A Year of Sonnets

October: A Sonnet

By Henry Allen | October 1, 2018
Flickr/Kris Ursachi
Flickr/Kris Ursachi

When I say “October,” 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’ll contribute a new poem to a sonnet cycle I call Calendar, marking the changing seasons in the rhyme and meter of an Elizabethan sonnet.




A month of riot—everything’s galore,
bands crashing through the busy football air
and autumn in New York forevermore,
the leaves, the sheaves, a wild galvanic scare—
the bees go crazy with new-angled sun.
They sting and make the point of pointless pain,
like getting old. The summer’s come undone
and trees ignite as if in spite, insane.
Mice shiver, sneak inside. In unswum pools
the unheard water clicks. Then Halloween—
agents of death, the laughing pirates, ghouls.
Black sky but then so blue, acetylene.
October with its madness, pagan crime,
holding a fire sale of itself—of Time.

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