More poetry today – and this one is deliberately a little bit of an arty-farty exercise. It’s also another slightly dark one. Well, maybe not dark, but a bit angsty and the kind of thing that a simpering 18th or 19th century poet-wannabe might have come up with during his teenage years when he was desperate for a glimpse of a female ankle and thought that writing this sort of tripe would be certain to attract the interest of some coquettish girl with beautiful hair, come-hither eyes and a fondness for diaphanous nighties.
But seriously folks…this one is a sonnet. We’re all roughly familiar with the sonnet form (even if we don’t realise it), particularly the Shakespearean version (“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?” and all that), but there are other sonnet forms too. They all have the official fourteen lines, but they differ in the rhyme schemes that they use. In this case, I decided that I wanted to try writing a Petrarchan sonnet. Petrarch was the man who was really responsible for putting the sonnet form on the map in Europe. He blazed the trail that Shakespeare, Spenser, Milton and all the rest would follow as the centuries rolled by. The true Petrarchan sonnet has a rhyme scheme of ABBA ABBA in the first eight lines, followed by CDE CDE or CD CD CD or some other variation of two (or three) rhymes in the last six. As it turns out, I still ended up breaking the rules since – if we’re being strict about it – I’ve got something that is more like ABBA ACCA DEE DED. However, in the famous words of Captain Barbossa in a well-known film franchise, they’re “more what you’d call guidelines than actual rules”.
Anyway, without further ado, I give you this little piece called “If I had known…”
If I had known…
If I had known the things I know today
When walking home from school; a quiet child
Shaped by contentment, love and life so mild,
Perhaps I might have lived another way.
But years ran onto years, each passing day
Confirmed me in the blessings of my life.
No hardship there to bear, no deadly strife
To break the peace or steal those joys away.
Yet age creeps on and dragging in its train
The countless cares that life can hold in store
The loss and grief and fear of so much more
That clouds the soul and fills the heart with pain
And robs the mind of pleasures gone before
As life is washed in tears like winter rain