Spring-cleaning Sonnet

How do you shed the lives you’ll never lead?
The shoes that dream of corridors of power,
the teetering piles of books you’ll never read,
the dress meant for a ballroom in a tower?
The hat that ought to shield you from the sun
on the bright terrace of some palazzo,
the trainers for a race you’ll never run,
the stockings for a lover you won’t know –
the lives piled in the corners of the room,
that gather dust, and whisper of regret –
the things you could have had, but didn’t choose,
or didn’t want, or never tried to get –
those lives are beautiful as snow,
but all snow melts. It’s time to let them go.

This is a re-write of a sonnet I put up a week or so ago. The original is here: https://fmmewritespoems.wordpress.com/2019/01/03/sonnet-i-moving-on/. It seems a bit greedy, putting up yet another sonnet, but Bjorn did say we could do revisions, and I thought it might be interesting to compare this one and the original.

I had some feedback on the original poem, (thank you, Lona, much appreciated), and realised that the volta didn’t really have enough impact. I have struggled with the volta in the past – it always feels like a bit of a punchline, and felt a bit tum-ti-tum. However, this whole sonnet exercise has clarified it for me, and I now realise it’s supposed to be a bit like that. So this is my re-write, with extra added voltation.


7 thoughts on “Spring-cleaning Sonnet

  1. Hey Sarah,
    Fantastic content, love the story, the examples, the feeling, the self-deprecation and yet the noble choice mixes.
    I just went through a weekend of sorting through boxes of photographs thrown in boxes and boxes over decades of my lives — many different lives, different paths but not followed to an end. Sort of what you write on. So I felt your poem strongly today.
    This weekend was a time to let them go AGAIN. LOL

    Looking at the Sonnet encasement now:
    Your rhyme was cool, with the E’ slant working: ABAB / CDCD / EFE’F / DD

    I actually did feel the sing-songy sonnet because accent was not iambic. The three “the” openings set up a list poem in a way. I really enjoyed it.

    I must say, I did not feel a volta (no real change in tone or move to real solution) — from the beginning, you hinted that you it was hard to shed, and in the end, you may have said, “It’s time to let them go.” But I was not convince you would. A volta of surprise for me would be that you grabbed on of those shed lives, dusted it off and had an improper exploration. Smile !


  2. oh my goodness, this is so good! the shift from things to lives, it is so lovely and tender, and you were able to keep the snow and the melting, but now it is intertwined with memories and thought of life. Thank you for the kind notice Sarah, this is masterful!


  3. I do think you did a wonderful volta in this version… the advice of letting go… how I wished we could do that… I sifted through a small part of my mother’s house realizing how much a human can gather over the years… and I love the reworks…


  4. That is beautiful. I love the variety of your other lives, and you’ve described them so succinctly and so vividly. I read the previous sonnet, and while that was good, this is miles better. It’s terrific!


  5. I’ve put up five sonnets – I don’t feel greedy, feel as if I’m learning! The feedback one gets is invaluable. I didn’t read the first one but this version is truly excellent. I did discern the volta and thought it a sufficient resolution to what went before. Loved the images – all came across clear.


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