I came to writing mysteries through poetry and still think that a well-constructed mystery is very much like a well-constructed sonnet. Both are artificial forms. Both start off in one direction and then, with a twist of the concluding couplet/surprising ending, both reveal that they were headed somewhere different all the time.
Leon Theremin's original designs are elegant, ingenious and effective. As electronics goes, the theremin is very simple. But there are so many subtleties hidden in the details of the design. It's like a great sonnet, or a painting, or a speech, that is perfectly done on more than one level.
To write poetry is to be very alone, but you always have the company of your influences. But you also have the company of the form itself, which has a kind of consciousness. I mean, the sonnet will simply tell you, that's too many syllables or that's too many lines or that's the wrong place.So, instead of being alone, you're in dialogue with the form.
A story is a story is a story. The only difference is in the techniques you bring to bear. There are always limitations on what you can and can't do. But I enjoy that. Just like when you write a sonnet or haiku, there are rules you have to abide by. And to me, playing within the rules is the fun part. It keeps the brain fresh.
J. Michael Straczynski
Each work of art excludes the world, concentrates attention on itself. For the time it is the only thing worth doing -to do just that; be it a sonnet, a statue, a landscape, an outline head of Caesar, or an oration. Presently we return to the sight of another that globes itself into a whole as did the first, for example, a beautiful garden; and nothing seems worth doing in life but laying out a garden.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
If you have so earth-creeping a mind that it cannot lift itself up to look to the sky of poetry... thus much curse I must send you, in the behalf of all poets, that while you live, you live in love, and never get favour for lacking skill of a sonnet; and, when you die, your memory die from the earth for want of an epitaph.
When you work in form, be it a sonnet or villanelle or whatever, the form is there and you have to fill it. And you have to find how to make that form say what you want to say. But what you find, always--I think any poet who's worked in form will agree with me--is that the form leads you to what you want to say.
Ursula K. Le Guin
Sport strips away personality, letting the white bone of character shine through. Sport gives players an opportunity to know and test themselves. The great difference between sport and art is that sport, like a sonnet, forces beauty within its own system. Art, on the other hand, cyclically destroys boundaries and breaks free.
Rita Mae Brown
Rare and powerful harmonies exist, Shaping both scent and contour in a flower. Thus brilliance lies unseen by us until, Beneath the chisel, it blazes in the diamond. And thus do images of fleeting vision, Drifting above like cloud-forms in the sky, Once turned to stone live on from age to age, Held always in a faultless, polished phrase. ("A Sonnet To Form")
However, he wrote some verses on her, and very pretty they were.' 'And so ended his affection, ' said Elizabeth impatiently. 'There has been many a one, I fancy, overcome in the same way. I wonder who first discovered the efficacy of poetry in driving away love!' 'I have been used to consider poetry as the food of love, ' said Darcy. 'Of a fine, stout, healthy love it may. Everything nourishes what is strong already. But if it be only a slight, thin sort of inclination, I am convinced that one good sonnet will starve it entirely away.
A letter may be coded, and a word may be coded. A theatrical performance may be coded, and a sonnet may be coded, and there are times when it seems the entire world is in code. Some believe that the world can be decoded by performing research in a library. Others believe that the world can be decoded by reading a newspaper.
My colleagues in elementary particle theory in many lands [and I] are driven by the usual insatiable curiosity of the scientist, and our work is a delightful game. I am frequently astonished that it so often results in correct predictions of experimental results. How can it be that writing down a few simple and elegant formulae, like short poems governed by strict rules such as those of the sonnet or the waka, can predict universal regularities of Nature?
I was momentarily stunned by his odd announcement and told him as much. "Let's just talk about the fact that you composed a sonnet to my vagina, shall we? You are sending off some major stalker vibes, which is odd because you're gay. You are gay, right?" He narrowed his eyes at me and waved his hand in the direction of his 'muse' as he stated, "I don't want any part of that thing. I just want to honor it for being the only known thing in existence to be touched by the dick of a god.
Whoever you are, bear in mind that appearance is not reality. Some people act like extroverts, but the effort costs them energy, authenticity, and even physical health. Others seem aloof or self-contained, but their inner landscapes are rich and full of drama. So the next time you see a person with a composed face and a soft voice, remember that inside her mind she might be solving an equation, composing a sonnet, designing a hat. She might, that is, be deploying the powers of quiet.
