2021 Muspa Winner

SHAKESPEARIAN SONNET 101

by Paul Adrian Fried (USA)

Iambic feet are weak at first, then strong —

a gentle peck, and then a deeper kiss.

Pentameter’s a line that’s five feet long,

so iambs in pentameter, like this,

can help to make a sonnet’s rhythm soar.

Now quatrains — those are four-line sets, you see,

and Shakespeare often rhymed lines two and four

in each quatrain — and also one and three.

In quatrain one, the poem begins its way.

In two, it still unwinds and roams about.

In three, a twist or turn comes into play,

and then the final couplet. Have no doubt:

The sonnet, like a ballroom floor, can be

a form where words go leaping, dancing free.

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