2008 Form Challenges

#19 Italian Sonnet

Of all the variations of the form we know as the sonnet today, the oldest is the Italian sonnet, also known as the Petrarchan sonnet, after its most famous user, Francesco Petrarca. Originally, it had no set structure and it was only after its adoption by the English that defined the Italian sonnet to consist of an octave, or 8-line stanza, which set up a situation, followed by a sestet, or 6-line stanza, which sets up a counter statement.
It was only much later that Wyatt and Spencer formalised it by the use of Iambic Pentameter. Here is an example by John Milton. Note: even though it has been anglicized it is still presented as a 14 line poem.

When I Consider How My Light Is Spent

When I consider how my light is spent
Ere half my days, in this dark world and wide,
And that one talent which is death to hide
Lodged with me useless, though my soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, lest he returning chide;
"Doth God exact day-labor, light denied?"
I fondly ask; but Patience to prevent
That murmur, soon replies, "God doth not need
Either man's work or his own gifts; who best
Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best. His state
Is kingly. Thousands at his bidding speed
And post o'er land and ocean without rest:
They also serve who only stand and wait."

John Milton




There are 3 basic Italian Sonnet Forms;
  1. Italian.
  2. Sicilian and
  3. Sonetto Rispetto.
The difference is in the octave.The octave is constructed of two quatrains.
  1. The Italian has a rhyme scheme of; a. b. b. a. a. b. b. a.
  2. The Sicilian has a rhyme scheme of; a. b. a. b. a. b. a. b.
  3. The Sonetto Rispetto (Ottava Rima Octave) has a rhyme scheme of; a. b. a. b. a. b. c . c.

Each of these forms can also have the choice of two sestets, Italian and Sicilian:
  1. The Italian sestet has a rhyme scheme of; .1. 2. 3. 1. 2. 3.
  2. The Sicilian Sestet has a rhyme scheme of; .1. 2. 1. 2. 1. 2.

Although it seems more natural to put the Italian octave with the Italian sestet and similarly the Sicilians, it is possible to mix them and have an Italian octave with a Sicilian sestet. Including the Sonetto rispetto this gives a permutation of six poetry forms. In Turco's book of forms, "Reflections in an Attic Room;" Wesley Court, gives excellent examples of the variations of these forms.

The following are three basic versions of this form.

Love Lingered
Italian Octave and Sestet

The piper played so long, but out of tune
Was his mind thinking of another thing
Misheard, and hearing some other words ring.
His anger and mistrust has clouded the moon
Forcing their friendship, to end much too soon.
Their bitter words soured that loving feeling.
Angry looks and sounds sent love cartwheeling
And reduced it all to a crazy cartoon.
But each cartoon ends in a more happy way
And where in time other things can prevail
To have a happy end you must begin
And the beginning starts with each new day
Perseverance is the meaning of this tale
So that in the end all lovers will win.

Adoro che cosa può mai essere mine
Sicilian Octave and Sestet

I'm worshiping what can never be mine,
Nor possibly ever pass for what is a dream.
But she is real, we'll wait and bide our time,
So that we'll gain all that our love may seem.
Love is that silly state, that creates a regime,
Where fools are happiest see their eyes agleam,
See them so happy, their look is so sublime.
And more glowing than the brightest moonbeam.
Souls are easy guided by their lovers eyes,
Those bright windows betray what beats inside.
For that flash, that sparkle, cannot disguise,
An aftermath of love that cannot be denied.
So for a while there are just temporary ties,
And in that belief, other things are laid aside.

Lost and Found
Ottava Rima and Italian Sestet

I lost my heart to a heart unknown
Hidden deep within my tangled mind
Around which has hard callous grown.
I did not look for love nor expect to find
My mind was set and my heart like stone
And to all temptation I had gone blind.
Now there is one that claims my soul
Finally one who makes me whole.
On waking I think still of my heart
But now I can see that it is well,
Held in the hands of a special someone
Who was once a stranger and now a part
Who gives a look to me as if to tell
"Your mine, and yet together we are one".

