If But They Could by Frank Coffman

If But They Could
(a Cynaraelle Sonnet*—invented form)
Frank Coffman

The full moon glides above the horror forest glade.
Stark, gnarled, and dark, the trees’ bare branches creak.
The hunter, listening, knows a werewolf has been made—
And, somewhere in those trees, the sometimes-man thing preys.
He’s sworn to end the curse, to dare to seek
The unholy beast that stalks, remorseless in craze it slays…

Or worse! If only bitten, he knows the horrid fate:
He would himself become a beast when moon is full,
Lusting for human blood—a monster, soon or late.
And, somewhere in those trees, the sometimes-man thing preys.
“The stars! So bright!” But—unseen in that lull—
The unholy beast that stalks. Remorseless in craze it slays….

And so, the Terror goes on. A wight stalks wold and wood
By full moon’s glow—A thing to kill
—if but they could.


Cynaraelle Sonnet after the pattern of Dowson’s
“Non sum qualis eram bonae sub regno Cynarae”
Dowson’s famous poem is composed in hexains, chiefly in Alexandrines, but with a pentameter line as the fifth line of each stanza. It uses two refrains in lines 4 and 6 which carry throughout the poem (whatever the number of stanzas).

For what I call the “Cynaraelle Sonnet,” I conclude two of his hexain patterns with a couplet in Alexandrines. The poem divides 6-6-2.



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