Writing Comes from Reading

Sea on Knees

Soon I'll be sharing my writing-teacher secrets, as part of Rumors of Water: Thoughts on Creativity & Writing.

Oddly, many of my secrets look like living. And reading. A lot.

My sweet Sara reads about a six hundred (unassigned) books during a school year and a great deal of poetry. All that reading, I'm convinced, has shaped her writing. Here, for instance, is one of her contributions to the sonneteering we've been doing over at Tweetspeak. It makes me think... I need to read... a lot more sonnets if I ever want to catch up with her abilities.

(Though not a perfect sonnet by any means, she wrote this one in 10 minutes, while I was also bothering her about coming to answer a phone call. Yeah, I'm proud of her. Forgive me? :)

The Narrator

I'll tell you now a tale both sad and true,
the story of the cuckoo in the tree
across the endless, vast, and wave-filled sea.
And of the flute, the crying notes it blew
to break and make a spell with one bright tune,
and what it did to everyone, and me,
a girl who only wishéd to be free
of the wicked witches, and now you

say that I know nothing of all that time.
Well, I'll tell the tale both loud and clear.
I'll even tell it—listen now—in rhyme.
And then I'll take from you, all you hold dear
and we will know the truth, and know the lie.
I'll make you beg on bended knees with tears.

— Sara Barkat, age 14

This poem is offered for The High Calling and Tweetspeak's Random Acts of Poetry/PhotoPlay celebration.

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Blogger Megan Willome said...

That's better than a lot of professional sonnets I've read.

8:41 AM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

Hey. ;-)

(No really, I agree. She has a better rhythm than I could even conjure, and a nice Elizabeth-Bishop thing going on in that last stanza (the line where she interrupts).

So, you forgave me for being proud? :)

10:22 AM  
Blogger Maureen said...

No need to ask forgiveness for being proud. Sara has a wonderful "ear". Her poem has more to it than might be apparent on a first or even second reading (I've read this at least three times so far) and marvel at Sara's intuitive grasp - not just of the form but of the meaning she can pull from it. Those last two lines are especially striking. Brava!

11:33 AM  
Anonymous Sandra Heska King said...

Oh wow!
I bow to the Sonnet Queen.

11:35 AM  
Blogger Megan Willome said...

Maureen's right--it's better with multiple readings. In fact, please tell Sara that she inspired me to finally try a sonnet. It's only my second one ever.

And you should be proud.

1:38 PM  
Blogger Sam Van Eman said...

Fantastic, Sara!

12:26 PM  
Anonymous violet said...

Bravo, Sara! Your poem is smooth, natural-sounding and ignites my imagination. My question - who are those wicked witches from whom the girl wants to be free?

2:34 PM  
Blogger Children of Eve said...

WoW! You should be proud of her. So interesting, my mind is racing with the possibilities of the "story" within this poem.

10:57 AM  
Blogger Connie@raise your eyes said...

Exotic imagery...may I pre-order Sara's poetry book? It will surely happen...

7:28 PM  

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