Christmas Sonnet Variations

Massimo Soranzio - Christmas Sonnet Variations
NOTE: This is a sonnet I wrote several years ago. I set myself a series of tasks:
1. Write an English sonnet, i.e. three quatrains with an alternate rhyme scheme, and a heroic couplet, but
2. using the meter for Italian sonnets, that is to say hendecasyllables, last syllable unstressed, instead of the iambic pentameter,
3. after an initial, traditional sonnet quatrain, I’d write an Anglo-Saxon quatrain, juxtaposing some features typical of Old English poetry to the sonnet form: each line is subdivided into two half-lines, separated by a caesura; there is alliteration, that is at least one word in the first half-line and one in the second must begin with the same consonant, or strong vowel sound; and I’d try and invent a few kennings (you can see I devised three simple ‘definitions’ of life, togetherness and relations;)
4. the third stanza would be a ‘dramatic’ one, with more voices sharing the line’s 11 syllables, like in a dramatic dialogue—think of Romeo and Juliet, for instance:

ROMEO
[…]
Oh, that I were a glove upon that hand,
That I might touch that cheek!
JULIET
Ay me!
ROMEO
She speaks!

Now, this is typical of Shakespeare’s dialogue: if you count the syllables from ‘That I’ to ‘She speaks!’ you’ll get a full iambic pentameter. And that’s what I did in my third stanza, with my 7+4 pattern, totalling 11 syllables each time, adding rhyme in the longer sections, plus the division of o-/pen, necessary to the syllable count, but also something my favourite songwriters, Ira Gershwin and Cole Porter, would often do in their lyrics.
5. I decided to give the final couplet an English flavour anyway, by forcing a stress on the last syllable, even maintaining the number, thus definitively combining the Italian and the English line.

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