You must know that I do not love and that I love you, because everything alive has its two sides; a word is one wing of silence, fire has its cold half. I love you in order to begin to love you, to start infinity again and never to stop loving you: that's why I do not love you yet. I love you, and I do not love you, as if I held keys in my hand: to a future of joy- a wretched, muddled fate- My love has two lives, in order to love you. -Sonnet XLIV
Love is not love which alters it when alteration finds, or bends with the remover to remove: O no! It is an ever fixed mark that looks on tempests and is never shaken; it is the star to every wandering bark whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken. Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks within his bending sickle's compass come: Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks, but bears it out, even to the edge of doom." (Sonnet 116)
What are the precise characteristics of an epigram it is not easy to define. It differs from a joke, in the fact that the wit of the latter dies in the words, and cannot therefore be conveyed in another language; while an epigram is a wit of ideas, and hence, is translatable. Like aphorisms, songs and sonnets, it is occupied with some single point, small and manageable; but whilst a song conveys a sentiment, a sonnet a poetical, and an aphorism a moral reflection, an epigram expresses a contrast.
Everything. A letter may be coded, and a word may be coded. A theatrical performance may be coded, and a sonnet may be coded, and there are times when it seems the entire world is in code. Some believe that the world can be decoded by performing research in a library. Others believe that the world can be decoded by reading a newspaper. In my case, the only thing that made sense of the world was you, and without you the world will seem as garbled and tragic as a malfunctioning typewrit9.
Sonnet XXV Before I loved you, love, nothing was my own: I wavered through the streets, among Objects: Nothing mattered or had a name: The world was made of air, which waited. I knew rooms full of ashes, Tunnels where the moon lived, Rough warehouses that growled 'get lost', Questions that insisted in the sand. Everything was empty, dead, mute, Fallen abandoned, and decayed: Inconceivably alien, it all Belonged to someone else - to no one: Till your beauty and your poverty Filled the autumn plentiful with gifts.
When Vanity kissed Vanity, a hundred happy Junes ago, he pondered o'er her breathlessly, and, that all men might ever know, he rhymed her eyes with life and death: "Thru Time I'll save my love!" he said. . . yet Beauty vanished with his breath, and, with her lovers, she was dead. . . -Ever his wit and not her eyes, ever his art and not her hair: "Who'd learn a trick in rhyme, be wise and pause before his sonnet there". . . So all my words, however true, might sing you to a thousandth June, and no one ever know that you were Beauty for an afternoon.
F. Scott Fitzgerald
A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
Robert A. Heinlein
I did some research on this a couple years ago," Augustus continued. "I was wondering if everybody could be remembered. Like, if we got organized, and assigned a certain number of corpses to each living person, would there be enough living people to remember all the dead people?" "And are there?" "Sure, anyone can name fourteen dead people. But we're disorganized mourners, so a lot of people end up remembering Shakespeare and no one ends up remembering the person he wrote Sonnet Fifty-five about
I did some research on this a couple years ago, " Augustus continued. "I was wondering if everybody could be remembered. Like, if we got organized, and assigned a certain number of corpses to each living person, would there be enough living people to remember all the dead people?" "And are there?" "Sure, anyone can name fourteen dead people. But we're disorganized mourners, so a lot of people end up remembering Shakespeare and no one ends up remembering the person he wrote Sonnet Fifty-five about
She wrote poetry constantly; that was her "work". She was a slow bleeder and she slaved over it for long, exhausting hours, and many a middle of a night I could hear her creaking around the dead house with a pen in one hand, a clipboard and a flashlight in the other, refining her poems, jotting down the lines of a conceit. Writing never came easy for her; it gave her calluses. She never courted the muses, she wrestled them, mauled them all over the house and came up, after weeks of peripatetic labor, with a slim Spencerian sonnet, fourteen lines of imagistic jabberwocky.
Requiescat Tread lightly, she is near Under the snow, Speak gently, she can hear The daisies grow. All her bright golden hair Tarnished with rust, She that was young and fair Fallen to dust. Lily-like, white as snow, She hardly knew She was a woman, so Sweetly she grew. Coffin-board, heavy stone, Lie on her breast, I vex my heart alone She is at rest. Peace, Peace, she cannot hear Lyre or sonnet, All my life's buried here, Heap earth upon it.
