Love Letters 13: Sore Thumb

Similes are great, but this sonnet is all metaphors. Ten of them. The addressee is continually transformed into loud and “garish” things, some objects, some people. They “stand out”, sometimes as an inappropriately dressed guest, sometimes as a ‘Sore Thumb’. Saying the addressee is ‘like’ other things or acts ‘as’ them is inadequate. This person doesn’t behave like inappropriate things, this person is inappropriate. Gleefully so.

The three quatrains have different out-of-place foci: noises; appearances and behaviours; characteristics. They’re not silos; these out-of-place qualities are interwoven. The capping couplet continues the personal criticism, leaving it as late as possible to deliver the rebuttal.

Sore Thumb
You are the cymbals of a symphony
Crashed out of time when all should be dulcet,
The choral singer harming harmony,
A foghorn at a proper lord’s banquet.
You’re an hot air balloon breaking blue sky
Gasping and garish, scaring tweeting flocks,
You don a clown suit when dress is black tie,
At a chilled soiree you’re Jack-in-the-box.
When others mousely wait you bang the drum,
You’re a black ram on white-sheep common ground,
You stand out like a proudly hammered thumb,
You’re a bright nugget in a gravel mound.
	You struggle to conform; you have no clue:
	It’s why I love, respect and value you.


  1. There are not nearly enough odes to Sore Thumbs. Your reading of it brought out further hidden meanings, which I loved. I’ve appreciated this discipline of sonnets and I particularly felt your empathy in this sonnet. Nice one Mr Burrett.

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