Ryter Roethical



Whether you choose to follow the strict path of Iambic Pentameter is your decision, but as an alternative I would suggest using constant line lengths of 8 or 10 syllables.



Italian Sonnet Challenge Replies

Maryse Achong

Cloud Wishing
New Day A
Papers Please
Promises
Shubh Diwali
Sonnetmania
Woman Power

Peggy Nelson

Life

Ryter Roethicle

Be thou like a rose
Celestial Paths
City of Angels
Give all to Love
Gone are the days
Kicking the Night
Kiss Me
Love Lingers
Values
Xtremes

Leny Roovers

Clouds
Harmony
Hidden
Inside the Mirror
Loving You
Mindscapes
Nights Peace
Silence
Transformation
Unforgettable

Nia Wynne

Ink Stains
Letting Go



Maryse Achong

Cloud Wishing
Italian Octave and Sestet

Wish on a star to make your dreams come true,
That is what the experts have always said,
But I prefer to wish on clouds instead,
It's something that I've always liked to do;
Nicer when I am thinking thoughts of you,
And memories of you waltz through my head;
Like lambs they go wherever they are led,
Until I it's time to bid them all 'adieu.'
Sometimes I think I see your face up there,
Imagine that you're looking down at me;
But I know that it is only a game,
And before long you vanish in thin air.
If I had my way then you would still be
Close by to answer when I call your name.

-----

A New Day
Ottava Rima and Italian Sestet

Barack you have created history,
The USA will never be the same;
I pray that you will rule justly, wisely,
As the world looks on and folks speak your name…
Though not always with respect, dignity;
But then that is all part of life's rough game.
You ran the race and won, you're president,
May all your decisions be heaven sent.
McCain fought a good fight, a gentleman,
With much to offer, you've acknowledged that;
May differences be put aside as you
Begin the task of healing your nation.
May you search for and find ways to combat
Obstacles 'long the way, there're quite a few!

-----

Papers Please
Ottava Rima and Sicilian Sestet

My passport expires come March next year,
I can't get an appointment 'til July;
My ID card was stolen and I fear
I never got it replaced, so now I
Have no choice but to do so out of sheer
Necessity, a case of do or die.
If not I'll cease to exist, 'tis no lie.
A citizen with no papers to show,
It is a crying shame I must admit;
I have to get those documents I know,
There is just no way of escaping it.
So off to the various persons I go,
A task I don't enjoy one little bit.

-----

Promises
Italian Octave and Sestet

Come to me when your soul is serene, stilled,
And share your peace so I am tranquil too,
You know that I'll always be there for you;
And even when your heart is sorrow filled
When dreams have been destroyed and hope is killed
I'll soothe your troubled brow and help you through
It all; you know without a doubt that's true.
These promises I make will be fulfilled.
And in return I shall ask this one thing
To honour the trust I place willingly
In you; for without trust naught will survive.
But having it 'tween us then everything
Will fall in place; and that seed of love we
Planted, thus nurtured will blossom and thrive.

-----

Shubh Diwali
Italian Octave and Sestet

I'm placing deyas in my home tonight
To celebrate the feast of Diwali,
To pray the dark that shadows my country
Will be dispelled by the display of light;
Though symbolic I'm hoping that it might
Send a message to those who choose to see
That it is time this ever lasting night
Ends, so that once more we can walk freely.
Good conquers evil and we have to try
To live this message that is very clear,
And as we watch our island's youngsters die
We're duty bound to do something; to care.
Not enough just to look towards the sky,
Or live behind locked doors, cowered by fear.

