[sonnet] Into the Dark

Into the dark I walk before the sun
has set her feet upon the coming day.
I am her progeny, her brightest son,
my head held level with each newborn ray.
Each rhythmic step extends a foot to span
an emptiness unseen, each step an act
of faith that solid Earth awaits, that Man
in time will once again confirm as fact
the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God.
On muffled owlish wing a stream of thoughts,
as distant rumbling thunder, answer laud
to life's unending, questing astronauts.
Against the dark auroral lights are seen.
Against the silence ringing steps do glean.

Paul Guernsey, © 2020


A Football Shoe Tossing

How the white football cleats arrived hanging from the overhead cable at Clearwater’s Philip Jones Park in the North Greenwood neighborhood is no great mystery, but why, and by whom? A few possibilities:

  • Bullies;
  • In celebration at the end of a successful season;
  • In commemoration of their use by a player who had outgrown them and is finally getting that new pair;
  • Pranksters (see Bullies);

in my neighborhood
sports shoes dangle from wire
how many tosses?
In darkness or in light of day he flung
and flung again until the cleated shoes,
enjoined by laces over wire hung,
a myriad of reasons why to choose.

And not just any pair of shoes are these
ensaddened white designer football cleats,
that flew beneath a player's nimble knees
how many touchdown runs, or sprint repeats?

A perfect step into the dewy grass,
uniting fingers with the spinning ball,
but whose feet wear white cleats beneath the pass,
the one who runs, or he who slipping falls?

What dreams now hang and sway from copper wire,
What dreams fulfilled, or burned in funeral pyre?

A Blank Renku [1] [2], by Paul Guernsey, © 2019

[1] blank renku – a form of linked verse, written by one or multiple authors in alternating collaboration. Blank renku differs from renku in that stanzas alternate between haiku form, and blank verse. The shortest blank verse stanza would be a couplet. The longest would fill a Post It note, the original (fictional) medium of blank renku, as invented for The Blank Verse Mystery. Variations are expected.
Blank renku can be played as a game, in the original spirit of renku. It merges poetry from East and West. Writers can choose to write in their stronger form or in their weaker one, and in this way it is similar to Terry Pratchett’s game of THUD.

[2] As noted in the definition of Blank Renku, variations are expected. In this case, in “A Football Shoe Tossing,” the author has chosen to extend blank verse into a formal Shakespearean sonnet. Might require a bigger Post It.

The Blank Verse Mystery, Part 008

by Paul Guernsey Player, Copyright © 2018/07/03

Again, my name does not appear upon the list.
My sin against the Darkroom Gods too great?
Oh, well. What other literature course awaits?
It looks like they are all filled up but one,
John Milton, Works, the course they call “Bland Verse”
like Shakespeare with the dirty bits removed.
At least my cousin’s roommate is enrolled,
and I will get to see her once a day.

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Pleasant and Unpleasant Smells, Sonnet Form

The rose, I do declare, smells sickly sweet,
and your PERfume makes me gag.
I often find manure a treat,
but from baby’s breath I sag.

Yes, often I will char my food,
or pour on pepper fire.
Air fresheners make me come unglued,
but on rancid sheets I will retire.

Some car exhaust can warm my heart,
but hot chocolate leaves me cold.
Your drier sheets give me a start.
May I burn them, as you fold?

But pin some laundry ‘neath a breezy sky,
and I will for my Mother cry.

Pleasant and Unpleasant Smells, Sonnet Form
written and read by Paul Guernsey Player

Final stanza revised to be a couplet.
April 10, 2018, Copyright © Paul Guernsey Player, 2018, All Rights Reserved

Pleasant and Unpleasant Smells, 1.0

The rose, I do declare, smells sickly sweet,
and your perfume makes me gag.
I often find manure a treat,
but from baby’s breath I sag.

Yes, often I will char my food,
or pour on pepper fire.
Blue cheese is a lovely aging mold,
and on rancid sheets I will retire.

Some car exhaust can warm my heart,
but hot chocolate leaves me cold.
Your dryer sheets give me a start.
May I burn them, as you fold?

But pin some laundry out to dry
in sunshine fresh with breezy sky,
Just hang some laundry out to dry,
and I will for my Mother cry.


Copyright © by Paul Guernsey Player, 2018
All Rights Reserved


L. Ron Hubbard’s “List 3, Orientation of Senses, section Olfactory”, from his book, SELF ANALYSIS, https://info.flag.org/extensioncourse/course/lesson
Extension Course, Question 72: Give an example of unpleasant and pleasant smells.

The Sonnet: Poetic Form

Note from the author:

This is not a sonnet of any type, but comes closest to the Shakespearean form. My apologies to Petrarch, The Bard, Milton, Spenser, et al. If my form offends, please comment. If not, please comment, anyway.

My answer to Question 72:

HAMLET: “…there is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so.”

Or in this case, associated PAIN in incidents with similar olfactory content. Or, on the other hand, the power of pleasure moments cannot be under estimated. We have the carrot and the stick, apparently, depending on which side of the mind is running things, or which side of he mind the organism allows to run things, for THERE IS ALWAYS A CHOICE. There is no such thing as involuntary action, since a person causes his own feelings, causes his own emotions, and is responsible for his own condition.

That said, the rest of my answer to Question 72 is the above poem.

Poems from the F-150

podcast: https://soundcloud.com/user-864011495/pleasant-and-unpleasant-smells-by-paul-guernsey-playerhttps://soundcloud.com/user-864011495/pleasant-and-unpleasant-smells-by-paul-guernsey-player


My Number One Daughter

Who likes to take the dog for long walks?
Who lifts up the rug to insert flower stalks?
Who likes to put cute dresses on?
Who wakes me up at half past dawn?

Who likes to put her whole hand in my mouth?
Who is it who’s just now learned how to pout?
Who loves to swing, and swing, and swing?
Who likes to sit upon the ceiling?

Who likes to spill beans everywhere?
Who likes to climb up into her chair?
Who likes to sit at the keyboard and type?
Who likes to eat avocados ripe?

Who’d rather spend the whole day outside?
Who likes to push herself down the slide?
Who likes to dig her toes in the ground?
Who likes to read books up-side-down?

Who laughs and laughs when her brother says, “Boo!”?
My number one daughter, that is who!

Copyright © Paul Guernsey Player, 2001/10/23

Listen to me read it on SoundCloud

Somewhere beneath a clear blue sky

Somewhere beneath a clear blue sky
we sit and watch the world go by,
from sandy beach along the shore
or from a bench before a store.

The passing faces, frames and gaits
remind us of our own mean fates.
Familiar footfalls, crags and sighs
pass before our wandering eyes.

At last, we lift our gaze to see
the sky we thought so clear to be
relinquish its weak hold on light
and unveil twinkling points of white.

We float through silent empty seas
and contemplate infinities.

© Paul Guernsey Player