Lesley Wheeler’s “Doubled, Briefly” is a stealthy poem that highlights the doubling, uncanny nature of its form, the bref double. Rhymes chime steadily, abc, throughout this sonnet variant, but the third quatrain’s open lines offer space for surprise. The poem’s playful rhymes—might just be / friendless misery / slant pine tree—unfold a link between domestic life and the domesticated landscape, between a mother’s regret-sparked musings and the totemlike messengers of the natural world who offer a “[m]irror of lapses.” And the nods to Sylvia Plath—acoustic tributes to another mother (“decibel of fever-cry”; “hot spell simmers”)—embed another layer of sonic delight.
Write a fourteen-line poem that shines a light on your domestic space: capture its sights and sounds. At the same time, invite the more-than-human world into your poem. What offerings can you find as you gaze beyond the walls of your dwelling? Let the weather of the world outside inform your final couplet. For added challenge, incorporate an echo of a literary forebear.