Disquite Sonnet I wish that I could find the words to tell You were it hurts; nothing breaking my skin Slices whispering in my brain like hell Leaking suggestions of a morose grin Cannot collect my thoughts long enough to Share them in an understandable way So I lock my lips firmly and walk through Life, searching for the perfect words to say Trapped in my head, I seek to be let out Grasping connections with those who might know What it feels like, alone in a crowd, doubt Filling my body with reasons to go Face to face, I might not find the right phrase But I hope someone hears me anyway
Sonnet LXXXI And now you're mine. Rest with your dream in my dream. Love and pain and work should all sleep, now. The night turns on its invisible wheels, and you are pure beside me as a sleeping ember. No one else, Love, will sleep in my dreams. You will go, we will go together, over the waters of time. No one else will travel through the shadows with me, only you, evergreen, ever sun, ever moon. Your hands have already opened their delicate fists and let their soft drifting signs drop away; your eyes closed like two gray wings, and I move after, following the folding water you carry, that carries me away. The night, the world, the wind spin out their destiny. Without you, I am your dream, only that, and that is all.
Sonnet 29 When, in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes, I all alone beweep my outcast state And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries And look upon myself and curse my fate, Wishing me like to one more rich in hope, Featured like him, like him with friends possess'd, Desiring this man's art and that man's scope, With what I most enjoy contented least; Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising, Haply I think on thee, and then my state, Like to the lark at break of day arising From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven's gate; For thy sweet love remember'd such wealth brings That then I scorn to change my state with kings.
Sonnet 130 My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun; Coral is far more red than her lips' red; If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun; If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head. I have seen roses damask'd, red and white, But no such roses see I in her cheeks; And in some perfumes is there more delight Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks. I love to hear her speak, yet well I know That music hath a far more pleasing sound; I grant I never saw a goddess go; My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground: And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare As any she belied with false compare.
Sonnet 23 As an unperfect actor on the stage, Who with his fear is put besides his part, Or some fierce thing replete with too much rage, Whose strength's abundance weakens his own heart; So I, for fear of trust, forget to say The perfect ceremony of love's rite, And in mine own love's strength seem to decay, O'ercharg'd with burden of mine own love's might. O, let my books be then the eloquence And dumb presagers of my speaking breast; Who plead for love, and look for recompense, More than that tongue that more hath more express'd. O, learn to read what silent love hath writ: To hear with eyes belongs to love's fine wit.
Sonnet 65 Since brass, nor stone, nor earth, nor boundless sea But sad mortality o'ersways their power, How with this rage shall beauty hold a plea, Whose action is no stronger than a flower? O! how shall summer's honey breath hold out Against the wrackful siege of battering days, When rocks impregnable are not so stout, Nor gates of steel so strong, but Time decays? O fearful meditation! where, alack, Shall Time's best jewel from Time's chest lie hid? Or what strong hand can hold his swift foot back? Or who his spoil of beauty can forbid? O! none, unless this miracle have might, That in black ink my love may still shine bright.
Hardy's astonishing technical versatility has won the admiration of major poets from Ezra Pound and Cecil Day Lewis to Philip Larkin. Among other genres he employs the lyric, narrative, ballads, and the sonnet. He also moves easily between the amplitude of dramatic monologue and the compression of imagism. He experiments continually with an ingenious variety of stanza forms and rhyme schemes, rejecting the fluidity of contemporary poetry for his own idiosyncratic style, based on a real understanding of the variety of speech rhythms and registers. Each individual poem is designed to express in its language and form, and with utter honesty, Hardy's impressions of life.
The Renaissance did not break completely with mediaeval history and values. Sir Philip Sidney is often considered the model of the perfect Renaissance gentleman. He embodied the mediaeval virtues of the knight (the noble warrior), the lover (the man of passion), and the scholar (the man of learning). His death in 1586, after the Battle of Zutphen, sacrificing the last of his water supply to a wounded soldier, made him a hero. His great sonnet sequence Astrophel and Stella is one of the key texts of the time, distilling the author's virtues and beliefs into the first of the Renaissance love masterpieces. His other great work, Arcadia, is a prose romance interspersed with many poems and songs.
