There are days when I feel turned around – panicky, disoriented, not sure what I am supposed to do or say next. Then something familiar comes along to soothe me – a voice, a place, even a piece of music – and I am able to settle back into my usual form.
There are a couple of key words and phrases in the paragraph above that are clues to today’s prompt; “turned around” is one. So are the words familiar and form. For today, we are going to take a familiar form and turn it on its head, so to speak. We are going to write, for lack of a better term, backward sonnets.
Here’s how it works: all of the rules of a sonnet stay the same except for one: the rhyming words come at the beginnings of the lines instead of at the ends. For example, a stanza might use the following end rhymes (I apologize for the cheesy example – I am outside being swarmed by mosquitoes right now…):
When I feel the mosquito bite my head,
I wish that summer sun would turn to frost.
As soon as winter lays its snowy bed,
my hatred for all mosquitoes is lost
A backward sonnet would now start like this:
(another cheesy example – sorry!)
Head down the road arched by ancient maples,
frost slick on their snowy boughs. Find my house,
bed in the corner of a single room –
lost in the woods can be a kind of home.
It maintains the structure and syllabic form of a sonnet, but loses the end-rhyme, sing-songy-ness that all but the best sonnets seem to have at some point. It also messes with your head a little bit to have to rhyme first words.