A Difficult Facility (part one of two)


Night before last I was astonished to realize that I probably hadn’t written a sonnet in over a year. “Better write one then.” So I took an index card and drew a rectanguloid and subdivided it to accommodate the fourteen lines I’d be composing. I compounded the challenge of producing fourteen lines in iambic pentameter with the Shakespearean rhyme scheme abab cdcd efef gg by bookending the linegrid with two fourteen-letter words, choosing “breathlessness” for both its punchliny romance and its end-rhyme-friendly superfluity of ees and esses. In short, I created a puzzle for myself that my sonneteer’s training, begun in earnest in 2007, would enable me alone among the citizens of Earth to solve.

Four lines into the sonnet’s composition I was brought up short by the absurdity of the endeavor. To lie in the Procrustean bed I’d made was possible, but what kind of coherence would there be, given the wonkiness of the first four lines? Was it worth finishing?

We’ll find out in Part Two, friends…

  1. kwicksand said:

    Your brilliance just astounds me every time you post!

    • What a sweet and generous comment, my friend. I’ll do my best to astound you, especially you, in Part Two…

      • kwicksand said:


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