-----

Sonnetmania (Dialect)
Ottava Rima and Sicilian Sestet

Ah tryin to write ah special sonnet
In dialect for everyone to see;
Like ah seal dat stamped firmly upon it
Wid de hallmark of ah true, true Trini.
Ah cud feel it pullin like ah magnet,
An Ah cyah help wonder how it will be.
Ah writin buh meh heart beatin real fas.
Dis is meh firs buh it might be meh las.
Ah want meh words to sing wid riddum sweet,
To flow like water dong dis empty page,
Ah want to know yuh was tappin yuh feet.
Ah tink Ah'll chrisen it 'Sonnet New Age'
An it mus have a special kina beat,
If Ah want it to be de lates rage.

-----

Woman Power
Italian Octave and Sestet

Woman don't cry, don't waste your precious tears,
Too many things in life to make us weep;
So many commitments we have to keep.
So often we're riddled with doubts and fears,
That's how it always has been through the years;
But we stood, took action when talk was cheap,
Though sometimes without looking we would leap;
Woman arise, we have crossed all frontiers.
Know that you hold the future in your arms,
Each little one a stake in things to come,
The sweet promise of a new tomorrow;
And as you nurture them, keep them from harm's
Way, you play a great role, the one of Mum;
From strength to greater strength may we all grow!

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Peggy Nelson



Life
Italian Octave and Sestet

Traveled over the worlds greatest mountains
Marveled at many countless flowered fields
Amazed when the decisions were revealed,
For surviving immoral human strains
Suffered from painful wars raging insane
Blamed and damned by critics words unsealed
Released from foolish lustful visual fields
Where lusting spread infectious vast filled pain
Sitting bare naked on stone to the bones
Useless I be on earth; death becomes me
Stilled within humans blood-spattered waters
Farewell to Earths lashing, roaring cyclones
Free I'll be from distractive rotting sprees
Heaven bound where peaceful loving concurs.

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Ryter Roethicle

Be thou like a rose
Ottava Rima and Sicilian Sestet

Be thou like a Rose my beloved
Let not thy thorns keep me away.
When I see thee I am resolved
So pray hold me and bid me stay.
Thy womanly scent has drawn me,
My hasty actions thus betray
Helpless like the worker bee I'm drawn
Giving in to you I became your pawn.
Nights become as day I wait on thee
I am but a slave to give thee pleasure
Tell me what ever it can be.
I promise what e'r you ask I will treasure
Nothing will be impossible to me
I offer you a love beyond all measure.

-----

Celestial Paths
Ottava Rima and Sicilian Sestet

Two lovers looked towards the sky and wished.
A star in the night sky winked back at them.
Thinking she'd granted them their wish they smiled,
Paths are known to part, so we should not condemn.
The star did not intend the lovers to be beguiled
In innocence their lives had become a mayhem
And a simple wink misunderstood as to its intent
Where sometimes what we want to see isn't meant.
A star is only a witness to an event
She watches the earth each night where lovers meet.
Deaf and innocent she doesn't know what's meant
All she sees is love and watches the build of heat
Seeing them after, kissing, happy and content
But daytime brings guilt, misery and deceit.

-----

City of Angels
Ottava Rima and Italian Sestet

All I heard was the scream of the jets
As I tried to listen to the earth today
Black car fumes, dust and cigarettes
Blocked my thoughts there was no way
That life could exist here without regrets.
People take here without thought to pay
The Earth breathes and lives and cares,
Breathe, and live in this filth, who dares?
Rain will not wash away this kind of grime,
Those in control are deaf, and set in mind
Nor do they care about their people's health.
The boom of the earth is ignored by crime,
They silence those who care and are kind
For all they have ever cared for is wealth.

-----

Give all to Love
Italian Octave, Sicilian Sestet

Tonight our love reached its peak so far.
Yet I am reminded that there is nothing,
Nothing we cannot do with the help of loving,
Because each time we meet, we raise the bar.
But there is no challenge, nothing from afar
True love sets a higher mark to everything
All who love naturally harken to its calling
Freely bound to love to follow their love star
In the light of dawn we will renew our vows
Absent of stars, the sun will watch above
Smiling, knowing that a thousand tomorrows
Will not lessen by one thousandth of
My feelings when one look is enough to arouse
All of my desire to give all to love.

