By Josie Whitehead
Petrarchan Sonnet: The primary difference between a Shakespearean sonnet and a Petrarchan sonnet is the way the poem’s fourteen lines are grouped. The Petrarchan sonnet divides its lines between an octave (eight lines) and a sestet (six lines). Back in the 1300s, Francesco Petrarca literally wrote the book on love. His collection of Italian verses, "Rime in vita e morte di Madonna Laura," translated into English as "Petrarch's Sonnets," were inspired by Petrarch's unrequited passion for Laura (probably Laure de Noves), a young woman he first saw in church. From the very beginning of sonnet poetry, the poems were dedicated to one person.
This Petrarchan Sonnet, written by me, is written for the woman I loved: my mother.
By Josie Whitehead
Strong arms that lift, sweet lips that gently smile.
Caressing fingers stroke my baby face.
Whilst I find comfort in your warm embrace,
Stay with me, mother dear, for just a while.
The cheating years have passed with stealth and guile.
Old age is something no one can embrace.
Allow me, Mother dear, to take your place.
It’s now my turn to give you things worthwhile.
Accept the love that you first gave to me.
Accept from me my patience and my time;
Affection, kindness, love are freely given.
Forbearance, love - these blessed gifts are free;
They topped your list, now gladly they top mine.
Past anger gone; all hasty words forgiven.
Copyright on all my poems
I was delighted when teachers and children in schools across my region of West Yorkshire chose this poem for publication in 2010, along with almost 400 others. Sadly it's out of publication now - except here for you. My mother, too, would have been pleased with this poem and I only started to write years after she'd died so she has never seen it. She liked poetry and often sent me a poem (including one she wrote herself). Perhaps I didn't tell her enough how much I loved and appreciated her. Perhaps many of us should tell our parents how much we love and appreciate all that they do/have done for us, more often. Life is short.