As Judge John Hodgman is fond of pointing out, “Specificity is the soul of narrative.” And in poetry perhaps more than anywhere, description becomes representative, suggesting meaning in ways straightforward statement cannot. (If you don’t believe me, compare Shelley’s “Ozymandias” to his friend Horace Smith’s.)
So for the Valentine’s Day sonnet I’m preparing, based on John Cochrane’s thoughts about his marriage, each quatrain needs to provide details representative of its central idea. If I had more time, I’d interview John for details. But as an older guy who has faced and is facing the same, I’ll draw on my own experience. Here goes.
- as in heading out for their own futures
- as in leaving boxes of toys, books, and clothing in the attic or basement
- leaving handmade Christmas ornaments & other art projects
- moving away for careers
- some divorcing (pointing up the luck of our relationship)
- some dying
This quatrain needs to reflect on both of us aging, a delicate subject.
- my hair leaving
- her “girlish figure” leaving
- maybe our sense of style
- maybe the celebrities of our youth passing
As mentioned in the previous entry, I’ve an idea for the turn in the final couplet, but it’s a surprise I’d rather not spoil for now.
Wish me luck in finalizing a draft by Thursday evening, so there’ll be at least a few hours of distance before editing.
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