Winter’s Nocturn      

When angles of the sun are shining low,
Intuition tells us we must sleep.
Nocturnal tracks appear now in the snow
To mark the chilly vigil some must keep.
Enlightened constellations rule the skies,
Reminding us that distant worlds must be,
So vast the universe, so short our eyes.
Omniscience sets imagination free.
Light festivals will keep us from the dark,
So long the nights, so chilly and so cold.
The landscape seems now barren and now stark
In spite of seeds of summer that it holds.
Cold winter’s night now turns the other way—
Envisions six months hence the longest day.

 

Springsong Sonnet

Sublime are changes deep within the ground,
Presenting tips of green through bulging earth,
Releasing buds with flowers all around,
Incensed air saturated with rebirth.
Now reaching skyward buds adorn the trees,
Great rushing sap will rise within each arm
In time to burst alive with new green leaves
Suffused with light, such iridescent charm.
Come back all creatures who’ve been six months gone,
Or hibernated long within cocoons,
My garden anxiously awaits your song,
In melodies of green, I’ll revel soon.
Now spring’s first day has dawned its balanced sun,
Go breathe and sing and laugh and stretch and run.

 

Summerfull

So much effulgence greets the wandering eyes,
Unveiling life, which burgeons form the trees.
Meandering with sounds and scents that rise
Midway between the breaths of morning’s breeze.
Each moment seems to stretch the endless day,
Revolving to the ever-present sun,
So does the solstice subtly slip away
On golden stems where harvests now begun.
Like magic floating on the fragrant air,
Sublimity of ease beneath warm skies
Takes all old struggles, all the wintry cares
Into green fields, to let them free and fly.
Come to the feast, it’s time to celebrate
Each moment, from this dawn, to dusk so late.

 

Autumnways

As life moves westward to the seasons’ set,
Unspoken forces ripen fruits and seeds
Toward the harvest, while the sun is yet
Up fully half fulfilling summer’s needs.
My thoughts become more pensive and serene,
Nighttime chills make sweaters feel secure—
So warm the sunny days, so cool between
Halfway to winter’s night it seems so near.
And in the predawn chill Orion’s rise
Returning to a differing view of space
Verifies the move toward winter skies
Evolving slowly into summer’s place.
So subtly moving seasons bring the change
To where the natural circles rearrange.

 

Mark A. Doherty is a poet and essayist who has spent 30 years teaching high school English students, many of whom are IB/AP students.  He recently earned an MA in Writing, Creative Nonfiction from Southern New Hampshire University. 

 

 

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17 Responses

  1. Fr. Richard Libby

    Bravo! What an exceptional effort! These sonnets contain wonderful description, and the acrostics are a nice bonus! Congratulations, Mr. Doherty!

    Reply
      • Mark Doherty

        Thank you Joe, Sometimes the best way to teach students how to write is to demonstrate it to them. These sonnets are part of that result!
        MD

    • Mark Doherty

      Thank you Richard. Sometimes the best way to teach students how to write is to demonstrate it to them. These sonnets are part of that result!
      MD

      Reply
  2. James A. Tweedie

    Sublimity of ease beneath warm skies
    Takes all old struggles, all the wintry cares
    Into green fields, to let them free and fly.

    “Sublimity of ease.” What an inspired phrase! What a beautiful set of sonnets.

    Thank you.

    Reply
    • Mark Doherty

      Hi James,
      Thanks. I always thought that the word sublime should replace the word awesome. Glad you enjoyed the sonnets!
      Mark

      Reply
  3. Amy Foreman

    Really enjoyed each of these, Mr. Doherty, and especially loved the extra challenge you gave yourself to fit this form into a meaningful acrostic. Very nice!

    Reply
    • Mark Doherty

      Amy, Thank you! Sometimes the best way to teach students how to write is to demonstrate it to them. These sonnets are part of that result!
      MD

      Reply
    • Mark Doherty

      David, Thank you! Sometimes the best way to teach students how to write is to demonstrate it to them. These sonnets are part of that result!
      MD

      Reply
    • Mark Doherty

      Hi Ben,
      Pretty cool interpretations here. I enjoyed this! I love acapella. I’m actually doing a Kate Wolf poem “The Lilac and the Apple” for my students as a starter activity tomorrow in class.
      Thanks for the music, and nice interpretation of syllables and meter.

      Reply
  4. Leo Yankevich

    You get a gold star for metre sans enjambments and substitutions. You are a veritable mantle clock, and perhaps the next Leonard Cohen. I’ve heard you sing!

    Reply
    • Mark Doherty

      Thank you Leo for such positive words. I still have a ways to go to be like Leonard; he was a legend. I will be posting a bunch of recorded songs on YouTube when my new poetry chapbook comes out through unsolicited press this June.

      I’m curious, did you hear my two songs already on YouTube, or did you hear me years ago when I was playing and singing for a living? (now it seems like a lifetime ago, as my world is consumed by teaching high school English).

      Mark

      Reply
  5. Jeris

    Mark, these are great. Keep up the good work. You are a true man of the Earth… it makes me jealous.

    Reply
    • Mark Doherty

      Thanks Jeris, We all bring our gifts to the table, don’t we!
      Mark

      Reply
  6. Damian Robin

    Hi Mark, thank yu for the wonderful poems. I hope you don’t mind me making the link to
    http://classicalpoets.org/a-poetry-puzzle-challenge/
    where I have put this comment:

    Acrostics Based on Chinese Do Exist
    (well, sort of).

    “In Chinese language, there are no letters. Every single word/character stands alone and means something. So, putting every first word of each line of a poem together, they mean something else.

    Well, now let’s show everyone an example of Cang Tou Shi. “
    See https://www.whitecloudpoetrysociety.org/blogs/2018/4/8/what-is-cang-tou-shi-

    Although acrostics of roman alphabets do not need to tag the first letter of a line, Chinese Cang Tou Shi do. As the translator Jennifer Zeng says in the blog linked above: “Cang” is the Chinese word for “to hide”, or “hidden”. “Tou” means at the beginning. “Shi” is the Chinese word for poetry and poem.

    Interesting possibilities.

    Reply

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