Monday, May 28, 2012

Sonnet 51 – Barbarians at the Gate

Sonnet 51 – Barbarians at the Gate
The time has come, the Walrus said, to speak,
And look away from Ipads and MacBooks,
To smell our World, which has started to reek.
The Knights and Bishops lost all to the Rooks.
They lied and cheated to get our money,
And are working now to usurp our rights.
We can’t escape this by being funny,
Our freedoms will die if we lose these fights.
Remember, there is more to Life than sex,
And stop being a slave to easy debt.
Don’t doubt that they’ve already stacked the decks,
And think they’ve already covered each bet.
E Pluribus Unum: from many, one.
All people united or we are done.


  1. OK... CriticalJohn here...
    line 3: sub "begun" for "started;
    line 5:"They cheated us, and lied, to get our gold"
    line 6: "and now are working to usurp our rights"
    line12:"and think they've covered each & every bet"
    line 14"We MUST all unite"...

    (sez the boy with the iambic brain-curse...)

    1. Actually, I appreciate the input! I'm still learning how to do this and need help. I will see what I can do Thanks

  2. line 14: gotta drop or move 'all' to make it scan right. how bout 'we must unite or we are all undone'?

  3. since you want help, here's something to consider.

    'Bearing thy heart, which I will keep so chary' is the 11th line of shakespeare's sonnet 22.

    notice that it's mostly iambic pentameter, but the first foot -- 'bearing' -- is a trochee, not an iamb; and the line has 11 syllables, the last of which is unstressed -- a feminine ending. those are two deviations from strict iambic pentameter allowed in christopher marlowe's rules of blank verse.

    another example is shakespeare's best known line:
    'To be, or not to be, that is the question.' again, 'that is' is a trochee, and there's another weak ending. as i recall, you can reverse the stresses at the beginning of a line, a sentence, or a clause. according to one website on the subject, the rules for breaking the rules are even stricter than the first set of rules.

    here's 2 URLs:

    have fun on your next 50!

  4. The only rule is equal feet, to preserve rhythm. Pardon the shameless plug, but there's this book that explains Edgar Allan Poe's approach to it..!

    I was able to scan the above verse except for two lines.. line 2 and line 12. Some double feet, some inversions, a couple of pauses, but it scans quite well.

    This comments thing doesn't seem to accept fixed-width tags.. I'll see if I can send the scan I just did by message instead.

  5. @anonymous: i assume you're the author of the book, for there's nothing shameless about plugging someone else's book. but whoever you are, how about a little taste? like what do you mean by 'equal feet'? give me a reason to check out the book. and make it good, because you're wrong about line 2, and herbert's right about line 3, among others.