Erotica Readers & Writers Association Blog

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Writing Exercise - Petrarchan Sonnet

by Ashley Lister

Sonnet 18+
Shall I compare thee to a porno star?
Thou art more lovely and more sexy too:
I’ve yearned to have you naked in my car,
And I would really love to service you:

Sometimes you let me glimpse your muffin tops,
Your shorts reveal your sweet and cheeky cheeks,
The view’s enough to make my loins go pop,
And make me long to have more than a peek:

But I know you’re no exhibitionist,
You’d never ever play games of team tag,
Not even if I got you truly pissed,
Because, I know, you’re really not a slag,

So long as I can hope there’s half a chance,
   I’ll dream about what’s there inside your pants.

It’s been almost two years on this blog since I mentioned the sonnet. I’m mentioning it again here because I love this form. The skill that comes from balancing rhyme, syllable counts and rhythm always makes me marvel at the talent on display.


The Rules:
All sonnets contain 14 lines. There are three main styles of sonnet: Petrachan, Spenserian and Shakespearian. Each one of these forms is made distinctive by its rhyme scheme.

Sonnets are usually written in iambic pentameter (that is, ten syllables made up of five unstressed/stressed pairings).

The poem above is a Shakespearian sonnet characterized by the rhyme scheme of abab cdcd efef gg. In the example above we can see the poem divided into the three quatrains (abab cdcd efef) and a final couplet (gg). 

However, this month I’d like us to look at the slight variant to this form: the Petrarchan sonnet. Again, we’re looking for fourteen lines. And, again, the poem should be presented in iambic pentameter. The rhyme scheme for the Petrarchan sonnet is not as fixed as the Shakespearian and, whilst the first eight lines usually begin in the following fashion, abba abba, the final sestet varies from poem to poem. On this one I’ve gone with cde cde rhyme pattern.

I can’t remember when we last had sex

I only know it’s been a long long time 
But I remember that it was sublime
So let’s get you dressed up in tight latex


Where you can make my manly muscle flex 

And you’ll find that I’m still well in my prime
And able to do lots more in bed than rhyme
I can roar like Tyrannosaurus Rex


But if you’d rather just drink cups of tea

Or maybe watch Netflix without the chill
If you’re thinking ‘Thanks but no thanks, Mister’.

Then I’ll respect your right to reject me 
Though being celibate won’t make ill
I’ll just nip out and call on your sister


As always, I look forward to seeing your sonnets in the comments box below.

Ashley Lister


11 comments:

  1. You are so very good at this, Ash! I'll see if I can come up with something. Haven't taken up your challenge in a long time.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you :-) I can't wait to see what you come up with.

    Ash

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thank you :-) I can't wait to see what you come up with.

    Ash

    ReplyDelete
  4. Burlesque - Petrarchian Sonnet
    By Lisabet Sarai

    Black satin glove discarded on the floor;
    a smooth descent of zipper down your spine
    disclosing inch by inch, by clear design,
    a glimpse of pearly flesh. You promise more
    than you deliver. Desperate, we implore
    you, Take it off. You pout, recline,
    expose a shapely leg where slits align,
    content for us to hunger and adore.

    A sultry soundtrack drives you to reveal
    in increments the charms your clothes conceal.
    In thong and tassels finally you pose;
    a teasing smile, a shimmy, then you steal
    away to leave me with a racing heart
    and wonder: is this Lust or is it Art?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Beautiful. I really enjoyed this one. If I was going to criticise I'd pick on line 6:

      you, Take it off. You pout, recline,

      Whereas the rest of this is iambic, this line seems to be missing a foot.

      Other than that I think the flow is wonderful, the enjambment sells this so that the pace dances like a sultry burlesque dancer, and the content is delightfully raunchy.

      Ash

      Delete
    2. Darn, you're right. That's what I get for bragging I can write iambic pentameter in my sleep.

      It was surprisingly hard to fix this. Even though the line in question is only 8 syllables, the rhythm seemed right to me. Here's a revision, but actually I feel the added foot weakens the line:

      Burlesque - Petrarchian Sonnet
      By Lisabet Sarai

      Black satin glove discarded on the floor;
      a smooth descent of zipper down your spine
      disclosing inch by inch, by clear design,
      a glimpse of pearly flesh. You promise more
      than you deliver. Desperate, we implore,
      we beg you, Take it off. You pout, recline,
      expose a shapely leg where slits align,
      content for us to hunger and adore.

      A sultry soundtrack drives you to reveal
      in increments the charms your clothes conceal.
      In thong and tassels finally you pose;
      a teasing smile, a shimmy, then you steal
      away to leave me with a racing heart
      and wonder: is this Lust or is it Art?

      Delete
    3. This is why I love formal poetry so much. To me, the control represented by the form reinforces the suspense, the titillating nature of the strip. I also like your rhyme choices... all long vowel sounds which draw the sonics out, like a leg slowly elongating, a back stretching, a rising arm. Fine end as well.

      Delete
  5. Well, this was a timely exercise. I had a horrible dream last night and was searching for a form this morning so I could write it out. The Petrarchan was perfect, although I wrote this as a reverse Petrarchan. I did this because the "resolution" - the clarity - was at the beginning of the event which then devolves into the "question" or chaos. Rhyme scheme was cdecde abbaabba. It should be pentameter, but with substitutions, so I didn't hold to straight iambic. It's untitled at the moment.


    You left me. The woman at the other end
    of the line told me to pack your clothes and ship
    them all to you at her address; the rest
    of our “stuff,” as she called it, could be sorted to send
    at a later date. My switch didn’t just flip.
    I handed the phone to your mother, a suppressed

    scream clawing its way out of the trap
    of my throat, attempting to reach that champion who
    you charged as your pike sharp voice. The pain threw
    me into another state. I didn’t collapse,
    my world didn’t fall apart but wrapped
    me into curves, sprouted pipes and grew
    levels, joints, and junctures tangling through
    the dimensions. I was lost without my map.



    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Agony. Comes through clear as light.

      I admire your confidence in reversing the rhyme scheme, Nettie.

      Delete
    2. Incredible. I think the absence of pentameter adds to the eerie quality of the dreamlike state. Thanks for sharing this one.

      Delete
  6. Lisabet, that's what I love so much about these exercises. It gets me thinking about the fundamentals, the why's behind the structure. So, reading up on the Petrarchan at Bob's Byway, his comments about the function of the stanzas gave me my second "Aha!" moment.

    Ashley, Thank you. I was working with the anapests and trochee substitutions to the point that the iambic rhythm was probably impacted. I'll take a closer look at the draft after a few days. But if the rhythm works, maybe I won't tweak it into the corset... dunno. I gotta let it rest first and come back with fresh eyes.

    ReplyDelete

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.