“As Satan Devours Bones” Defense

by Ami J. Sanghvi

For my sonnet, “As Satan Devours Bones”, I chose to write in the form of a Petrarchan sonnet. Even though the content of my sonnet is dark and Petrarchan sonnets are generally supposed to portray a scene or a description of “beauty” or “romance”, I saw a more realistic beauty in the content of my poem. Beauty does not always have to be bright and positive—to darker entities, this sonnet would appear to possess beauty.

Even though I struggled immensely with iambic pentameter, I decided to attempt it throughout the sonnet. I did not want any breaks from regular meter or rhyme scheme because I did not want my sonnet to portray any irregular emotions. The purpose of the poem is to tell of a dark [but actual] reality, and I felt that any sudden breaks to the iambic pentameter form would subtract from this.

I used the CDCDCD rhyme scheme for the sestet because I thought it was important to establish a sense of balance throughout the poem. Because this poem is about the terrible reality that we must learn to expect, I was adamantly against giving the poem a hyper-active aura. The readers are not supposed to become intensely sentimentally intertwined with the poem—I just aim for the readers to have mindful relationships with this piece.

The volta occurs at line nine with a prophetic perspective of the day to come, ceasing my description of the day that had occurred previously.  I felt that the key moments in this sonnet could be interpreted as separate days, symbolic of two, divided periods of time; these are distinguishable by the rising of the sun, or the attempted [but failed] reappearance of goodness.

In the sonnet, there are references to Satan, an inspiring character in John Milton’s Paradise Lost, King Arthur and His Knights of the Round Table, Greek mythology, womanhood, and maternity; all of these, to me, are precious themes.  Perhaps, this poem will have a more dramatic effect on women and passionate lovers of classic literature; yet I deeply suspect that anyone can unsheathe its message if they approach the sonnet with a curious mind.

The poem is supposed to be descriptive of the struggle women who undergo sexual assault and/or rape.  Even though there is a way to emotionally connect to such a situation, that is not the precise purpose of this sonnet. The point of the poem here is to lay out the facts of what survivors must face after such an earth-shattering experience. This includes, fear, faithlessness, and trauma, among so many other heartbreaking sentiments.

Even though I may or may not have written a perfect sonnet in terms of the formal aspects, I find that the message I attempted to get across is still genuine and fundamental. I pray that any readers of my poem will develop a sense of understanding on the topic of the aftermath of sexual assault and rape for women.


Essay and photograph are the exclusive creations and property of Ami J. Sanghvi.
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