well, but our literary history shows little success in adapting to American thought forms and ideas the sonnet's almost sacred formats bequeathed to us from the great Renaissance and Elizabethan English poets.

American styles tend less toward conciseness than to verbosity, or at least toward adding a few extra words to make the thought complete, or at least perfectly clear. We need much more work along these lines of analyzing the language patterns of American culture.

Each line in my current example adds three extra syllables culminating in an unstressed syllable once known as the "feminine ending" (Gerald Sanders, "A Poetry Primer," Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1935, 1965, page 47), but here used to indicate the indeterminate nature of the internet. As you can see, these last three syllables carry the burden of the entire poem within them in a way that the last two syllables of classic sonnets rarely do. Whatever you think about this (and please let me know), I hope you like the poem.

A Permutation Chart for Network Conversation
An American Sonnet
November 16-24, 2011

Are we engaged in Ivy-League-like interaction,
two students swapping notes but yearning for connection?
Or is it more like cleverly discreet flirtation
that trends relentlessly toward market-place seduction?

Our fears on one side call it vain, unwise temptation,
without a single justifying explanation,
where even kindred souls fear ruthless exploitation,
and downward slopes can reek with rueful aggravation.

Our will-to-live, however, craves a new creation,
the timeless, subtle tingle of a fresh translation,
enabling us to craft a better explanation
that recreates our world with new anticipation.

Inquiry sharpens our awareness of these questions;
our choices thus informed will shape our destinations.

Copyright (c) 2011 by The Max Havlick School, Villa Park, IL 60181-1938.


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    • Max Havlick profile imageAUTHOR

      Max Havlick 

      4 years ago from Villa Park, Illinois

      Thank you, adventurous Red Sparrow from Moratuwa, searching for your answers to the ends of the earth! Do you realize how far Colombo is from Chicago, and not just in miles (or kilometers)?

      So you make me curious, Rochelle. Regarding my poem, and the new internet connection you and I now have -- What new creation do you yearn for? What fresh translation? What better explanation? How would you like to "recreate the world" if you could?

      In any case, I wish you well in your worthy quest, Rochelle, and I pray that you be divinely guided to the unique and special path in life that is right for you, and only you.


    • rdsparrowriter profile image


      4 years ago

      Interesting set of words. I like the ending where you have said "our choices thus informed will shape our destinations".


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