We curse the wretched hour glass that nails life to the floor,
sifting time with ticktock rhyme as grain by grain we ripen.
Fast-beat with wrists and fettered fists on pedagogy’s door,
beg the grown-ups ‘let us in’ till gap begins to widen.
The race to reach maturity – a noisy quick-sand bore,
hollering from child to bride as growth becomes compulsion.
Half-hitch a ride on crimson tide, a monthly underscore,
pre-pubescent budding breasts; first training bra propulsion.
Hot hormone highs that dampen thighs and leave us wanting more,
chronologic ticktimebomb an exponential function.
The tipping point comes all too soon, impatient youth impugns
years gone by, blink of an eye; no chance now of reversal.
As sand runs fast through aging glass and shape-shifts into dunes,
echoes loud amid the shrouds – child that was no rehearsal.
This is the Sonnet version of Stress Matrix Dectet/Stress Checkerboard Stanza – developed by Luke Prater
14 lines, 14 syllables per line – aBaB cDc DcD eF eF
(I’ve taken a bit of a liberty with the rhyme scheme and carried the ‘a’ rhyme through so this one is actually
aBaB aCa CaC dEdE)
where lowercase are iambic heptameter (7 beats/stresses per line), and uppercase trochaic heptameter. This yields a perfect ‘checkerboard’ of stressed and unstressed syllables (14 x 14, equaling 196 syllables).
Depending on where the Volta arrives (the ‘turn’ – resolution, or at least, change in tone, crucial aspect to a sonnet), there are 3 different stanza layouts (the rhyme-scheme stays the same).
If the turn comes after the first eight lines, as it does in Italian Sonnets, the layout is aBa BcDcD cDe FeF. If it comes after line ten, then it’s aBaB cDc DcD eFeF (same as English but ending on a quatrain rather than the two couplets).