A Difference in Egos (Sonnet)


A Difference in Egos

I played the role of your hillside, rolling from
lowing seas. I played the role of mossless stone,
as free as you seemed to be. I played a bone
that was not a rib, no Eve from Kingdom come,
aping what I thought you wanted, and then some.
I played me like a viola, whose braised tone
might fit your style. Even polished up a moan–
a true enough moan – but with consonant hum.

But none of me sufficed. Not my hill nor cry–
yes, I cried too–true oceans of ill-toned tilt–
you viewed that bit as an act, a ploy, a lie.
And then I could play no more, the infused lilt
leaving me as you would, for I could not ply
your rolling ways in such salt-plowed earth, bound silt.

Here’s a rather whiney draft sonnet for Kerry O’Connor’s wonderful sonnet challenge on With Real Toads. Kerry inspires with the example of two July-born sonneteers, Petrarch and Neruda. This was a bit of an experiment for me — no, I couldn’t get sensual, cool and quirkily profound like Neruda –but I went for an eleven syllable line which was apparently typical of Petrarch, and did not even try to think of iambic pentameter. See Kerry’s article for more on these remarkable poets.

I am also linking this to dverse poets pub open link night, hosted today by the very energetic Bjorn Rudberg.

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43 Comments on “A Difference in Egos (Sonnet)”

  1. Wonderful.. I like the mossless stone and the hillside. Great imagery ..whiney is quite ok in my book. Love the choice of rhymes in the second part.

  2. This is top top drawer writing, Karin. What a sonnet!
    Not only have you used the rhyme scheme, but have coupled it with line breaks that direct our main focus away from the pattern, leaving it as a marvelous sonorous background to your main event which is the argument. The dilemma is perfectly conveyed in your octave, and the only solution: ‘I could play no more…your rolling ways’ is convincing.
    This puts me in mind of some of the amazing sonnets of Edna St Vincent Millay.

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Dear Kerry, thanks very much for your kind words. I get into a rhyming thing some times and can’t stop myself even as I worry that it may undercut a deeper tone in the poems. I tend to go for the music in the end, as I’m not great with meaning! But one is never sure of the lines. My biggest question at the moment is whether the end should say “my salt-plowed earth” rather than “such” but I’m afraid that really does veer too much into the woe-is-me – I think I had something like that when I said it was whiney and then tried to tone down the whine. (Another problem – whine and rhyme!) (Ha!) Thanks again for your very inspiring post. k.

      • Why not in ‘this salt-plowed earth’ – ‘this’… sounds compatibly with ‘silt’ at the end of the line, whereas the ‘-uch’ falls a little heavily on the ear.

      • ManicDdaily Says:

        I think you are right. I had “this” when first published and, because I am in lawyer mode today, changed it to such, (Such is standard attorney’s word.)

  3. brian miller Says:

    rather bitter sweet…made me think of losing oneself in trying to be what the other needed or wanted, you know….as much freedom as they portrayed you became more trapped….

  4. This is a screamer, as they say in football! One of your better ones, in my opinion. I love the way you changed the tone in the second stanza. Many thanks, I really enjoyed this piece.

    Greetings from London.

  5. hedgewitch Says:

    I’m so glad to see you working with this challenge Karin–I think it plays to your strengths, as you play with the form’s strengths here–I found the rhyme very unobtrusive and subtle, just the hint of rhythm that eleven syllables rather needs…I love the imagery of the viola–an instrument with an in-between voice, neither violin nor cello, and braised evoking ‘brazen’ or some brass wind instrument as well adds to the musical confusion that is (for me) a symbol of the lover’s dilemma here, the not being enough, not finding the right notes, or simply astonished and disappointed that a viola cannot be a French horn…anyway, a great volta, and the ending is very modern feeling, which also offsets the rhyminess with a nice dash of cold alienated reality—and of intricate word play with ply/plough/ploy, which speaks back to the role/roll of the opening. Loved it.

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Thanks much. Yes, that’s what I was going for with viola – it seems so second fiddle from the start – and not with the plaintiff richness of the cello, though I think it is deep and plenty beautiful. And the braised – I did not think of it in the brazen/brassy sense but only as something slow cooked and calculated, I guess. I’m not sure of the rhythm of some lines but wrote it pretty quickly so will review when a bit of time has passed. Thanks for kind words. k.

