Staying within our theme (Christmas), recall a moment from your youth or a childhood memory and write it in the form of a sonnet!

The SONNET is a poem, properly expressive of a single, complete thought, idea, or sentiment. It consists of 14 lines, usually in iambic pentameter, with rhymes arranged according to one of certain definite schemes. In the strict or Italian form it is divided into a major group of 8 lines (the octave) followed by a minor group of 6 lines (the sestet). An a-b-b-a, a-b-b-a pattern became the standard for Italian sonnets. For the sestet there were two different possibilities: c-d-e-c-d-e and c-d-c-c-d-c. In time, other variants on this rhyming scheme were introduced, such as c-d-c-d-c-d.

The English form breaks the poem into 3 quatrains followed by a couplet. Each line contains ten syllables and is written in iambic pentameter, in which a pattern of an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable is repeated five times (da DUM da DUM da DUM da DUM da DUM). The rhyme scheme in a Shakespearean (English) sonnet is a-b-a-b, c-d-c-d, e-f-e-f, g-g; the last two lines are a rhyming couplet. Alternate Rhyme Scheme: a-a-b-b, c-c-d-d, e-e-f-f, g-g



If there is just one lesson in life, it’s this,
you need a way you can stay young at heart,
because you’re never too old for Christmas.
So I’ll say, well before the season starts
Find your inner child and don’t be naughty,
try being as good as silver and gold.
Start to be real nice and don’t be haughty,
have a warm heart and not one that is cold.
Remember the lessons you’ve learned in life,
especially the number one lesson!
Although the world can be filled with such strife,
I stay young at heart. That’s my confession.
I take a deep breath. I take a long pause
and just try to be a young Santa Claus.

(C) Walter J Wojtanik – 2020



    The sanctuary never seemed this small;
    the minister, it seemed, would not grow old;
    but still, around the curving pews and hall,
    the candlelight casts everything in gold.

    Although the mists of memory conspire
    to bring them back, as if they were a dream,
    the generations gathered here require
    my presence as the snow falls on the stream,

    for love is ever hovering so near
    the ghosts that live within this golden hue;
    it permeates the church’s atmosphere
    and smiles away all reasons that I rue

    as here, amidst the drifts of falling snow,
    the church casts light on everyone below.

  2. Only a Dream

    She dreamed of leading a big marching band,
    With a shiny baton twirling in her small hands
    She didn’t want drums or a horn she could toot,
    instead she asked Santa for majorette boots

    The white leather ones with bright tassels of red.
    They’re the pair she envisioned at night, in her bed.
    So she went to bed early, this good little girl,
    Pulled her blanket way up so it covered her curls.

    She kept her eyes closed when wind started to blow,
    the rooftops and bushes soon were covered with snow.
    The best winter night for dear Santa to bring
    the boots that she wanted more than anything

    But her letter to Santa must have lacked clear instruction.
    The boots under the tree were a felt reproduction.

  3. Remembering Christmas Past

    Christmas memories of childhood
    delight me from the past, tis sweet,
    the sights and sounds and smells all meet
    in snow and sleigh bells and firewood
    in caroling and steamy cocoa
    and windows wreathed in pretend snow
    reluctantly to bed we’d go
    as sandman blew his sirocco.

    Then, Christmas morning came so fast
    we’d rush downstairs before the rest
    and oooh and ahhh at all the gifts
    and soon, too soon, it all went past
    we vowed this Christmas was the best
    for we got each thing on our list.

  4. Sidenote

    While sorting out her tattered recipes
    she paused to text each child and ask which one
    held snow globe scenes of happy memories
    and which they’d choose if they could pick for fun

    which cookie they recall from chasing games
    in search of trailing ribbons, bits of tape
    led back to steamy kitchens where they came
    to sample trees and reindeer, mouths agape

    soon pressing thumbs in peanut butter dough
    to claim each one’s cookies, sign them with care
    she too will wrap and beribbon although
    plates sit front porches in pandemic’s scare

    She smiles as if nothing’s changed all these years
    with cookies she’ll hug them; hers happy tears.

  5. Seasonal Stirrings

    We looked forward to each Christmas season
    to visit our cousins, and see their tree.
    There had to be a pretty good reason
    for Dad to drive, Long Island from Canarsie.

    How frequently it snowed on Christmas Day.
    As bumper to bumper, we crawled along,
    my sister and I whining all the way.
    We finally arrived, and rushed headlong

    into a house where aromas of pine
    and roast mingled in the festive air.
    Stephen played Santa, watching faces shine.
    How I wish to go back to those days without care.

    It pains me that most of those present have passed,
    but I have these memories I know will last.

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