Poetry Tow Truck 28: Turning Will Over in His Grave

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.


7 thoughts on “Poetry Tow Truck 28: Turning Will Over in His Grave

  1. Your prompt inspired this first effort of mine:

    A Rose Not Stone

    Stones make room for weeds
    to grow between them.
    Bones below the crush of grass
    do rest, my space their own to hold.
    This place where stone pure white
    marks absent that face in time no
    kiss restores to sight, I keen
    larks’ joy in flight and fail to sing.
    Song forbids me close
    my eyes to you whose gaze I
    long for still. But yours closed,
    I place a rose, not stone.
    May’s red my flower color-codes;
    Days long without you the season bears.

    ~ Maureen

  2. Pingback: Balcony Tomato’s Lament « This Girl Remembers

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