As mentioned in the book’s introduction, I used the highly compressed sonnet form to work out matters of style before moving to blank verse. The sonnet, which I find beautiful in all its manifestations, is a fourteen-line form using a fixed set of rhymes that have changed somewhat over time. The compression forces you to be succinct, and the rhyme scheme forces you to learn to write using a limited pool of rhyming words. Nevertheless, the freedom you yield to the form you are paid back in beauty. You are still free to play with sound elements internal to the line and the general flow from one stanza to the next, and using the sonnet form allowed me to develop those other elements. Here is a sonnet about Ramana Maharshi from the book:
At times, my doubtful self most under threat,
Your ancient image I hold dearly fast;
When body breaks in shivers and cold sweat
And waves of icy dread my being blast.
When I must anxious things endure for wage
That leave all soul disjointed and askew;
When heart beat sets against its mortal cage
To thud and thud and thud, I think on you:
Who clothed in simple cloth with rustic cane
And water kettle tread the rough terrain
Or rest cross legged, captured black and white.
Great sage, my agitations wholly cease
When your calm eyes on troubled mine alight,
Grey bearded gaze that radiates pure peace.