I’ve increasingly gravitated towards storytelling via sonnets. In part, I appreciate the challenge of condensing a narrative into 14 lines; in part they just tend to be more interesting than sonnets about ideas. Sometimes they require multiple revisions. Others work well on the first try. I put today’s sonnet in the latter camp, though whether I’m right is an exercise I leave to the reader.
Side note: this one includes breaks after each stanza, a general suggestion I received at Festival of Faith & Writing last year. I personally don’t know that it makes a difference, but here it is.
Originally written April 13, 2018
Sweet Esther, barefoot, in a cotton dress,
Was roasting chicken for the mayor’s son,
And fresh green beans, still warm from the bright sun,
And apple pie—food certain to impress.
And if she failed at that, where would she be?
Cast out with all the “Injun” brotherhood—
The white men always thirsted for their blood—
And she, an orphan, and half-Cherokee—
Could she rely on promised love alone
When his best friend was brandishing his might?
No—she would fight the one way she could fight:
With beauty, food, and promises of home—
A fresh-cooked meal to warm her fiancee,
And pleas that love, not hate, would win the day.