Love Letters 7: Stubborn Beast

The Shakespearian sonnet provides substantial structure: 14 lines comprised of three quatrains with a capping couplet, iambic pentameter, adabcdcdefefgg rhyme scheme, capping couplet regularly offering a riposte or summation that invites the reader to find a deeper meaning. This sonnet has an even tighter structure; the first two lines of each quatrain present an animal with seemingly negative characteristics, the second two lines present an animal with contrasting characteristics.

The addressee is a “stubborn” “ donkey”, an “ass” even. They have the memory of an “elephant” and the “awkward” nature of an “orangutan”. This is contrasted with dutiful animals like the “horse” that obeys commands, the “loyal” “dog” and the “caged bird” with its angelic melody.

The capping couplet encourages the reader to consider whether they want someone with “servile” qualities: it suggests such “qualities” are fickle, whereas the “fierce” love of the “unrefined” beast is far more dependable.

Stubborn Beast
You are a donkey, stubborn, unrefined
An ass unwilling to direction change:
The horse, however, by man is designed
To turn, to charge, to halt, patrol the range.
You are an elephant that won’t forget
Details that should trickle through cracks in time:
Unlike the dog, mankind’s most loyal pet
Forgiving cruel owners’ every crime.
You’re an orangutan, awkward and loud
Your nest’s a mess, food is found everywhere:
Unlike the caged bird plucked out of a cloud
Neat as a housemaid singing servile prayer.
	But fickle are the trained beast’s qualities;
	While your fierce love won’t flinch, won’t flee, won’t freeze.

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