-----

Gone are the days
Italian Octave, Sicilian Sestet

Gone are the warm days when I could hold you
Now you are faced with the coldness of winter.
Winter will not last this time, or any forever,
This time no ice or snow will mar your view.
Instead all that is needed is a kiss or two
Or three, or four, preferably those that linger
And will until your dying days remember
Moments which until now have been so few.
Time passes and in your winter I'll bring you heat
That warmth will melt any shadow of doubt
Instead pass on what is your own heartbeat.
Together we will impress so that we may shout
Our love to the world and boast of our feat
And hand in hand see all of Eternity out.

-----

Kicking te Night
Ottava Rima, Sicilian Sestet

I walk slowly along the suburban street
Kicking the night along in front of me
Carefully avoiding the rises in the concrete.
With the poor street lights it's hard to see.
Just watch for where shadows and white meet
At least it's swept and there is no debris.
I just had to get out and help clear my mind
Words'd been said, that were unjust and unkind
Today there was too much pain, Never again!
But I say that every time and like the fool I am
Commit myself to another plan that's inane
I'll learn to find someone that's not a sham
Ignore something else, for once use my brain.
But why search, at my age why give a damn.

-----

Kiss Me
Ottava Rima, Sicilian Sestet

Always kiss me goodnight, never say goodbye,
Kiss me when you can, and when you can't, think of me.
Love is much too precious to think, to ask why,
And pain is caused by thinking where you want to be.
Don't ever leave me wishing that I want to die
Left wondering, hopeless in a black miasmic sea.
I know about pain, have felt it many times before,
But now I know you, I don't want that anymore.
We're far from perfect in our ways you and I
Yet we lived together in harmony for a while
And could so again and we both know why
I do my best to make you happy see you smile
So please consider what I say very carefully
Always kiss me goodnight, never say goodbye.

-----

Love Lingers
Italian Octave Sicilian Sestet

The piper plays, then each part allots
He lingers but not reluctantly so
It is free to you and I, to come and go
In staying back we're tied in tender knots.
Feeling trembles when we kiss this way
Music has stirred the feeling in our breast
And tender touching does all the rest
With looks that bid each other to stay.
Now time and tide has done its worst
And youth and looks are left behind.
The piper on occasion gives a burst,
Then less Youthful figures soon find,
Someone to love and sate their thirst
Someone of a more similar mind.

-----

Values
Ottava Rima and Sicilian Sestet

I watch the white whispy clouds slowly appear
There is no promise of even one damp drop.
Of the promised thunderstorm, there is no fear
Give me one reason why I would wish to stop
The miracle happens, that would bring such cheer
But once again the forecasters have made a flop
And the promised storm has ended in nought
Exactly as all the cynics thought.
Too little, too often we are promised some rains
With dams that are low and rivers gone dry
But never the right places only down city drains
The politicians bullshit, then spin another lie
Using committees instead of using their brains
As all over, we watch good farmlands die.

-----

Xtremes
Italian Octave and Sestet

Oh Love, doest thou know thy brother Hate?
Nay! Please realise that he remembers thee;
For no matter how ignorant thou dost be,
His knowledge of thee could never dissipate.
And shouldst thou seek, perchance, to expiate,
Or wish to make amends for past inclemency
Whilst thou art modest, forgiving in thy decency
He was never ever known to mitigate.
For in thy answer "Learn to turn the other cheek"
How can you love someone who has hurt again?
Not to hate would seem by some to be weak
And so why then is it wrong to hide the pain?
Sometimes it is that action that the weakest seek
When to walk away completely would be the gain..