Sonnet III: Black Coffin opened wide for all to See Black Coffin opened wide for all to See, The lifeless form of one I loved so dear. O, listen! mournful knells that soon shall be All night long tolling for the folk to hear. The lanterns overlight the old churchyard To watch the coffin lowered into the ground; Soon Frost shall grasp the turf already hard, Decay ye have to face without a sound. But years have pass'd herein do I relate My dear sweet mother's form within my mind. Still happiness fills all my heart and state, As I see my small family so kind. Love cannot be withheld by death or grave, It stays alive within the heart so brave.
Sonnet VIII Je vis, je meurs : je me bre»le et me noie, J'ai chaud extreªme en endurant froidure ; La vie m'est et trop molle et trop dure, J'ai grands ennuis entremeªles de joie. Tout en un coup je ris et je larmoie, Et en plaisir maint grief tourment j'endure, Mon bien s'en va, et e jamais il dure, Tout en un coup je se¨che et je verdoie. Ainsi Amour inconstamment me me¨ne Et, quand je pense avoir plus de douleur, Sans y penser je me trouve hors de peine. Puis, quand je crois ma joie eªtre certaine, Et eªtre en haut de mon desire heur, Il me remet en mon premier malheur.
Am I right in suggesting that ordinary life is a mean between these extremes, that the noble man devotes his material wealth to lofty ends, the advancement of science, or art, or some such true ideal; and that the base man does the opposite by concentrating all his abilities on the amassing of wealth?' Exactly; that is the real distinction between the artist and the bourgeois, or, if you prefer it, between the gentleman and the cad. Money, and the things money can buy, have no value, for there is no question of creation, but only of exchange. Houses, lands, gold, jewels, even existing works of art, may be tossed about from one hand to another; they are so, constantly. But neither you nor I can write a sonnet; and what we have, our appreciation of art, we did not buy. We inherited the germ of it, and we developed it by the sweat of our brows. The possession of money helped us, but only by giving us time and opportunity and the means of travel. Anyhow, the principle is clear; one must sacrifice the lower to the higher, and, as the Greeks did with their oxen, one must fatten and bedeck the lower, so that it may be the worthier offering.
The hardest lesson you will ever learn will be to love yourself. But you can do it. There will always be days when you hate yourself, days when you wish you had never been born. But darling, you are beautiful, and if Shakespeare had met you, you would've inspired his 18th sonnet, and if Monet had known you, he would've given up painting water lilies and chosen to paint you instead. I know it's hard to love yourself, but sometimes it's okay to be a little selfish with your love.. When you begin to feel worthless, remember that the stars died for you. You are made of elements that are thousands of years old, elements that make up every atom of your being. When you want to cut your wrists, remember that the souls of stars live in your veins. Don't kill them. Live for the life you always wanted but were too scared to pursue. Live for you. Live for me. Live for every person who has ever loved you, for the people who have come before you, so that you may be here today. Live for the fire that burns in your soul, that tells you: keep going, you're almost there, just a little farther. Because when Rome burned down the emperor didn't run away, he stayed and he sang for his people. Stay. Sing for your people. Sing for us.
This is a love story, Michael Deane says. But, really, what isn't? Doesn't the detective love the mystery, or the chase, or the nosy female reporter, who is even now being held against her wishes at an empty warehouse on the waterfront? Surely the serial murderer loves his victims, and the spy loves his gadgets or his country or the exotic counterspy. The ice trucker is torn between his love for ice and truck, and the competing chefs go crazy for scallops, and the pawnshop guys adore their junk just as the Housewives live for catching glimpses of their own Botoxed brows in gilded hall mirrors, and the rocked-out dude on 'roids totally wants to shred the ass of the tramp-tatted girl on Hookbook, and because this is reality, they are all in love-madly, truly-with the body mic clipped to their back buckle, and the producer casually suggesting just one more angle, one more Jell-O shot. And the robot loves his master, alien loves his saucer, Superman loves Lois, Lex, and Lana, Luke love Leia (till he finds out she's his sister), and the exorcist loves the demon even as he leaps out the window with it, in full soulful embrace, as Leo loves Kate and they both love the sinking ship, and the shark-God, the shark loves to eat, which is what the Mafioso loves, too-eating and money and Paulie and omerta` -the way the cowboy loves his horse, loves the corseted girl behind the piano bar, and sometimes loves the other cowboy, as the vampire loves night and neck, and the zombie-don't even start with the zombie, sentimental fool; has anyone ever been more lovesick than a zombie, that pale, dull metaphor for love, all animal craving and lurching, outstretched arms, his very existence a sonnet about how much he wants those brains? This, too, is a love story.
