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Last year, in honor of Tricia Stohr-Hunt's birthday request, my poetry sisters and I (and sometimes our poetry half-brother, John Christian Lewis (Sara Lewis Holmes's actual brother)) wrote monthly poems. Different forms and themes and rules as we went along. And it was wonderful and inspiring and, at least for me, helped me feel connected to people in the world in ways I am not always or usually connected. (I can't say that I choose to be alone so much, really, but I certainly spend much of my time that way. But I digress.)

For our "big finish", we worked on a crown sonnet. We did one back in 2008, which was intended for a young adult audience. This time, we didn't focus on audience; instead, we applied ourself to science, and the periodic table of the elements. A corona of sonnets has seven interlinked sonnets, with each starting with the ending line of the preceding poem, and the last one ending with the first line of the first sonnet - a snake eating its own tail/tale, if you will.

The Periodic Table of the Elements happens to have seven rows (and the seventh row was just declared complete this week after confirmation of the discovery of four new elements. It's as if they knew we'd planned to post this today (though we decided in November of 2015) and wanted to make our crown of sonnets that much more relevant.

I wrote the sonnet for the Fourth Row of the Periodic Table, following on the heels of Sara Lewis Holmes's marvelous third-row effort. If you want to read the entire corona in one place, check out Tricia Stohr-Hunt's post today.

A science lover, choosing in the night
to ponder periodic elements
that cross the bounds of fields of study might
do well to mine fourth row intelligence.

The first row with transition metals, it
is last with elements completely stable.
Though some are poisonous — like arsenic —
radioactivity is down the table.

These minerals derived from the earth’s core,
compose the human body. With their aid,
one can work jewelry, craft circuit boards,
make stainless steel and artificial legs.

So much depends on calcium—like bone—
It’s odd to think it’s metal, and not stone.

Here's where you can find the other entries:

First Row with Laura Purdie Salas
Second Row with Tricia Stohr-Hunt
Third Row with Sara Lewis Holmes
Fourth Row above
Fifth Row with Liz Garton Scanlon
Sixth Row with Tanita Davis
Seventh Row with Tricia Stohr-Hunt

You can find lots of other Poetry Friday posts by clicking the box below to visit The Opposite of Indifference:

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( 18 comments — Leave a comment )
Sara Lewis Holmes
Jan. 8th, 2016 01:57 pm (UTC)
Oh, man. Even after reading your poem fifty times, I'm still in love with your last couplet. That is just surprising and gorgeous. I'm so happy with how you took off from my last line, and honored to write poetry with you any day. Any day at all. xo Sara
Jan. 8th, 2016 05:15 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Sara. I love working with you, and your last line left me just enough undaunted to begin something. It took ages to get to a point where I got to say what I wanted, and then it was still such a (tough, grueling, maddening, fun) challenge.

I wish I lived nearer to you and my other poetry sisters. I could do with more in-person writing dates!
Jan. 8th, 2016 02:56 pm (UTC)
Whee! I'm with Sara--that ending couplet is amazing. And your whole opening quatrain is my other favorite part. So fun to write with you, Kelly, and thank you for the holiday card :>) xoxo [this is Laura]

Edited at 2016-01-08 02:57 pm (UTC)
Jan. 8th, 2016 05:16 pm (UTC)
Smooches to you! I miss you!
Liz Garton Scanlon
Jan. 8th, 2016 03:09 pm (UTC)
So lovely, Kelly
Kelly.... I'm so glad we got to be writing "alone together" all year and I so look forward to the next year. And thank you thank you for this amazing last line -- I love your entire sonnet, but that ending? Perfection and it gave me the perfect place from which to launch my own. xoxoxo
Jan. 8th, 2016 05:18 pm (UTC)
Re: So lovely, Kelly
I really did try to leave something like a launching point at the end - it was one of the additional challenges of this project, in that we had to keep other writers in mind as we went - using words that weren't our own for a first line, leaving space in the last for the next person to move on. I'm glad we are continuing this year!
TS Davis
Jan. 8th, 2016 05:12 pm (UTC)
Chalky white... metal.
Mining fourth row intelligence is just the BEST and most succinct way of putting it. I love that your sonnet just tumbles from the tongue so perfectly. I think I'm enchanted by the facts and reminded of how much I don't know... which is delightful.
Jan. 8th, 2016 05:19 pm (UTC)
Re: Chalky white... metal.
Like you, I'm still blown away by the knowledge that calcium is a metal (of some sort). I love writing with you and our other poetry friends!
Andi Sibley
Jan. 8th, 2016 05:20 pm (UTC)
I am also in awe of your closing couplet. It leave us with so much to think about! Your whole sonnet is drawing from richness an pointing forward. Beautiful! You are the sonnet master.
Jan. 8th, 2016 05:38 pm (UTC)
Aw, shucks, Andi! Thank you for being such a terrific cheerleader!
Linda Baie
Jan. 8th, 2016 11:27 pm (UTC)
You've managed to show how diverse this particular row is so well. This time, your sonnet made me call up a picture of the chart itself. I wanted to see those "minerals derived from the earth’s core" that make both the human body & jewelry. Well-done!
Jan. 8th, 2016 11:49 pm (UTC)
Re: variety
Thanks, Linda!!
Mary Lee Hahn
Jan. 10th, 2016 01:16 pm (UTC)
I am swooning over your rhymes, and the purely conversational tone you manage while still following all the rules. Holy WOW! Four cheers-- for the fourth row!
Jan. 22nd, 2016 10:55 pm (UTC)
Sorry I didn't respond sooner. Especially since your remarks meant SO MUCH to me (when I read them on my phone, and then forgot to sign on and respond).
Tricia Stohr-Hunt
Jan. 11th, 2016 03:12 am (UTC)
I'm so late to the party, having been away during all the fun. However, I'm grateful to finally be home and able to to immerse myself in poetry while the house is quiet.

I love how much information you have packed into this sonnet. All you folks daunted by the science did an amazing job of including such specific details. I'm with the others in loving your last couplet. Like you, students are surprised by the many of the elements classified as metals! And what a great last line to begin the next sonnet.
Jan. 22nd, 2016 10:56 pm (UTC)
I remain daunted by the science. But I really loved what everyone did with this project!
Jan. 14th, 2016 06:06 pm (UTC)
Nicely done! I particularly like the ending.
Jan. 22nd, 2016 10:56 pm (UTC)
( 18 comments — Leave a comment )

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