-----

Zenith
Italian Octave and Sicilian Sestet

A perfume splash on ivory mounds,
Or between, or there, where blush wine
And colours melt swirling shapes divine,
Creating heartbeats and throbbing pounds.
Thighs brush, whispers, a deeper voice
Stockings discard, and scented winds drift
Across shimmering pools, in passioned shift
Moon glow colours become the loving choice.
Feather breath warmth, with voiceless words
Promising eyes, soft with loves surrender,
Tongues tickle belly sides, with soft spoke tips
Spoken by those eyes with shining chords
Softly a lovers hand slowly tiptoeing there,
Until final mews of pleasure from those lips.

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Leny Roovers

Clouds
Sicilian Octave and Sestet

As thought-ships drift across the sea of mind,
I watch white clouds stretch out like curling waves.
Row after row of heaven's surf that crave
their peaceful shore, leave heaving storms behind.
Strong winds have blown most tall-ships far apart-
celestial fleet dispersed in thin white lines,
now drawing light and graceful, floating signs
on sky's blue canvas, always changing chart.
I see how gulls are soaring on air's streams,
my heart flies with them, rising to far spheres;
it travels ever higher on sun's beams-
light's stairway to your shrine that I revere.
My soul traverses oceans in my dreams,
with birds and thought-ships, clouds that volunteer.

-----



Harmony
Sicilian Octave and Sestet

When silence reigns once more within my mind,
I lay down chaos' burdens at your feet
and lift my head as souls prepare to meet-
our hearts are reaching out, in song entwined.
A bridge of hope spans continents of time,
it shows a choice of not yet traveled ways-
some are still dark, while others are ablaze
and beckoning to take the upward climb.
I take your offered hand as we proceed,
my footsteps fall in rhythm with heart's song;
vibrations harmonize in bodies keyed,
enfolded in your love, I can't go wrong.
We walk the path of life with steady speed,
enjoying each new view that comes along.

-----

Hidden
Ottava Rima and Sicilian Sestet

Still hidden in the womb of time to be,
our future grows from seed, sown in the past;
received in fertile soil, it might set free
two souls that have been bound by love to last.
Within my cells I feel my heart's strong plea
to bear the fruits of waiting, long amassed.
Life after life we met in Fate's own play,
can we consume this time our love's cache?
Inside, soft voices whisper to have trust,
preparing stretching tissues to give birth,
so once again hearts feel the upward thrust
and souls grow wings, escaping from the earth.
They leave behind old bonds of stifling dust,
while being filled with harmony and mirth.

-----

Inside the Mirror
Italian Octave and Sestet

Inside my mirrored eyes I see your face
reflected in the windows of my soul.
Your gentle smile can keep me in control-
my body longs to feel your warm embrace.
In mirror's depth our fingers interlace,
when eyes and bodies lock, we share one goal;
apart, we're less than half, together whole.
Our stubborn love refused to be erased.
You've been a part of me since time began,
no matter how we're tested, love stays strong.
I can't regret the pain that made me grow,
as I can see the outlines of life's plan.
Eventually we'll be where we belong,
then eyes and heavens all will be aglow.

-----

Loving You
Sicilian Octave and Sestet

You are my rainbow when the skies are gray,
the smile in people's eyes on each new meet;
you're in the song of birds at dawn's first tweet
and in my every prayer throughout each day.
I feel your touch in autumn sun's sweet kiss,
your taste still lingers in my favourite wine-
in strong black coffee I cannot decline.
You're in my quickened heartbeat as you call,
I feel your lips brush mine before I sleep;
and when the sky turns red at evening's fall,
I see your face among the stars' bright sweep.
At night you draw me close, keep me enthralled,
I listen to your heartbeat, strong and deep.

-----



Mindscapes
Sicilian Octave and Sestet

I watch my mind shift thought-ships into sheep,
in countless flocks they crowd green mental hills.
An ever-moving body, never still,
prevents my soul to come to you in sleep.
Imprisoned by soft woolly shapes, I stand,
unable to step forward in my dreams;
in this world in-between, silence redeems,
but I can't reach your peaceful, promised land.
I hear dogs bark as sheep start to disperse-
the shepherd of my mind has come to aid;
his whistle turns the herd into reverse
while shelties gather strays into the glade.
In this recaptured freedom I traverse
the meadows of my mind- now tranquil, staid.

