sestina to spring

I sit under the gaze of May’s fresh sky

the clean white blossoms, scattered, gleam like pearls

and bring alive the undergrowth of green 

where April saw but shadows of this hope

and now there lives a riot of survival 

amidst the death and worries of the world 


spreading like a fog over the world 

darkening the swiftly clearing sky

humanity’s concerns for its survival 

life now held as carefully as pearls 

no longer will our spring be one of hope

no longer will our leaves thrive and be green 


but look up now, see Nature’s arms of green 

reach down to spread her love across the world 

her breath floats on the wind and whispers hope 

a new found clarity has filled the sky 

Earth’s oyster opens, bright are all her pearls

the flowers dance with life not just survival


but we live on a knife-edge of survival 

our skin turns grey while Nature’s face is green 

we longed so much for riches and for pearls 

we lost the life that used to fill our world 

our lives fall short beneath the endless sky

horizons bring us fear, no longer hope 


yet all there is for us to hold is hope 

the hope that there is more than just survival

that we will feel the warmth of summer sky 

that we will turn to find the richest green

and look upon this place – not just our world

a living heaven, more to us than pearls 


in store for us are love and life, and pearls

when we look straight ahead with eyes of hope 

Nature holds the power of our world 

the will to bring disaster or survival 

to give us red, and pink, and blue and green 

a promised arc as sunset fills the sky 


a sunrise soon will greet that same bright sky

the trees and meadows all will grow back green

the world will tell the stories of survival 


hold me close 

and tell me, that this storm

ends somewhere soon


show me, when the sun comes 

how the rainbows bend their painted curves

into a smile


hold my hand

I’ll let you hold my fears

like thawing snow

between your fingers

melt to nothing on the ground


take away

the parts of me I keep unseen

held within your palm –

the parts of me you love


when this is over

look at me – we’ll see 

a thousand routes and roads

where the lines around our eyes should be


we’ll thrive where once we slept

smile where we once wept

run free and smooth

as your fingertips

in journeys made across my cheek


My Words, My Solace

This is my latest poem, a reflection on why I enjoy reading and writing so much, and about what words mean to me:


My words, my solace


I have my words

they are my solace;

they come to me

in times of need


when I’m lost

or weak or lonely

I will find them.

My only power.


I like the feeling

of the words; and knowing

that they cannot

come and go


and how, without

strict shape or form

or being, words

are solid.


They’re things

which cannot age

or change their mind

or leave


or lie to me.

The only things

that know the real shape

of my soul.


I cling to words –

a bird upon a branch

(birds never fall

from branches when asleep)


and when the lights go out

still I can see them.

If my hands were tied

still I would feel them.


They’re going nowhere.

Rocks under the ground

nobody sees them

but they hold me up


when all else falls.

They live within me

and survive

when all else dies.

Poetry – The Beauty of the Sonnet

‘How oft, when thou, my music, music play’st… the wiry concord that mine ear confounds…’

– William Shakespeare, Sonnet 128

I love sonnets. The sonnet has a wonderful, lyrical quality to it, and that is one of the reasons why it one of my favourite forms of poetry. It feels so satisfying to read a sonnet, and I get the same satisfaction from writing them. The rhyme and pentameter of a sonnet give it a soothing, musical feel, and I find that, even if I don’t altogether understand the subject matter of the poetry, I can still appreciate the sonnet simply for the way it sounds.

The Shakespearean Sonnet

I think one of the first sonnets I ever read was Shakespeare’s Let Me Not To The Marriage of True Minds. A copy of the poem is annotated below:

In this sonnet, Shakespeare contemplates love, defining it as ‘an ever-fixéd mark’ rather than something which ‘alters when it alteration finds’.

A Shakespearean sonnet is made up of 14 lines, each with 10 syllables, and comprises three quatrains (sets of 4 lines) ending with a rhyming couplet. Before the rhyming couplet there is usually a volta – a turn of thought or argument.

Here is a Shakespearean sonnet I wrote myself:


Flow with the sea and leave the shore behind

when you are unsure where to turn and stand

your ankles sinking slowly into land

be free to float and see what you will find

The sea’s too full with waves you can’t control

so let the current take you where it may

lose everything you’ve lost, drift far away

the seawater will surely make you whole

But though the current seems to offer freedom

it’s sometimes best to choose to stand your ground

ignore the pull of water all around

before your life and all its worth is gone

So fight the current, strengthened as you try

or past and future ventures all will die.

The Petrarchan Sonnet

The Petrarchan sonnet is different from the Shakespearean sonnet in that it consists of a set of eight lines, called an octave, followed by six lines called a sestet. The volta occurs between the octave and the sestet.

The poet John Keats wrote many Petrarchan sonnets, my favourite of which is O Solitude! If I Must With Thee Dwell, annotated below:

In this poem, Keats expresses the idea of breaking away from modernity and industrialism in order to return to nature, a concept frequently found in the poetry of the Romantic era.

Keats and his ideas relating to Romanticism inspired me to write this Petrarchan sonnet:

Old hills we have loved

Avoid the words the world has learnt to say

your life’s your own and things can’t always be

perfection as the cliches have us see

we’re taught to venture out, we cannot stay

in old hills we have loved, we have to stray

beyond the travelled realm Simplicity

we’re led to find a new and different way.

But often we get lost and need reminding

how green the grass can be, how red the rose

appreciate things lost in our forgetting

still time can heal the wounds we cannot close

fall head over heels and love without regretting

the cliched clouds can still have silver linings.