Jane Dards

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Jane Dards
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A Fortnight

by Jane Dards

It’s fourteen days and fourteen nights we say.
That is, two sennights (in the olden tongue).
And yet in Wales an wythnos is the way
they say a week: eight nights – an extra one!
Is sixteen days a fortnight? No, I jest.
Pythefnos gives you fifteen nights instead.
So do the Welsh get more time than the rest?
Ah, no! The French, who have the longest bread,
get longer weeks and fortnights too it seems,
with fifteen days or thereabouts awake,
not just an extra night for quiet dreams.
For fourteen days I’ll work, and then I’ll take
an extra day in which I will recline.
Perhaps my sonnet needs another line.


"A Fortnight" was first published in The Oldie September 2009 (overall winner).

The competition noted that there were fourteen days in a fortnight, fourteen syllables in a ballad and fourteen lines in a sonnet, and asked for a poem called "A Fortnight".

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