A Year of Sonnets

February: A Sonnet

By Henry Allen | February 4, 2019
Flickr/Leon Bovenkerk
Flickr/Leon Bovenkerk

When I say “February,” 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.  


The winter won’t face up to its defeat.
What’s left is February—little man
with complex, like Napoleon in retreat,
a teeth-clenched month with forehead in its hands.
A hefty brightness lurks behind the clouds,
but things stay grudging, featheredged and raw.
The snow keeps lingering in rain-rot shrouds
with road kill reeking in the foggy thaw.
Some days the sky’s a one-eyed, mocking blue.
Days do get oddly longer, buds blur trees,
but things stay hopeless in this month of rue.
Above, dismissive wings of chevron geese—
below, in awkward innocence, the birth
of crocuses erupting from indifferent earth.

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