      • hedgewitch Says:

        Just checking in to see how you’re doing, k…hope you are holding up to all the commuting and long hours. Also forgot to mention how much I liked the photo.

      • ManicDdaily Says:

        Thanks – I am working a lot. The photo is actually from South India, but I put a funny filter on it to make it look more dried up. k.

  6. Grace Says:

    Love it K, very unique playing up to the ego but in the end, better to whine in our own ill-toned tilt –

    This part was specially clever:

    I played me like a viola, whose braised tone
    might fit your style. Even polished up a moan–
    a true enough moan – but with consonant hum.

  7. grapeling Says:

    K – Echoing previous sentiments – a strong, melodious write, and maybe it’s my mindset, but I saw this as not whiny at all. Being jilted doesn’t make you a whiner (or maybe I am too but too enamored of it to notice!) ~ M

  8. Helen Dehner Says:

    I could not hear the whine … just the moan. The true enough moan with consonant hum. GREAT write!

  9. janehewey Says:

    hillside, seas, stones, bones, viola, and Moan… all of these are evocative of softly curving and forming while holding their own presence. oh boy, I love this. your ending lines are remarkably stuck and sure. I mean this in a beneficial way. your cadence is easy to read. Not a sonnet expert or even close, I am starting to get a feel for when the topic, tone, and form put together mean more than strict syllabic counting. this is wonderful.

  10. Sad what we do sometimes to be loved–this was just excellent–I have to echo what others have said–I particularly liked the viola and consonant hum–really enjoyed this!

  11. Mary Says:

    Beautifully worded sonnet. Intricate. Cannot add to what others have said, but I think these were my favorite lines from your poem:

    I played a bone
    that was not a rib, no Eve from Kingdom come,
    aping what I thought you wanted, and then some.

  12. Truedessa Says:

    this is a wonderful sonnet wrapped with sadness..I cried too ..true oceans..of ill-toned..tilt..

  13. punnypalaver Says:

    This brought Edna St. Vincent Millay to my mind, too. A wonderful sonnet that is consistent in applying the natural to the relational.

  14. Victoria Says:

    This will feel familiar to many of us, I suspect. As for the form, my personal thought is the iambic and all those details are nice, but what counts is the result, the meaning. I think you worked it all really well. I like how you wove nature into the relationship issues.

  15. apshilling Says:

    this is probably my favourite form and it certainly does suit you. A carefully crafted piece that effects me in that special way only a sonnet can; that movement and embrace of the form of legends.
    imho – most excellent: a serene read.

  16. claudia Says:

    ugh…it stings when we try and nothing seems to be sufficient cause the worlds are just too far apart…good job on the sonnet…haven’t written one in ages..

  17. Beautifully executed, a gem.

  18. Steve King Says:

    I think rhyme is a great way to bring emphasis. Certainly yours was not the least bit obtrusive. And I especially enjoyed your skill with the internal rhyme early.

    There’s great freedom and expression within the form in this. Great imagination and execution. (No need to visit back–no new post for me!!!)

  19. David King Says:

    A great poem this. I haven’t yet seen the challenge, but shall be putting that right pronto! Every line of it says “Classical”, you have caught the character of the petrarchian Sonnet.The line length also made it interesting. From first line to last, a delight.

  20. Pamela Says:

    Karin, I haven’t visited you in ages. I hope all is well with you. I love this sonnet, your rhyme is spot on- I am always impressed with people who can write in this form.


    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Ha! Well, it’s a form I like a great deal though I usually do a more iambic Shakespearean style version. I like it though because there are so many fewer decisions to make if form dictates. Anyway, thanks so much Pamela for your visit. Hope all is well with you and that you are enjoying your summer. k.

  21. In trying to please, none of me suffices. When in fact we are sufficient just as we are. This form conveyed your well-written message well.

  22. shanyns Says:

    I like it, the images work well with the form as you choose to use it. Good piece here. 🙂

  23. ayala Says:

    A great write, Karin.

  24. cloudfactor5 Says:

    This really resonated with me !! moves musically with tremendous strength, once the role is payed, becoming un-played is often the end result!! Nice view in the photo !!

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