November (Stress Matrix Sonnet)


the cunning hunt is on and they won’t stop until they’ve won
promised land of empty pockets; box-cocked bottle rockets
and tax cuts for the wealthy though our livelihood’s undone
left and right divided fight on large screen plasma sockets

there’s no escape the muddy traipse across the white house lawn
slinging themes of healthcare dreams and water not polluted
our well’s run dry; war’s pumping high, dark drilling’s desert dawn

speeches sold; blue collars kissed, their skeletons refuted
keep raising funds; religion guns, a puppet master’s pawn
constitutions bought and sold; campaigns run convoluted

uprising revolution occupy a battle wall
take back control a generation’s fireworks exploded
ignore the nightly circus as the mighty smitten call
overrun with blackened tea; a consciousness railroaded



Notes on the form:
This is the Sonnet version of Stress Matrix Dectet/Stress Checkerboard Stanza –
developed by Luke Prater
14 lines, 14 syllables per line – aBaB cDc DcD eF eF
where lowercase are iambic heptameter (7 beats/stresses per line), and uppercase trochaic heptameter. This yields a perfect ‘checkerboard’ of stressed and unstressed syllables (14 x 14, equalling 196 syllables).
Depending on where the Volta arrives (the ‘turn’ – resolution, or at least, change in tone, crucial aspect to a sonnet), there are 3 different stanza layouts (the rhyme-scheme stays the same).
If the turn comes after the first eight lines, as it does in Italian Sonnets, the layout is
aBa BcDcD cDe FeF.
If it comes after line ten (unique!), then it’s aBaB cDc DcD eFeF (same as English but ending on a quatrain rather than the two couplets). — the Volta in this poem arrives at line eleven.

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20 Responses to November (Stress Matrix Sonnet)

  1. claudia says:

    very cool…a political stress matrix sonnet.. you’re awesome…and i’m sure the form is know…the stress matrix sonnet causes me stress…just like some politicians… so for me that was the perfect match…well done christi

    • Christi Moon says:

      thanks Claudia– we are completely inundated with campiagns ads ATM. they can’t throw each other under the bus fast enough.

  2. brian miller says:

    excellent…and much of my sentiments toward the election and excretions flinging here and there….they will do what they will do…which is take care of their own interests and backers once they get there…until we do something to change it…

    • Christi Moon says:

      it gets increasingly diffcult to watch this nonsense! glad you liked this one Brian. always appreciate the visit.

  3. You have managed to state the present political mess so eloquently…Bravo!

  4. hedgewitch says:

    Grueling form splendidly and fluidly executed–and I couldn’t agree more with the sentiments expressed. The darkness envelopes all of us in these wrenching ideological nonsense battles that are really all about the same old things–money and power, and those who have it getting more and more of it, and I’m seriously wondering who’s got a light any more.

  5. poemblaze says:

    Clever, well done. I know who I want to vote for, I just want all the ads to stop.

  6. Marousia says:

    Intriguing form – I like the way you use the chessboard – powerful sonnet

  7. Shawna says:

    The absence of punctuation and capitalization is very effective. The first two lines are my favorites. (I’m so sorry I haven’t e-mailed you back yet. Tonight. I promise. Happy almost-May to you.)

    Oh, and I tried clicking on your link several times last week and the page would never open. It’s happened to me tonight as well. But I finally had some success.

    • Christi Moon says:

      great to see you here Shawna. happily counting down to that date in May 🙂

      thanks for the feedback about my link. I will look into it.

  8. Cleverly done and very well written. I don’t know much about American politics, but there appears to be a strong element of cheese in it! “cunning hunt” hehe

  9. I love form – sonnets, rondels, pantoums, you name it – but I have to tip my hat to structuralists like Luke, who devise such exacting forms, and the poets who strive to write to such formalisms. My inventions are never as exacting (indeed, I allow myself much leeway in other classic forms, in the interests of my own sense of musicality)… but I am always impressed. And this one, this political commentary in the guise of a stress matrix sonnet, is something special.

    • Christi Moon says:

      I love form poetry as well Semaphore… and this is one of my favorites…it’s very challenging 🙂

      thanks so much for the feedback, much appreciated.

  10. Luke Prater says:

    cunning hunt.. hehe… want this one up on the thread now? Looks v good and finished?

    • Christi Moon says:

      I know… I was laughing a bit when I penned that line 🙂

      Unless you have any issues with the meter, this is finished and it’s fine to add it to the thread. thx.

  11. Becky Kilsby says:

    Ths form really does add another degree of energy to your political commentary – works well!

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