Feral Fascinations

Don't be afraid to tell me where you've been
As though I wouldn't understand the lure
Of wildness when compared with dull routine.
You'll never know what's howling on the moor
Unless you leave the mansion's nervous light
And gratify your passion to explore.
Don't worry that I'll run away in fright
Or shudder with revulsion and disdain
On finding you've been dancing with the night.
I'll never need to ask you to explain
Your feral fascinations and that spark
Of quickening your bearing can't contain.
Don't be afraid to lead me through the dark:
Those paw prints that you're following--they're mine.


Interesting choice of the words "nervous light". Meter aside, "reassuring light", might have fit in the same place.

The last line breaks the sonnet rhyme scheme. What did you mean by that?

"Nervous light" was a deliberate choice. Outside is wildness, perhaps even terror for some. Inside that's reduced to nervousness, particularly since the howling can still be heard. The imagery created by "nervous" seemed to work in both the literal and metaphorical interpretations.

The rhyme scheme breakage at the end occured when I decided that I wasn't going to stick to absolutely perfect rhymes all through. The lure/moor/explore rhyme is another example of that imperfection (although it's possible that these do rhyme in some regions).

The very last two lines were the first lines to be written, although they did change a little as I refined them. I looked at rhymes for "mine" to use in lines 8, 10 and 12 so that I could fit to a terza rima scheme such as:
A / B / A
B / C / B
C / D / C
D / E / D
E / D
But the available exact rhymes didn't fit with what I wanted to say. Since there's already a special punch saved up in the very last two words, I decided to drop that rhyme requirement in favor of:
A / B / A
B / C / B
C / D / C
D / E / D
E / F
The fact that I ended up with a slant rhyme between the ain/ine sounds was more luck than anything else. I wasn't holding myself to it.

Ah, I hadn't noticed that the end was a slant rhyme, because I was expecting a couplet at the end. It's probably not an essential part of sonnet structure (I seem to recall there is at least one style which doesn't have a final couplet. [What is essential to a sonnet -- meter and number of lines?]), but your indentation of the last two lines led me to expect one.

So about the nervous light, nervous and reassuring both seem to be true, but the interesting thing about using nervous is that it implies that outside, by contrast, is not nervous. I think you were trying to say that.

Finally, (and I blush to destroy the subtlety of your poem by asking such a blunt question), is the speaker a werewolf or something?

The definition of a sonnet is not clear cut. (See http://radio.weblogs.com/0113501/2005/08/26.html#a573 for part of a discussion.) Though there are traditional forms for English and Italian sonnets, I haven't bound myself to either of those forms but I did have the Shakespearean form in mind when writing. In the canonical "three quatrains and a couplet," each quatrain expresses a thought and the couplet gives a concluding message. In moving to the terza rima rhyme scheme, I decided to build it in four tercets and a couplet so that the thoughts fit the natural divisions of the terza rima scheme.

I see what you mean now about how "nervous inside" can imply "not nervous outside." It shows up an area in which I've chosen the words carefully, yet still failed to communicate my meaning.

On face value, the imagery points to the speaker being a werewolf (or some similar deceptive human/animal creature). On a metaphorical level, the speaker and recipient are fully human and both have been hiding their "dark" thoughts from each other for fear of frightening each other away. The speaker is making an effort to encourage more openness.

Hmm, I read it as a cross-generational thing - the voice of a parent addressing (in his/her imagination) a child just starting to discover the lure and adventure of rebellion...

Kinda liked that way of reading it, actually.

outeast: now that you mention it, yes, it does read well with that interpretation too. I guess it reflects an interpersonal pattern that is more common than I realised as I wrote.