Sunday, September 4, 2016

Rodak's Writings: A Sonnenizio

Earlier today, I read the last poem in Kim Addonizio's excellent collection, "What Is This Thing Called Love."  In addition to providing me with hours of enjoyment, it also taught me about something of which I had been unaware: the poetic form called "sonnenizio." Addonizio defines the form this way in a footnote below the one in her collection, which is based on a line from Drayton:

"The sonnenizio is fourteen lines long. It opens with a line from someone else's sonnet, repeats a word from that line in each succeeding line of the poem, and closes with a rhymed couplet."

The idea of this appealed to me, so I decided to try my hand at it. I based mine on a line from "Sonnet 13" by John Berryman:

Sonnenizio on a line from Berryman

Beasts in their hills their tigerish love are snarling,
While in this dead valley I’m missing your love my lost darling.
Something stronger than love it was once brought you near me;
And once you were here it was love of your lips took me down
To the bed in my room where you taught me the love of your flesh.
Oh, how I would love one more time to drink from your mouth
And to love you again, fingers and tongue, north to south,
As you roll like a wave and sing my love deep in your throat.

I love to remember how I glowed as your bared your soft skin;
How you lay your limbs down on that bed for our love to begin.
Now love languishes lonely, long highways apart from your touch,
As I search for love’s power in words that fall harmlessly short
Of that powerful love I once felt in the clutch of your thighs,
As I lapped at love’s portal and drank your sweet form with my eyes.

                                           ***   ***   ***

According to Addonizio, another characteristic of the form was that it originally most often dealt with "the impossibility of everlasting love." So in that sense at least, I think I nailed it.