on the lethal effect of a heat wave on the love affair between a poet and his muse


Photo Credit: Roland Chadwick

Photo Credit: Roland Chadwick

oppressive heat has stifled your desire
such effort holds your soul within its sway
no shade nor breeze lends refuge though it may
fan flames that surge unyielding ever higher

you search for words to quench the smoldering fire
you scan the clouds—the pages of this day
your thoughts bleed down your brow and fade away
the muse you sought, sought darkness and expired

you dream, but love refuses your advance
this foe suppresses creativity
be still and wait for cooler days to come
a flash of light that slashes like a lance
to open up the skies to rain to see
a poem taking shape, now watch it grow

Petrarchan Sonnet: abbaabba cdecde

Photo Credit: ladieswhocritique.com

Photo Credit: ladieswhocritique.com

I wrote this a few weeks ago and forgot about it. It was a week of record-breaking weather, temperatures in the 100’s (F), and I found it difficult to write anything, so I turned to the discipline of form poetry to help me get started.

This would have worked well for Saturday’s Poetic’s Prompt offered by Claudia Schoenfeld, but I was deep into a writing project and learning how to self-publish on Kindle. So with a nod to last week, here it is for Open Link Night. The doors open 3:00 PM EDT. Please join us.

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40 thoughts on “on the lethal effect of a heat wave on the love affair between a poet and his muse

  1. dragonkatet says:

    So perfectly true! The heat down here in the South-land makes being outside dreadful, and it doesn’t leave a lot to do except be inside and spoiled in the A/C. My muse has fled lately too – not sure if the heat drove it away or it’s just recharging (maybe someplace cool – ha) but here’s hoping all of our muses return post-haste! 🙂

    Like

  2. wolfsrosebud says:

    self-publishing is a job in itself… best wishing… lovely poem

    Like

  3. sreeja says:

    Such a beautiful poem…!

    Like

  4. the hot weather can definitely be a lethal distraction to our creative abilities…just too hot to spend any energy! great poem!

    Like

  5. aka_andrea says:

    I’ve been on the West Coast for a week in very lovely weather and writing like mad! Going back soon to humidity that feels like a wet sweater, hope the muse has a sense of humor:)

    Like

  6. vbholmes says:

    Well put, Victoria.

    Like

  7. Beth Winter says:

    Wonderful sonnet! Your skill with the craft of poetry shines through along with your love of writing and dismay when your muse hides from elements out of your control.

    Like

  8. Myrna says:

    I like the link between the weather and writer’s block. Unfortunately for me, I can’t blame the weather when no thoughts come to me. The blocks are frequent and with no apparent cause. You, on the other hand, write beautifully when it’s too hot, and having trouble with your muse.

    Like

  9. hedgewitch says:

    Excellent sonnet, Victoria–very musical, and very true. Many forms of exhaustion derail the muse, but she is amazingly resilient, and form can be a great asset in reviving her, as it does here for you.

    Like

  10. tigerbrite says:

    Lovely. Know how this feels as we are near the ninety F today 🙂

    Like

  11. beckykilsby says:

    There’s a shimmering sense of yearning.. whether for cooler weather, a lover’s touch or the gift of creativity. I really enjoyed how you explored this through a sonnet and there is a graceful lilt which is somehow countered by some sharp vocaubulary.. this works very well for the theme I think.

    [Small point of critique.. more a question really.. were you intentionally breaking the rhyme scheme in the final stanza as I was expecting the final word to rhyme with ‘grow’ ?]

    Also a great image to set the shimmer off.

    Like

  12. kelvin s.m. says:

    …the growth of a poem for me depends on its readers…how each reader will carry a piece they read through times… the poets are here to plant the poem & as to its survival? let the readers define it for ’em… smiles… i love this Victoria… a beautifully written sonnet…

    Like

  13. MarinaSofia says:

    The title alone is an entire poem for me.

    Like

  14. Akila says:

    The travel of thoughts is interesting and the form captures it well.

    Like

  15. Mama Zen says:

    So smooth! Love this, Victoria!

