When I was young, I lived not far from sea.
Though out of sight, I always knew which way–
To left, to right, to front or back–it lay.
My mind’s own compass in uncertainty.
When first we loved, in my naivety
I nearly drowned. Stranded in disarray
On rocks above your withdrawn tide I lay,
And thought you rightly had abandoned me.
And yet, through all these years, you’ve been my sea.
Though rarely seen, and mostly far away,
You’ve been the one place that I knew would stay
Always my still calm point, my constancy.
But how I wish I could make time reverse,
And enter that blue sea, that glittering heat.
A man this time–not boy! –who could traverse
With sure strong strokes the waters, salt yet sweet,
And thus, now worthy of your love, immerse
Myself forever in your mystic deep.
|I wanted this to be a sonnet, because it’s a structure that suits a reflective, contemplative subject. However, sonnets (I’ve come to believe) can’t carry more than two or three simple ideas, especially if those ideas are to be expressed elegantly. |
Try as I might, I could not fit what I wanted to say to ‘Sophie’, which has four ‘ideas’, into the standard fourteen lines. So I gave it the stretch limo treatment: A Petrarchan sonnet, but with an extra quatrain stuffed into the middle. A cheat, but I can’t see that it does any harm.