Baby’s First Sonnet

A photograph of a sketch book page showing the editing process for the poem that is read in the audio file accompanying this post. The page has lots of crossings out all over it on the left-hand side of the page, and on the right is a simple line drawing of a tap. Also in the frame of the photo we can see the sketchbook is on a wooden table that has a couple of long scratches in it, and a few flecks of paint, and a pair of scissors with yellow handles are sat on the desk to the right of the sketchbook.

My first stab at an actual, proper, real, official, legit fourteen-lined sonnet. And it just so happens to be bog-themed. I wrote this in response to my friend Rabindranath Bhose’s work, who is currently working on a boggy solo-show which will be opening this June at Collective Gallery, in Edinburgh. Rabi and his boyfriend, Oren (who is also a super interesting artist), came to stay with us in Shetland a month or so ago. We visited lots of bogs together (including the site where the Gunnister Man was found, about a 15 minute drive from our house here), and I owe a lot of my current, reinvigorated, love of bog-lands to their visit.

So, the bog sonnet. This is where I’m up to with the edit so far (though it’s still very much a work in progress, so go easy on me!):

Thy holy bog / Riddled with holes

All categories stray / Graven made whorls

Other-World’s holes / Face holy sky

Sphagnum crusty stars / Moon shaven thigh

Pot holed skies / Knotted with graves

Bodies aether-deep / Carpet bone weaves

Sopping arid graves / Death reversed tomb

Firmament portalled peat / Bog bless’d gooch

Rite bidden tomb / Fecund stone cog

Ensouling our rot / Thy holy bog

Salt lubes cog / Hanged Man brains

Prayer crossed things / Loss borne gain

Feet like brains / Riddled with whorls

Preserved can’t stop / Other-World tolls