10 June 2009

A Sonnet for my Tree

Last week's make was inspired by a new goal I have set for myself: to read all of Shakespeare's plays by the time Jason finishes seminary. I decided to do this for two reasons: 1) because my exposure to Shakespeare is embarrassingly thin and 2) to slow the intellectual atrophy that ensues from a job that is not intellectually challenging. So far, I've read The Tempest and The Two Gentlemen of Verona, and I'm working on Troilus and Cressida. Reading so much iambic pentameter moved me to write a sonnet last week. But what to write about? I decided since I've already developed the metaphor of my tree--and since it's such an apt metaphor for my life at the moment--to write a sonnet about that. It's definitely not the most brilliant piece I've ever written. My writing is rusty. But the point was just to write something, start to finish. So without further disclaimer or ado, here it is:

I've heard it said, "The fruit defines the tree."
What shall we say when branch and leaf and root
Are all the measure that our eyes can see?
How shall we name the tree without the fruit?
We may be tempted to assign the blame
Of lacking crop to inactivity
And say the tree does not deserve a name
If idle is what it decides to be.
But if this is our verdict, we despise
The very work by which the fruit is won:
How desperately the root for water cries,
How faithfully the sapling seeks the sun.
If day by day, the tree is slowly grown
In season, by its fruit it will be known.


  1. I like this. I like this a lot.

    Also, I'm interested to hear how your Shakespearean reading progresses, and which ones you find yourself taking a liking to. =)

  2. Still enjoying the updates. Just so you know

  3. Hmmm...how did you become so intellectual? I find myself stumbling over "One Fish, Two Fish" at this point in my life.... Iambic pentameter?! Geesh! That's a big word...."That's too big for Jess." (Quote from the little guy)

  4. Hannah~ I'm so glad you like my little sonnet. I'll let you know how Shakespeare is going. So far, The Tempest was solid; I was a little disappointed with how tidily The Two Gentlemen of Verona wrapped up; and Troilus and Cressida took until Act 4 to pick up, but now I'm starting to like it, despite the fact that it's a tragedy, and everyone is most likely going to die.

    Ariah~ I'm so glad you're sticking around! Thanks so much for comments and encouragement!

    Amy~ iambic: an iamb is a "foot" in poetry that contains one accented and one unaccented syllable. pentameter: a poetic meter that contains five feet. So iambic pentameter is a puffed up way of saying a poem with lines of 10 syllables alternating accented and unaccented syllables. I know you learned all that at one point, probably in Mrs. Cramer's english class. But high school was worlds ago, and right now, "One Fish, Two Fish" is much more important. Say hi to little J-e-s-s-e for me. Man, I miss that kid!