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Face Lift For a Sonnet

She was perfect –

Rounded dimensions of classical diameter
three quartets of iambic pentameter
and underneath, two brief pithy lines
that summed up her mood, dreams, designs


The only trouble was -
she wasn’t modern, had no convoluted passion
and frankly, plump little sonnets
were no longer in fashion


So rather than be left on some dusty old shelf
she decided to get professional help
she consulted a friend – an assistant editor of a
poetry quarterly, who sized her up over tinted spectacles
sympathetically but perhaps a trifle haughtily
listen darling she said, don’t be such a prude
I mean you don’t actually have to say something rude
or recite in the nude or anything like that, but perhaps
a stanza or two of free verse couldn’t possibly make
things worse and I think that
a few
line breaks      might just do

the job
a little better than

that iambic     


and by the way, you could take off that old fashioned hat
and excuse me for being gauche – loose a few pounds of that extra fat
be slim be new – write a haiku or two, join an environmental movement
some green peace in your lines would make quite an improvement


She tried, she really did, she enrolled in creative writing one
let her literary hair down, had some fun, went to town and at
her mentor’s coercion even contacted a poetic plastic surgeon


Feeling reborn she awaited the dawn of renewed recognition, entered
an internet competition or two but alas to no avail, week after week no mail
arrived except some effusive long winded letter which didn’t make her feel
much better when she saw who it was from – a certain


One night she had a dream, she was standing on the banks
of an underground stream, water flowing back to some deep cave
and feeling brave she followed it to where down it hissed like a
showery somnambulist and suddenly she knew without a shadow
of a doubt what her future was all about.  Go back the water gurgled
go back scrape off all that makeup, wake up to the fact that modernism
is just an act; your karma’s purpose is sonnet designing – your soul’s
expression fourteen lining


So abandoning all pretensions of being iconoclastic or fashionably
plastic, mocking or shocking, she went back to her brownstone apartment
spread out a clean sheet of parchment. Smiling once again she picked up her quill
and started a new sonnet a la Uncle Will.

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© Johnmichael Simon



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