Sonnet © 2020 Matthew de Lacey Davidson

Images PD: https://unsplash.com/@nutellavan

We see the autumn evening’s yellow glow
descending on the multitude of leaves;
the reds and browns are truly apropos
of how my wife now haltingly receives
the news of summer’s end. I try to show
her that there’s always beauty to be found
in even a discoloured nature’s change,
or a chilling, windy, rustling sound.
To release ourselves of any goal,
in western culture, might seem slightly strange;
but isn’t it high time that every soul
shall ask just this: whenever shall we quiz
ourselves of both the reason and the role
of satisfaction (— fleeting as it is)?


Sonnet © 2020 Matthew de Lacey Davidson

Image PD: https://www.pinterest.ca/pin/542824561307836480/

“E quindi uscimmo a rividere le stelle.” — Dante, INFERNO (XXXIV:139)

Magnanimous — is their ideal.
Equality — their point of view.
But is what they tell us real?

With fragments of decorum few
and far between (and hard to find),
how is it that they misconstrue

events persisting merely in the mind?
Do we ignore three faces on a head,
when what we see can make us blind?

Should I make peace with people whom I dread
(a rope, a rape, an oven) when
their dearest wish: to see me dead?

Is compassion, then, beyond the ken
of those with sword, who hold no pen?

Line 8 is a reference to the final Canto of Inferno by Dante.


Image PD: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Gustave_Caillebotte_-_Paris_Street;_Rainy_Day_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg

Sonnet © 2020 Matthew de Lacey Davidson

About self-absorption, they were never wrong, the petit-bourgeois Masters: how clearly every detail presents itself — from the central line of the green streetlight extending out towards the downcast throng, all blissfully unaware that thousands of miles away the lives of black people will become immeasurably worse as concern is greater for the fashions of ballet and how one’s wide ascot tie and square-toed shoes might get ruined by the rain and gale. Anyhow, the damp begins to advance down cobbled stones and silk umbrellas. To the right — a husband and wife…


Sonnet © 2020 Matthew de Lacey Davidson

Image courtesy of Unsplash, PD: https://unsplash.com/@engzak

With dark brown empty eyes, I can’t forget her face;
her two small boys (their blanket is the sky
at night) are close. Their laundry’s on a rope and stiff.
But more confounding than a hieroglyph
is how she came to be here in this place.
Did her husband beat her? Did he die?
Was she unmarried? Does it matter? Fear
is palpable upon the street. A mere
twenty dollars — in her skeletal hands. My wife and I
give her food as well. My thoughts cohere,
confronted by reality: so if
the hand I hold is good, then might I bluff
myself? It’s better that I never hear
my haunting thought: I did not do enough.


Image PD: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Cabinet_of_Dr._Caligari#/media/File:CABINET_DES_DR_CALIGARI_01.jpg

Sonnet © 2020 by Matthew de Lacey Davidson

A look at loss of mental power,
and influenced by Grand Guignol and allegory.
Herr Doktor looks like Arthur Schopenhauer,
inside a story that’s within another story.

Directly painted onto sets
are shadows, dark, and streaks of light,
ensuring that the audience forgets
that the characters are not contrite.

Objects which appear that they might be alive,
diagonals, and trees with spiky leaves.
Motivations, from absurdity, derive —
one does not know what one believes…

…and at the end, an anecdotal quirk:
this poem’s author never wrote this work.

This sonnet describes the expressionist German film, The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari.


Sonnet © 2020 Matthew de Lacey Davidson

Image PD: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Destruction_of_Leviathan.png

Possession of an object gives a child delight:
see the smile, the sense of wonder, eyes
which widen. Joyful noises as the prize
approaches. Reaching with both hands, despite
the possibility of danger (great or slight).
Nuance has no role when in this deep blue sea.
Simplicity. Corporeality.
Innocence has not yet learned to demonize.
When the baby’s grown, a different person’s seen;
hatred, stealing, killing — actions which appall.
A monster stands where someone else has been.
How do some Survivors find the wherewithal?
Circumstance provides the most Pavlovian response:
confusing needs with shallow wants.


Sonnet © 2020 Matthew de Lacey Davidson

Photo PD — used by permission: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Man%C3%A8geLR1.jpg

When an autocrat shall take a lover,
society’s seduced and then beguiled.
Enamoured, all the people soon discover
that their faithfulness becomes reviled.
Eventually, though, it’s superseded,
when the “Needer” then becomes the “Needed,”
because destruction doesn’t make much sense
when there isn’t any recompense.
Is that which does not kill, so sure to make us tougher?
If all that’s shown is just a second face,
how often does the Hydra’s head replace,
in this land which G-d had meant to suffer?
When duelling ends, or where it all begins,
the tyrant (almost always) wins.

The above is an adaptation of the plot of Eugene Onegin to the political situation in many countries, and uses Pushkin’s sonnet format from that work.


Sonnet © 2020 Matthew de Lacey Davidson

IMAGE PD: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Lyon_-_Lugdunum_-_Th%C3%A9atre_Romain.jpg

The Basilique Notre Dame de Fourvière
(in Lyon, in France) — it sits upon a hill.
Exhausted, I once tried to make it there,
but couldn’t. Bleary-eyed, I found, instead,
purely by accident, outspread,
beyond the puppets, standing silent, still:

the amphitheatre (or Odeon),
built by Claudius, and almost two
thousand years ago. But then, upon
a wall (and there for all to see),
the best example of calligraphy
on brass from ancient times. I never knew

that sometimes, something better brings us awe —
like the basilica I never saw.

The word…


Sonnet © 2020 Matthew de Lacey Davidson

for Shayna

Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/dariosanches/3000275207, Photo uploaded from Wikipedia (PD): https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Athene_cuniculariaa.jpg

Of all the attitudes that I resent
are those of animals professing to
be wise. Perhaps they’re called a parliament
for just that reason? Nonetheless, the zoo
where we are watching wisdom (tried and true),
a certain sentiment I can’t resist
admiring, finally comes in to view.
With fluffy, feathered face, a pragmatist
might think an ornery somnambulist
incapable of contemplation when
thoughts are used to give one’s neck a twist.
And this somehow shows great acumen?
But maybe that’s where wisdom lies:
to know enough to sleep, relax, and close one’s eyes.


Short Story © 2020 Matthew de Lacey Davidson

Image PD; https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Lunenburg,_NS_in_1880s.png

Percival Voigtländer adjusted his stiff high-collar slightly, so that the satin puff tie could be more visible to all those present. Although almost always in the presence of those who were not able to best appreciate it, he took great care to be as presentable and elegant as possible in his dress. He had worked a great many years, too many to count the precise number, in his field, and he took great pride in his work, as well as in his personal appearance.

Voigtländer pulled down his Norfolk jacket after quietly…

Matthew de Lacey Davidson

...poetry, short stories, a play, and two novels (including a mystery)... https://matthewdelaceydavidson.wordpress.com/about/

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