Tuesday, April 26, 2011

To Be or Not to Be (a Poet)

I love the plays and the poetry of William Shakespeare! I read Macbeth as a junior in high school and I first watched Zefferelli's movie Romeo and Juliet when I was 14 years old. (It would not be until I student taught that I would finally read the actual play!) I enjoy his other plays also, such as Hamlet and The Taming of the Shrew. I thoroughly enjoy teaching Shakespeare's works but once in awhile I challenge my students to try their hand at writing in his style. My Creative Writing students were recently challenged to write a Shakespearean sonnet. It had been quite a while since I had penned my own sonnet, so tonight while taping one reality show, The Biggest Loser and watching another, Dancing with the Stars, I decided it was time to put my sonnet writing skills to the test !

In case it's been awhile since you studied Shakespeare, let me remind you that a Shakespeare sonnet is a 14 line poem that has three stanzas and one couplet. The lines each have 10 syllables with every other syllable being stressed when pronounced. (This is called iambic pentameter). The lines have a prescribed rhyme scheme too: ABABCDCDEFEFGG which means the first and third lines must rhyme, the second and fourth lines must rhyme, the fifth and seventh, the sixth and eighth, the ninth and eleventh, the tenth and twelfth, and finally, the thirteenth and fourteenth! There are additional challenges to incorporate metaphors and to present a problem and later a proposed solution, but it is getting late after all and I don't think even Shakespeare perfected his writings in a single night!!

So with a basic apology to good ol' Will for my chosen topic but without further ado...although I must admit I am wondering which reality show he would be best on if he were still around today...Billy Shakespeare, I dedicate this one to you !!

I should not stay up late like this each night.
The dawn comes quickly and I have to rest.
But it is tough for me to dim the light.
Reality shows put me to the test.

I need to know which dancing pair must leave.
Which survivor must leave the island now?
Which racer 'round the world will surely grieve?
I need to know the what, where, when, who, how.

There is some shame in what I do each night.
I should pick up a book instead I know.
My mind is weary but it knows what's right.
Yet to the old remote is where I go.

To see it all I wish I had nine lives.
I only hope the DVR survives.

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