Voluptuouse Cool Breath’d Earth

Earth’s cool breath lifts from the frosted field.
A magical moment that happens once in a lifetime.
This moment right now is happening, do not miss it!
Only today will the steam leave the grass this way.
Dark clouds push in with the smell of salmon.
The musk of the soil balances the plate.
This moment right now is mind bending, do not miss it!
You have only one chance to see life this way.
Why is my life more important than this blade?
I may be the straw blowing in the wind.
I may be the steel tip of a bayonet finding flesh
and laying to rest another fine son.
Earth’s cool breath rises from the voluptuous field.
A magical moment that happens once in a lifetime.

Dean Walker

Title taken from from a line in Walt Whitman’s poem, Song of Myself. “Smile O Voluptuouse cool breath’d earth.”  Yet, I think of Allen Ginsberg when I read it. Of course, neither men became particularly known for their sonnets. But then again, when I think about it, I see the influence of Alan Watts’ writings in this poem. This poem is my attempt to mesh all the above Master’s words, which were floating in my head at the time, with my visions and observations out my door when I wrote this poem.

The English Department at  University of Illinois defines the modern sonnet as:”Modern Sonnets do not follow a specific pattern or rhyme scheme. They have the look and feel of free form poetry, but Sonnets do have certain characteristics that classify them in that category. A Sonnet is a way to express a narrative in a lyrical fashion. It is important that Sonnets demonstrate a story-like progression. But while they tell their story, Sonnets are lyrical and musical, brief and memorable.” And, Poets.org defines the modern sonnet as:”The sonnet has continued to engage the modern poet, many of whom also took up the sonnet sequence, notably Rainer Maria Rilke, Robert Lowell, and John Berryman. Stretched and teased formally and thematically, today’s sonnet can often only be identified by the ghost imprint that haunts it, recognizable by the presence of 14 lines or even by name only. Recent practitioners of this so-called “American” sonnet include Gerald Stern, Wanda Coleman, Ted Berrigan, and Karen Volkman. Hundreds of modern sonnets, as well as those representing the long history of the form, are collected in the recent anthology The Penguin Book of the Sonnet: 500 Years of a Classic Tradition in English, edited by Philis Levin.”

Photo: Getty Image


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