I used to think I knew the definition of a sonnet, but now I’m not so sure. I used to believe that a sonnet had fourteen iambic pentameter lines with one of several rhyme schemes to choose from. The Shakespearian, the Spenserian, the Miltonian, the Petrarchian and even the” indefinables” had some kind of a rhyme scheme, but I have recently seen a number of “sonnets” having fourteen lines alright of varying line lengths, which I now label “Plutonian”, because their rhyme schemes (or lack thereof) explode in your face. They are usually very nice poems alright, but I would hesitate to call them sonnets. Whenever I write one like that I have always called it an ‘onnet, because I just isn’t quite a sonnet.
Here is one of my ‘onnets:
Imprisoned in a cell of low degree
Imposed on self by self I know not how
Escape was out of question, so till now
I wallowed in self-scorning misery.
So long there I could scarce recall the days
Of freedom when the air was fresh and young.
My muscles longed to stretch and exercise.
But then among the rubble and debris
I spied a sphere no larger than my palm.
Drawn to its port I peered then entered calm,
Defying laws of space and gravity.
Behold the universe! What grand arrays!
Ethereal displays! My cell door sprung
Into my inner self I now arise.