This is the literary weblog of Jeffrey W. Hull, M.D., a pediatrician. It is intended mainly as a place to maintain a collection of poetry created for the enjoyment of a few friends and as an archive for my family. All material is protected by US copyright.

Jeffrey Hull

Wednesday, January 12, 2005


This was an exercise; it is in Italian (or Petrarchan after the Italian poet Petrarch) sonnet form. Sonnets have 14 lines, and typically present two ideas or make an argument and then compare, rebut, or counter argue. The turn of the poem (volta in Italian) classically occurs at line 9. The first 8 lines (the octet) are the statement, the last 6 lines (the sestet) are the answer or contrast. Italian sonnets are the hardest to write in English, because the rhyme scheme for the first 8 lines is abbaabba — or, the author has to come up with a lot of rhymes in a language known for being rhyme poor. Inflected languages such as the romance languages are easier to find rhymes in. Fast - last - past - cast was about all I had available that could logically be worked in. The rhyme scheme of the last 6 lines, the sestet, is variable in Italian sonnets; I chose to stick with cddcee. The sonnet concludes with an epigrammatic couplet, as you observe.

The poem sprang from reflections on the tsunami disaster ... a man in a hurry cut in front of my car, and I thought of tourists hurrying to catch their flights to go on vacation ... from which they did not return.


I'm sure the man who passed me driving fast
Had much upon his mind, and things to do,
And promises to keep like me or you;
Perhaps a family waiting — home at last.
His hurried taillights swerved, and he was past;
Then over hill and into night he flew,
To rest at home and safe for all I knew;
I’ll bet he never thought, how fate is cast.
But what of those Sumatra bound, now gone
Who hurried to their flights and to their doom,
To drown upon a beach, or in a room —
Their haste will never see another dawn.
The Old One weaves our skein before our birth
Why rush to meet our final day on earth?

© 2004 Jeffrey Hull


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