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As Summer Harvests Fade; An American Sonnet in a Writers Workshop

Updated on December 27, 2011

From a Writers Workshop

The Background Story

Welcome to everyone attending this new session of our Writers Workshop (Friday evening, Dec. 16, 2011), and especially to those of you who have entrusted me with their work for reading and review.

Several times earlier I have described some factors leading to the experimental sonnet style I call the "American sonnet" that uses mostly six iambic feet per line (hexameter) rather than the traditional Renaissance and Elizabethan standard five iambic feet (pentameter). For our workshop today, I have converted my background material into a form of mostly unrhymed verse to illustrate my continuing experiment putting everyday narrative into iambic verse.

Other writers report that this discipline helped them improve their skills in both poetry and prose, but it's hard for anyone to do without first seeing an example of it. Have you ever tried this? I hope you will enjoy my experiment with it enough to try it yourself.

Per-haps most peo-ple do not care why po-ets write,
but some-times wri-ters in a Wri-ters Work-shop want to know
what items came together Friday morning when you woke
to bring your newest sonnet into form before you ate.

A Christmas party early Thursday afternoon [Dec. 15, 2011]
reminded me, some people I have known for years
still think of me as friend, while others aren't so sure,
but holiday events make room for all alike.

Through songs and presentations holding my wife's hand,
I thought of wonderful new friends I found this year,
and some I lost almost as soon as they were found --
some season's friends decline at every season's end!

That night I read my e-mails from my internet
and workshop friends who always challenge me to get
more honest with myself and them, so answering
required a midnight stand with no one noticing.

When I awoke, I felt a sonnet wanting to
be born, so I resigned to greater art and spent
an hour reading in the "Pe-li-can Shakes-peare"
small pa-per-back "The Son-nets" (pub-lished nine-teen-eighty-five).

For those who care to know, I list the ones I studied most:

In sonnet 59, we revel in "five hundred courses of the sun,"
and 60 tells us how "na-ti-vi-ty crawls to ma-tur-i-ty."

The poet says in 61, "I play the watchman for thy sake,"
and then explains in 84 "that you alone are you!"

In 87, she is still "too dear for my possessing,"
and sonnets 88 to 93, relentlessly progressing,
ar-ti-cu-late a proud man's story of lost love lamenting.

These are the reasons and my preparations;
I hope the sonnet meets your expectations.
If not, please let me hear your reservations
and help me make judicious amendations
enhancing all my later demonstrations.


As Summer Harvests Fade

An American Sonnet

When Summer harvests fade into forgotten footnote
as Autumn, stretching night, makes daylight disappear,
and Winter's icy fingers reach inside my raincoat
to prematurely signal advent of another year,

so do the year's rejections by false friends not scare me,
bypassing me so they, and I, may shine elsewhere,
to prove anew that life is e-vo-lu-tion-ar-y,
and loss prepares each heart to find new gain elsewhere.

Life takes its time revealing all its special secrets,
and Truth is not the simple A-B-C we thought
but more a life-long quest for subtle new quadruplets
to help us understand the battles that we fought.

As false friends fail, and new friends flash to make life brighter,
we hold the hands of old friends, proven true, the tighter.

Max Havlick
MHS Writers Workshop

Copyright (c) 2011 by The Max Havlick School, Villa Park, IL 60181-1938, all rights reserved. Anyone can start their own local "writers workshop" with or without our help (and use info from our HubPages in doing so), but if you wish to work synergistically with us, you may contact Max directly at the snail-mail address 60181-1938, or by e-mail courtesy of the Hubpages button at the top of this page.

The same offer applies, of course, to individuals who want help improving their skills in writing or other forms of personal communication, or indeed, in any other studies in the humanities and liberal arts areas of literature, history, philosophy, or religion.


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    • Max Havlick profile image

      Max Havlick 6 years ago from Villa Park, Illinois

      J Hamann of Nevada desert regions:

      I thank your reading with encouraging comment.

      I wouldn't mind whatever writing you might try,

      but happy anytime my work inspires someone to write.

      My other sonnet essays explicate "American."

      Pls read my poem "You have my permission to write."

      I plan to look also at things that you have written

      to see if you and I are similarly smitten.


    • jhamann profile image

      Jamie Lee Hamann 6 years ago from Reno NV

      Max, I love your idea to make the sonnet "American" and you did a great job with your poem. You have figured out the iamb usage! I enjoy you sharing and was wondering if you would mind if I gave it a try? Voted Up!