A call for sonnets

When in the spring fair April shows her face

  • Image by camacho9999/ISTOCK/THINKSTOCK

We present the five winning entries (in alphabetical order) of our sonnet contest in honor of the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death (April 23, 1616).

Eulogy for Broadway (Downtown San Diego)

By Georges Alvina

  • The seedy, sad excitement you once wore
  • So proudly, so enchanting to a child
  • In time would spill like honey from your core
  • Into a young man’s heart and drive him wild.
  • He would become far richer, so beguiled
  • With wicked glamour, glowing in your light
  • While love and fear and dreams were reconciled
  • On all your movie screens, throughout the night.
  • Your sidewalks drenched in danger and delight
  • With locker clubs and arcade jewelry
  • Your final breath a lilting sigh despite
  • The wounds of bureaucratic cruelty.
  • Four decades on, it’s agony to face
  • The flaccid statues standing in your place.

A Mermaid Sings of San Diego

By Molly Larson Cook

  • When in the spring fair April shows her face
  • And winter storms, such as they are, have passed,
  • I think upon the years now gone, time’s race
  • The race we all must run, the slow, the fast.
  • But though the days seem numbered as they fall
  • Like jacaranda blossoms, one by one,
  • My mermaid heart still echoes with the call
  • Of San Diego, honeyed by the sun.
  • This City by the Sea can slow the clock,
  • Sweet breezes in the palms by sandy shores,
  • As sailboats heading out from every dock
  • Send love notes back in brilliant semaphores.
  • Though Prufrock hesitated with his peach,
  • I have no qualms. I head for Ocean Beach!

In the Sierra Nevadas

By Mary Meriam

  • On Glacier Point, my muse appears in tight
  • blue jeans, a crimson parka, purple vest.
  • She leans on granite cliffs that pierce the bright
  • heavens, and smiles above her downy breast.
  • Clear in the distance not a cloud, just scenes
  • of sapphire, vistas huge in blocks of rock
  • and massive slabs in mottled grays. Her jeans
  • attract my lonely eye. And then in shock,
  • I see beneath her clothes her naked pose.
  • O muse seducing me unknowingly —
  • or do you know? O sunlit skyline rose!
  • O hummingbird! Your girlie-model knee
  • angles an upward path along your thigh
  • where fantasies of lingering glide by.

Sonnet: 24 Oct. 1974

By Eddie Murray Pietrzak

  • When first love’s tender blush does burn blood-red,
  • And Technicolor fantasies do reign,
  • Never imagine this flame going dead;
  • For perish the thought of such wretched pain!
  • When high emotion is worn on one’s sleeve,
  • And the rush of lust’s desire smells so sweet,
  • Surel ’tis impossible to believe
  • Any force could quell our Heavenly heat!
  • Yet just as fireworks’ colorful display
  • Must draw to its inevitable close,
  • And glowing embers alas turn to grey,
  • So shall love wither like a dying rose!
  • Whereas love’s colors fade to black and white,
  • Why, pray tell, must you haunt my dreams each night?

A Formal Measuring

By Kyle Potvin

  • With graduation almost here, I drag
  • my son into a shop that sells those wing-
  • tip shoes that nest inside a soft cloth bag
  • with drawstring tie. (He’s spellbound by the thing!)
  • Too long I’ve acquiesced to random size.
  • He trades his Nikes every other day
  • for cooler kicks. He wears them once then “buys”
  • another pair. (Slipshod fit seemed okay!)
  • But as he’s poised to set out on his own,
  • he needs to lose the sneakers — find a shoe
  • with classic lines and solid last. Feet grown:
  • I feel a formal measuring is due.
  • I check the length and width, the leather’s play.
  • Job done. There’s nothing left to do: I pay.

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More from SDReader


The five winning sonnets are wonderful. I liked all of them. Here's my first (and probably last) attempt at writing a sonnet. [Apparently the comments section doesn't like to use line breaks.]

Progress in San Diego?

We thought we had our guy with Mayor Bob, He broke the mold of "always" GOP; But grabbing women doesn't fit the job, So Filner got his fate that was to be.

How much our people want to watch the game, Of Chargers scoring fast on a new field; And many see that there are some to blame: With arrogance and sloth, they fail to yield.

Hotels, apartments, grow and scrape the sky, Home prices reach so high, that we can't think; As homeless try to cope, and wait to die Will San Andreas cause it all to sink?

Can San Diego be what we rejoice? It's time to take a stand, and make a choice.

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