    Like

  16. Marya says:

    I really like this line, Victoria (and the whole poem, of course):
    “your thoughts bleed down your brow and fade away”
    We are having a heat wave this week, and I can feel my thoughts bleed away too 🙂

    Like

  17. Ruth says:

    beautifully rendered, Victoria – is that how one bears intolerable heat, by writing beautiful poetry? – i must try it sometime 😉

    Like

  18. Truedessa says:

    Victoria, I adored this sonnet you have such a lovely way with words. I always enjoy visiting your place.

    Like

  19. Yet your poetic sensibilities fought off the sultry heat and devised a beautiful petrarchan sonnet that captures so many summers I have known – hunkered down with cabin fever trying to write and think through the air-conditioned whir.

    Yet, this year, while others swelter we have 70 degree July days (in Texas!) – it’s a MIRACLE! A cool spring, green grass, and the ability to enjoy a summer day. I’m sure it will return to triple digits in a few days but for now – we’re enjoying cool refreshing showers.

    Like

  20. Tracy says:

    may the muse be with you in the heat and in the cool… thank you for your poetry to tell us that in the hot there is also meaning…it is all in how we see it. thank you

    Like

  21. heidi says:

    you’ve inspired me…i want to try one of these now.

    Like

  22. I’ve tried writing poetry in the heat. My brain won’t connect lines. Tis rather annoying.

    Also, great use of form here.

    Like

  23. Like your Petrarchan sonnet. Form is great way to start the engines up again.

    Like

  24. Pamela says:

    First of all, Victoria, this is a beautiful sonnet. I am unable to write them at all, so when I see a well-crafted one, I am impressed. I know all about the ever allusive muse, she seems to hide at the most inconvenient times. Hope you can stay cool, over a hundred is torture.

    Pamela

    Like

  25. How appropriate for the time of year, an anniversary, to demonstrate the forming of poetry – love it

    Like

  26. Timoteo says:

    When out of touch with the muse–write about the muse–way to go!

    Like

  27. Amazing to compose a sonnet in such heat… and yes it would have been a suitable poem to share on Saturday.. Just amazing to have poems lying around like that.

    Like

  28. hisfirefly says:

    too hot to love, too hot to write, too hot to live
    may the cooling rains fall

    Like

  29. annotating60 says:

    Victoria, I only can recognize one kind of sonnet but this was a beautiful poem>KB

    Like

  30. Tony Maude says:

    This is a really well constructed sonnet, Victoria, and it’s so true that the heat interferes with our creativity and ability to think. We’ve had high temperatures here for the past couple fo weeks – high for Scotland that is … smiles. Nearly everyone has been struggling. I’m just so glad that it never gets that hot here …

    Like

  31. I always think of the muse as a fickle lover. Watch it grow, indeed.

    Like

  32. claudia says:

    that sounds hot indeed when it’s even too warm to write… love how you took the form to build the poem…love the watching of the poem taking shape and the growth as well… and cool on the self-publishing project as well

    Like

  33. The moment I read your hilarious title in my email inbox, I was certain that this was one for OLN. A brilliant Petrarchan sonnet, a favourite form of mine.

    Like

  34. A lovely poetry form Victoria ~ The muse sweating and seeking darkness, I can understand ~ Hopefully cooler days find you yielding more poetic gems ~

    Like

  35. So beautiful. Seems you found your baked muse 😉

    Like

  36. Mary says:

    It is hard to do a lot in oppressive heat. We didn’t have it here until just this week. Though I wish to do dog walks, it is hard with a blanket of humidity in the air. I’m back to the air-conditioned Y & the treadmill THERE (ha). I like ‘your thoughts bleed down your brow and fade away.’ So true, I think, during hot and muggy weather. I love the last stanza of this poem —- at last the poem being ‘birthed’ and growing on a cool day. May it happen!

    Like

  37. Rowan Taw says:

    I can appreciate the stifling heat, as it was scorching in London a few days ago (sweaty sardines on the Tube), and it did make me wilt. Great sonnet!

    Like

  38. brian miller says:

    whew…now that is hot when its too hot to write…too hot to draw out the lover/muse to move….i’d say invest in ice…ha…i like how the light lances the sky to rain and you see a poem forming…smiles.

    Like

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