Mr. Courtney ( a sonnet)




Mr. Courtney

Sitting in Mr. Courtney’s English class
moving my feet to that iambic beat
while  greasy Joan doth keel the pot
and snot runneth down the back of my nose.

He tells us he is not a happy man
which makes us feel embarrassed, awkward, sad
(behold the dawn in russet mantle clad)
we pretend interest in (yes) Charles Lamb.

He struck me on the face once, hit me hard.
Have at you varlet! A palpable hit!
A snide remark I made, yes that was it,
about poor Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.

Still, would this poem be, if not for him,
Keats, beaded bubbles winking at the brim?


Taking part in Bjorn’s verse form challenge over at dVerse to write a sonnet. I’ve chosen  an ABBA, CDDC, EFFE, GG rhyme scheme. I’ve used half rhymes here and there to add interest and tried to keep to a ten syllable line even though I haven’t always stuck to that iambic beat. I’ve also woven in quotes from Shakespeare and Keats, these are lines that stuck in my head from those high school classes.


29 thoughts on “Mr. Courtney ( a sonnet)

  1. Sabio Lantz

    This poem appeared like it could be very fun but full of inside jokes and unfortunately, much of this was totally beyond me.
    I started out hopeful that I would actually follow and the poet was speaking to me. But soon, I wonder what keeling pot is, who are Charles Lamb (actually, looked, a little but I’m uneducated, so it was depressing – smile), what is a varlet, who are Rosencrantz and Guildenstern?

    So it was an apparently fun poem but written for literary folks, not us common folk.


    1. sdtp33 Post author

      Hi Sabio, thanks for your comments and thanks for taking the time to read my attempt at a sonnet. I can see why this poem might be confusing…some background: I attended high school in Ireland where the English Lit classes focused heavily on Shakespeare’s sonnets and plays, we had to learn the sonnets and passages from the plays off by heart. Bits of these poems and passages are stuck in my brain, so I decided to drop them into the sonnet whenever I needed a rhyme or a line. Fun for me, but maybe not the reader. I am never quite sure who the “common folk “are, but Shakespeare also wrote for them. The “greasy Joan” reference is from “Winter Poem” which is a poem for and about common folk. Check it out and thanks again for dropping by…JIM

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Steve Simpson

    Very enjoyable, Jim, bittersweet memories for me. Our English teacher kept us all back for laughing at some line of poetry involving bees winding their little horns or similar. I mean, we were young boys, and he expected us to appreciate what was beyond us. Most of us, at least.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Grace

    I smiled at your memories and recalled my English Teacher trying so hard to educate us with classics. I can never understand that beat though. Enjoyed your sonnet.


  4. Pingback: Savannah (a sonnet) | Stopdraggingthepanda

  5. Lona Gynt

    It was the poetry that stuck, not because of the palpable hit. One of my favorite fun with that line is in the Addams Family movies, Weds appears in the school play to slice off Pugsley’s arms and fake blood FLIES all over, while she drolly says, “a hit, a palpable hit.” I have often wondered at poor R and G, they were not blameless but also not fully culpable, how cleverly the troubled prince just offed them, had little choice perhaps, but he seemed to enjoy it, I think he was a psychopath perhaps. I love the sonnet, I broil at the man hitting you, we can say “it was the times.” perhaps so, I wonder where else we are still so blind?


    1. sdtp33 Post author

      Hi Lona….thanks for the Addams Family vignette, very funny! Hamlet was more than a little self absorbed don’t you think! Getting clattered went with the territory somewhat back then, not pleasant, but sometimes the dark sarcasm left more lasting scars.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Mish

    I think it is emotion that strengthens a memory. Probably the shock of seeing the vulnerability of Mr. Courtney, but more so that strike on the face! Times have changed….fortunately for students.



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