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Iambic Pentameter

Jen Selinsky

Copyright © 2006 by Jen Selinsky

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Cover Art Copyright © 2001 by Jen Selinsky

ISBN: 9781370343621

*Not every poem included in this book is dated in chronological order. This is not an oversight on my part. Rather, I have made changes and substitutions over the years.


Though William Shakespeare is primarily known for his brilliant plays, some of his other famous works include his sonnets, of which there are 154. English sonnets, or Shakespearian sonnets, were written in iambic pentameter. Their rhythm is five feet in a row, similar to the beating of a heart. They consist of fourteen lines with ten syllables on each line. The first twelve lines are divided into three quatrains, and the last two are rhyming couplets. All the lines have end rhyme every other line, with the exception of the rhyming couplets. This provides for a certain pattern. Traditional Shakespearian sonnets include themes of Time, Death, Love, and Friendship—four concepts which are exclusively personified in his works.

My book consists of sixty-four English sonnets. The first half deal with the traditional themes, while the second half expresses elements of another nature.


No finer time than now to speak of Love;

You are in my mind all through this fine day.

Watching out for signs that come from above

That are soon to steer us in the right way.

Come at the right time when I was resigned—

I nearly gave up any chance I had

Because I thought that I would never find

A man who could ever make me this glad!

Desperation soon found its way inside,

Though shortly after, you chased it all out.

No longer do I have to run and hide

As a victim of my cynical doubt.

Could our Love be the grandest of them all,

Which saved us from the most atrocious fall?

*dedicated to Travis Potts


Every day, I find that I grow with Time,

As he pulls me where I say I must go.

And I put the substance into this rhyme

To create the words that easily flow.

Gather to create image with favor,

While I recount the events of my years.

Give me cause to celebrate and savor

To call back the remainder of my fears.

And when I get old and closer to leave

All these great earthly possessions behind,

I will not be so easy to deceive

With all the newfound knowledge I shall find.

Do not despair over such minor things—

Only to reap the benefits Time brings.


My friend, I am glad you have come to stay

For a time so that we can continue

To talk here and have together this day

While there are so many things to review.

Our friendship is so strong that it lasted

Through so many years as we find we’ve known.

No suffering that has greatly fasted

Through all the loyalty we have been shown.

The world will never wonder what we had

Because they should have known it for themselves,

But knowledge of this makes me much more glad

With books to be flying off all the shelves.

And in the end most of mankind should know

The things that have made our great friendship grow!


Though Time quickly changes all around us,

One thing solid will remain through the years,

Which outshines the rest of the public fuss

As it helps us conquer our deepest fears.

All these words I speak are true to their form.

I’ve known you since our time came to a start

To these ideals we don’t have to conform

Because I hold you so dear in my heart.

Sunrise with the dawning of each new day—

And with something new to add to my life.

Now I know I am headed the right way

To avoid the direction of man’s strife.

We don’t find that we have to make amends;

You will always be one of my best friends.


Through modern age and modern medicine,

Time began to preserve me how I like.

Out with the aging so that I can win

And continue on with my fitness strike!

Time stands still when I walk, just as it should,

But I am not inclined to ask just how

All this can only change me for the good;

I never knew anything until now.

All these elements had better steer clear,

Unless they plan on helping me some way.

Because I don’t go back to what I fear,

As sure as I want to feel good each day.

My life is prolonged just to satisfy

Answers to the most proverbial “why.”


Although I did not know you well, I can’t

Help but mourn your loss as others pass by.

And another part of me thinks I shan’t,

Even though I’m surrounded by my cry.

Death takes the best of us—the rest of us,

Unwillingly as many people know.

Not in our nature to put up a fuss

Because we simply do not want to go.

Can’t help but think something may have been done

To see that he whom I mourn could have stayed.

Just to tell the winding story of one

Instead, sadly, his death was not delayed.

Hatred is seen far too much in our day—

Sad example of getting in the way.


Not much time for words when we have all day

To devote to work we try to rush through.

And what of our time devoted to play?

We have much more “important” things to do.

In a world such as this, so scarce to find

One who feels the urgency to relax.

They can’t let such a thought enter their minds

Because they fear the accusing attacks.

That would come to those who think they can talk,

Though they let precious life slip through their hands

While anxiety builds up as they walk

Themselves into the burdened foreign land.

See how this thought just further aims to prove—

How some feel that they always need to move.


Though distance comes between us at the time,

Nothing can remove our status as friends.

And what I feel may make me most sublime

As sadness and loneliness find their ends.

What we’ve been through, and what we’ve yet to do,

Adds up to a life full of happiness.

Every day, we discover something new.

Now having reached my point, thus I digress.

Given time, we will soon be together

To celebrate the finest things to live.

This won’t be a question as to whether

We will have the chance to sing, share, and give.

What we have done and seen inside it all

While into our old habits we will fall.

*dedicated to Jen Bauer


Yes, it is he who has my heart aflame—

Now and to the realm of infinity.

Enamored so that I can place no blame

On he who has given such love to me.

Oh, to start would not be too far from hard

As if ever to end, I could not do—

To find that he is standing in my yard

And know that he would not be passing through.

Love’s great ways, a mystery been revealed

To we who need it to get through our ways.

These truths no longer further be concealed

Because in our adamant heart they stay.

So much within us to share and to know

While our love can do nothing short of grow!

*dedicated to Travis Potts


Oftentimes, you pass faster than we like,

Though much of it is against our free will.

Whichever way you go, you go to strike

At our handicaps; we make ourselves ill.

And some say that you heal through mystery.

A bit of that I would much like to know,

As repeated through Time and history,

To make all these excuses as we go.

Time could not impress upon standing still

As we must come to reach a certain age.

Though only some could say they’ve had their fill—

Duty still forces us to turn the page.

Skin with season enough to make me cry

As the rest of me has to turn all dry.


A sweet escape or permanent decay

Does Death bring to mortals in this fine state?

So limited in time we get to play

As we all carry far too short a date.

Years ago, we lived for much less a time,

Now we have much more of a chance to breathe.

Though we still fall a bit short on the climb

And one day we will all have to bereave.

All humanity shall move to this fate

Whether or not we wish it to be so.

We should do these things before it’s too late

While we still have the greatest change to go.

Death is so cruel to lead and take away,

Though we are rewarded another day.


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