Furrows the Plough ‘cross the field of night.
Bellows Canis at the owls out of sight.
Callow Orion unbelted his might,
Shallow-breathed Virgo sowed without fight.
Sorrows the brow, Cassiopeia the queen.
Mellow the music of Lyra, unseen.
Hero Perseus his sword broad and keen.
Hallow’d Aquila surveying the scene.
Meadows by daytime all scattered with red.
Billow the poppies no sign of the dead.
Fallow the ground it was all in my head.
Fallow the woman beside me in bed.
Eastern ashes astir aglow
As new moon lips mouth morning’s breeze
The arc then melts like springtime snow
Unshackling Earth from night-time's freeze.
Nocturnal creatures can’t be caught
By hieroglyphs to leaf-lined lairs
Their secrets safe in shadows short
Billowing steam in sunbeam snares.
By eve the hearth coals shrink and cool
What was blunt is keen to sharpen
Penumbra from the blacksmiths tool
Hammer gripped and sinews stiffen.
The western foundry’s gutt’ring flame
Is sparking stars for night again.
At night the stars leave tracks in the sky and animals leave tracks on the ground. By day they disappear. Only to reappear as the sun sets and the moon rises. This poem was written as an exercise in sonnet form (ABABCDCDEFEFGG). According to convention each line ought to have ten syllables (the five “boom BOOM” heartbeats of iambic pentameter). This has only eight per line (the 2 x 4 of iambic tetrameter). I’ll let you, the reader, decide whether this disqualifies the piece as a sonnet.
Everybody heard him, the dead migrant
But still they say, moaning:
Our compassion’s much further out than you thought
And not saving but drowning.
With apologies to Stevie Smith.