Friday, January 05, 2018

Welcoming the New Year with My Poetry Sisters and Sonnets

I'm so thrilled to be embarking on another year of writing with my poetry sisters. This month the challenge was to write a sonnet. I chose the curtal sonnet form for a bit of a challenge. The shorter length actually made this a bit harder than a traditional sonnet. If you know the work of Gerard Manley Hopkins, you'll recognize this form. You can read a bit about the curtal sonnet at The Poet's Garret.

I'll admit that I have a hard time with these challenges when there is no theme. I was the kid who had a terrible time in English when the teacher said "free write." I do much better with direction, so I hard a really hard time picking a topic. Because I've been spending so much time doing yoga, I thought I'd focus on breath. As often happens, this poem didn't go where I expected it. And though I like the form, this feels unfinished. I could have used the additional 3 lines. Oh well ...

Deep Breath
From that first moment on the earth we learn
to breathe. The lungs expand give power to
our cries, not feeble chirps but gut deep wails
proclaiming we are here. Each breath in turn
like heart beats marks the days. In and out through
years we deep inhale, swelling chests like sails
that catch the breeze. Before we undertake
a daunting task, or dive beneath the blue
of water’s wake, we’re strengthened by the tales
of those who came before. Breathe deep, awake,
blaze trails.

Poem ©Tricia Stohr-Hunt, 2018. All rights reserved.

You can read the poems written by my poetry sisters at the links below. 
I do hope you'll take some time to check out all the wonderful poetic things being shared and collected today by Catherine Flynn at Reading to the Core. Happy poetry Friday friends.


  1. I feel your pain about those lost two lines, Tricia - but this feels finished. Instead of the brag of the heart I am. I am, we've got the lungs inflating to loft our cry of HERE I am. I like!

    Incidentally, I, too, struggled to find an appropriate topic - none of the nature stuff works as well for me as it does for Hopkins (and Laura), but I continue to remind myself that this is about pushing past comfort zones, yes? Or, in this case, swelling my chest like a sail and diving deep...

    1. I think it's ironic that your post and my poem share a title. And thank you for your kind words. The poem feels like its hanging. I wondered if it needed a second curtal sonnet to feel complete.

      I suppose this is how I feel about all these challenges. They're never perfect and always feel a bit undone.

  2. Tricia--this is glorious! I think it's one of your best, actually! And it does not feel unfinished to me at all. I love your enjambment and natural rhythm, and I especially love the chests like sails catching the wind. Wonderful!

  3. I think this is fabulous! Whenever I read that someone's tackling a sonnet or more demanding poetic form, I'm ready to applaud as it seems so far beyond my reach. You make it look effortless! I love those "gut deep wails/ proclaiming we are here" and those "chests like sails/ that catch the breeze."

  4. I agree that it not only feels finished but ends triumphantly! You and Gerard have got it going on, and while I'm trying to pick out a particular line, I can't--it all flows together like a fresh breath in and exhale of loveliness.

    Go forth and have confidence!

  5. I like how the poem turned from the actual act of breathing to the metaphorical act of preparing to launch oneself into daunting tasks and trails that need blazing.

  6. I love the ending -- love love love it -- this whole poem begs to read aloud, builds in force and speed and volume and just soars at the end! Truly! Also, love this line so much:
    or dive beneath the blue
    of water’s wake

  7. I love the "gut deep wails" too - and the whole thing.

  8. This is stunning, Tricia. I agree with Heidi that it's hard to pick a favorite line, but I do love the ending. Here's to blazing all sorts of new trails in 2018!

  9. Breathe--your poem does indeed breathe. It's just amazing.