Sonnet for an Arabian Autumn

After William Shakespeare’s Sonnet 73

This time of year you will in me perceive
When all things green take on their second growth,
The sun at last agrees to a reprieve,
And birds return to keep their migrant’s oath.
You’ll see a certain lightness in my step
to match the playful flight of birds set free
from blazing heat that made them feel inept
and stone-hard light that caused sheer agony.
You’ll sense in me a cooling of desire
for all things counted worldly and material,
while heart is wooed by what will not expire,
though it appears at times to be ethereal.
__This you’ll notice of one who’s endured aridity:
__come autumn she’s turned into pure fluidity.


White Wagtail

(a villanelle)

Its tail incessantly flails
as it paces up and down the Corniche
while a strong shamal prevails.

Not at all deterred, it rails
against the wind on the beach.
Its tail incessantly flails.

With such finesse, it scales
the seawall without the slightest screech
while a strong shamal prevails.

Such an inspiration as it sails
along – it doesn’t beseech or preach.
Its tail incessantly flails.

Under such conditions, it still nails
the insect – it could teach how to overreach
while a strong shamal prevails.

In winter, its pied plumage pales
as it migrates – feathers blanched as if bleached.
Its tail incessantly flails
while a strong shamal prevails.


Diana Woodcock teaches composition, creative writing, and environmental literature at Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar.  She is the author of six chapbooks and two poetry collections: Under the Spell of a Persian Nightingale, and Swaying on the Elephant’s Shoulders, winner the 2010 Vernice Quebodeaux International Women’s Poetry Prize.  Her poems have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net Award, as well as performed live onstage in Lincoln Park, San Francisco at Artists Embassy International’s 21st Dancing Poetry Festival.  Several of her Alaska poems toured Alaska as part of the ‘Voices of the Wilderness’ Traveling Art Exhibit, Alaska 2014-2015.  

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One Response

  1. Lew Icarus Bede

    The octave in your sonnet is very nice, and the diction in both poems interesting.


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