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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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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!

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