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Poetry ~ The Hour-Old Fawn

Updated on April 3, 2016

There is just so much inspiration to be drawn from the forces of nature that I have always enjoyed penning poems that pertain to them. Nature never fails to offer a platform of inward reflection and when writing poems with those reflections as the force that spills out those words, each poem speaks a specific tone of emotions at the time of its creation.

I don't remember what motivated me to use a fawn as the subject of a poem as this poem was written in 2010 (I stumbled upon it when I went through some of my old stuff), but I recall that my intention was to use the struggles of a fawn as a metaphor of the ups and downs in our own lives, our vulnerability, our vanity, the road of self-discovery that we all make, the fixed destinies of our births and the ones that are in our power to change, and lastly, the measure of the impacts of the consequences of our mistakes. All this inspired by the image of a fawn, a frail creature, and its territory - the woods, which can be both wild and beautiful.

I call this poem of mine Petrarchan sonnet-inspired as although it is has an octave and a sestet like a typical sonnet does and it follows the rhyme scheme of a Petrarchan sonnet faithfully, it does not abide by the iambic pentameter rhythm of regular sonnets.

Below I have also included a close-up video of an adorable newborn Whitetail fawn struggling to stand with some encouragement from its mother.

Elements of a Petrarchan Sonnet

The traditional Petrarchan sonnet, also known as the Italian sonnet, is a form of poetry which observes these basic guidelines for structure, although most modern poets do not strictly adhere to these rules in order to give their sonnets a flowing movement that suits their style and subject of the poem.

  • Consists of 14 lines divided into an octave (the first 8 lines) and a sestet (the last 6 lines). The octave can be splited into two quatrains of four lines while the sestet may be broken up into two tercets of three lines each.
  • The octave introduces the theme or the conflict and the sestet forms the resolution.
  • The metrical scheme (rhythm) is iambic pentameter: 10 syllables per line, stressing on every two syllables. Example: the stars they shone so bright in the night sky
  • The rhyme scheme is a-b-b-a-a-b-b-a c-d-e c-d-e or a-b-b-a-a-b-b-a c-d-c d-c-c. The last syllable of the lines with the similar letter above rhyme.

The Hour-Old Fawn

On soft moss stepped he the hour-old fawn

In dizzy spells he befriended nature’s dwells

His first hour, his triumph, did he swell

Ere the after-breeze trailed the tail of dawn

His roots rooted in this dull trodden soil

This brown he wanted not, he found no brother

He strove, he sought, called himself groundbreaker

Affairs of the woods he smelled, along he toiled

And journeyed he o’er blues and greens and reds

Latitudes’ and longitudes' wine of peril he drank

Drinking unknowingly to the glass of desolate

Black the moss oh! Blood and blundering draped

His last hour, his triumph soured, his heart sank

For the erroneous step in pursuit of what came to fade

December 14, 2010

© by Carmen H

Some interesting facts about fawns . . .

  • Fawns are born with their eyes opened.
  • Their birth phrase is typically from May to July - end of spring to summer.
  • The gestation period of a fawn is approximately 200 days or six and a half months.
  • The birth of a fawn may take from a few minutes to several hours.
  • The average weight of a newborn fawn is 4 to 12 pounds, with bucks (males) weighing more than does (females).
  • Fawns are able to stand within their first few minutes, walk within a few hours, and run within a few days.
  • Fawns do not have body scent during the first few days after birth in order to not attract predators.
  • Fawns are nursed by their mothers 2 to 4 times a day.
  • Fawns are fully weaned at about 5 to 6 months old.
  • Fawns spent the first 4 weeks of their life in hiding, mainly separated from their mothers.
  • Approximately 30% of fawns in the wild do not make it to Fall.
  • Fawns stay with their mothers for one to two years.
  • Fawns are born with four baby teeth and have their adult teeth emerged at the age of 18 months.


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