The hours I spent in this anachronistic, bibliophile, Anglophile retreat were in surreal contrast to the shrieking horror show that was being enacted in the rest of the city. I never felt this more acutely than when, having maneuvered the old boy down the spiral staircase for a rare out-of-doors lunch the next day-terrified of letting him slip and tumble-I got him back upstairs again. He invited me back for even more readings the following morning but I had to decline. I pleaded truthfully that I was booked on a plane for Chile. 'I am so sorry, ' said this courteous old genius. 'But may I then offer you a gift in return for your company?' I naturally protested with all the energy of an English middle-class upbringing: couldn't hear of such a thing; pleasure and privilege all mine; no question of accepting any present. He stilled my burblings with an upraised finger. 'You will remember, ' he said, 'the lines I will now speak. You will always remember them.' And he then recited the following: What man has bent o'er his son's sleep, to brood How that face shall watch his when cold it lies? Or thought, as his own mother kissed his eyes, Of what her kiss was when his father wooed? The title (Sonnet XXIX of Dante Gabriel Rossetti)-'Inclusiveness'-may sound a trifle sickly but the enfolded thought recurred to me more than once after I became a father and Borges was quite right: I have never had to remind myself of the words. I was mumbling my thanks when he said, again with utter composure: 'While you are in Chile do you plan a call on General Pinochet?' I replied with what I hoped was equivalent aplomb that I had no such intention. 'A pity, ' came the response. 'He is a true gentleman. He was recently kind enough to award me a literary prize.' It wasn't the ideal note on which to bid Borges farewell, but it was an excellent illustration of something else I was becoming used to noticing-that in contrast or corollary to what Colin MacCabe had said to me in Lisbon, sometimes it was also the right people who took the wrong line.
When he was in college, a famous poet made a useful distinction for him. He had drunk enough in the poet's company to be compelled to describe to him a poem he was thinking of. It would be a monologue of sorts, the self-contemplation of a student on a summer afternoon who is reading Euphues. The poem itself would be a subtle series of euphuisms, translating the heat, the day, the student's concerns, into symmetrical posies; translating even his contempt and boredom with that famously foolish book into a euphuism. The poet nodded his big head in a sympathetic, rhythmic way as this was explained to him, then told him that there are two kinds of poems. There is the kind you write; there is the kind you talk about in bars. Both kinds have value and both are poems; but it's fatal to confuse them. In the Seventh Saint, many years later, it had struck him that the difference between himself and Shakespeare wasn't talent - not especially - but nerve. The capacity not to be frightened by his largest and most potent conceptions, to simply (simply!) sit down and execute them. The dreadful lassitude he felt when something really large and multifarious came suddenly clear to him, something Lear-sized yet sonnet-precise. If only they didn't rush on him whole, all at once, massive and perfect, leaving him frightened and nerveless at the prospect of articulating them word by scene by page. He would try to believe they were of the kind told in bars, not the kind to be written, though there was no way to be sure of this except to attempt the writing; he would raise a finger (the novelist in the bar mirror raising the obverse finger) and push forward his change. Wailing like a neglected ghost, the vast notion would beat its wings into the void. Sometimes it would pursue him for days and years as he fled desperately. Sometimes he would turn to face it, and do battle. Once, twice, he had been victorious, objectively at least. Out of an immense concatenation of feeling, thought, word, transcendent meaning had come his first novel, a slim, pageant of a book, tombstone for his slain conception. A publisher had taken it, gingerly; had slipped it quietly into the deep pool of spring releases, where it sank without a ripple, and where he supposes it lies still, its calm Bodoni gone long since green. A second, just as slim but more lurid, nightmarish even, about imaginary murders in an imaginary exotic locale, had been sold for a movie, though the movie had never been made. He felt guilt for the producer's failure (which perhaps the producer didn't feel), having known the book could not be filmed; he had made a large sum, enough to finance years of this kind of thing, on a book whose first printing was largely returned.