A Year of Sonnets

December: A Sonnet

By Henry Allen | December 3, 2018
Flickr/Eva Holm
Flickr/Eva Holm

When I say “December,” the word evokes different memories and emotions than when I say “April.” Over the course of my career, I’ve written about a range of feelings—relief, despair, the hope and horror of love—in poetry, reporting, and prose. As part of a yearlong series for the Scholar, each month I am contributing a new poem to a sonnet cycle, marking the changing seasons in the rhyme and meter of an Elizabethan sonnet.


Such grandeur has to have an orchestra,
like the Titanic at the end. It needs
the tinsel holidays, the fah-la-la,
the glitter, more each day as light recedes
and woods disrobe—they’re naked as the moon.
The snow keeps hissing like a guilty thought,
but ’tis the season, one must strike the tune,
one must defy this nothing God hath wrought,
the nothing that dismays. Beneath the tree
lie gifts that almost do not disappoint,
but do meet obligations, thankfully,
the thoughts that count, a Yuletide counterpoint.
Then done. An uncle sleeps, kids drift away.
What’s emptier than the rest of Christmas Day?

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