-----

Night's Peace
Sicilian Octave and Italian Sestet

Four bright-eyed pointed faces look at me
with eyes that range from blue to yellow, green;
their message is one I have often seen:
it's after six and dinner-time, agree?
I can't refuse this plea, delay my tea,
obeying their twice-daily meal routine-
each gets its preferred plate, the elder three
have fish or soft food, while the youngest queen
eats biscuits, with some cat-milk on the side.
When after dinner, each has washed its face,
they join me on the lounge to watch the news,
three left and right, one near my head, astride.
Inside, a purring concert's taking place,
outside, the evening sky wears crimson hues.

-----



Silence
Ottava Rima and Sicilian Sestet

Inside my mirrored eyes I see your face
reflected in the windows of my soul.
Your gentle smile can keep me in control-
my body longs to feel your warm embrace.
In mirror's depth our fingers interlace,
when eyes and bodies lock, we share one goal;
apart, we're less than half, together whole.
Our stubborn love refused to be erased.
You've been a part of me since time began,
no matter how we're tested, love stays strong.
I can't regret the pain that made me grow,
as I can see the outlines of life's plan.
Eventually we'll be where we belong,
then eyes and heavens all will be aglow.

-----

Transformation
Italian Octave and Sicilian Sestet

Outside, tall poplar trees are shivering,
half naked in their dress of threadbare leaves;
as breath of autumn whispers through thin sleeves,
I see bare arms and fingers quivering.
Soon, cold winter's touch will be delivering
white, icy frocks, their cover will relieve
my unprotected poplar trees that grieve
and weave under harsh wind's administering.
Yet, deep within each tree new life is formed,
from each now naked finger buds will grow
that after winter's devastating storms
will burst and sprout in spring's abundant show.
In time, both trees and people will transform,
shake off old clothes and bend with life's own flow.

-----

Unforgettable
Italian Octave and Sicilian Sestet

My facial muscles quiver in quick mirth,
each time your thought-ships float into my sight;
from every sail your eyes shine down delight,
your lips are blowing kisses to the earth.
I listen to the wind and hear your name;
as autumn's sun brings back your warm embrace,
the mirror of my thoughts reflects your face-
I'll save it in my heart, in love enframed.
Love can't be measured with a scale or cord,
it can't be held in bottles or in tins,
nor can it be forgotten or ignored.
Love paints a shining glow on lovers' skins,
puts starlight in their eyes, to be adored,
it encompasses all and forgives sins.

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Nia Wynne

Ink Stains

Italian Octave and Sestet

Where is the pen that wrests from me my heart?
So comes this fear that takes away all hopes,
Takes the lines, the muse, I just mope.
There is the pen in the trash, no more art
To adorn my hands, no more pot
To clean the ink stains of life, to help cope,
Merely muddy waters make thoughts all taupe,
Rivers of fears can't wash away the hurt.
Splattered across a mauve'd sky, apart
From all clouds and dust are wishes motes
That tarnish dead dreams and many more, such
As fate or destinies chaos, and ports
Where ancient ships sail through memories cove
Painting the seas by their blacken'd touch.

-----

Letting Go

Italian Octave and Sestet

A slivered moon hangs in dusky blue sky
Straight beside a beautiful evening star.
Like friend ships floating loves afar,
Cloudless expanse above me reminds why
And how we travel time, though we die,
The cosmos carries on, love tarries far
Through an era or an eon; we are
Here and gone tomorrow, hoping to fly.
Should we conquer chaos, should we then try
Also to control fate destinies war,
With robot like precision of all acts?
Mortal though we be, we all seek to spy
Through the motes of wishes and free each bar
With the keys of gods... we deny the facts.

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