top of page



Invisible foe, device of doomsday 

Relentlessly feasting on weary souls 

Obliterating mankind's hopes and goals 

Our unity kills us, leads us astray 


All days identical, filled with dismay 

My words lost in the void, endless hellholes 

Nightmarish black boxes, lost our controls 

Solitary confinement, slow decay 


Yet every day light shines on my visage 

Every night friendly voices interfere 

Memories of our lost life, a mirage 

To my tormenting routine I adhere 

A smile through misery, a camouflage 

And through the struggle we all persevere 

------ Nick Papaioannides

Artist Statement

My choice of an Italian sonnet as the format for this poem was deliberate. The Italian sonnet has a strictly defined structure, which involves a total of fourteen lines. The first two stanzas, the quatrains, have four bars with an ABBA rhyme scheme. The third stanza, the sestet, has six bars with a CDCDCD rhyme scheme. In addition, every single line is written in iambic pentameter, meaning that they must have ten syllables each. This format essentially meant that I had to filter the abundance of emotions that described how I felt at the time, and condense it into a few words. I had to be very selective and purposeful in my choices. Words not only had to convey the exact meaning, but also conform to the rhyme scheme and number of syllables allowed.

This very restrictive format mirrored how limited and trapped I felt during the phase in my life that this poem addresses. The title, “Confinement”, though relevant to the poem’s meaning, it also relates to the writing process itself. Every time I had an idea during the writing process, I’d soon realize that I couldn’t implement it because of the confinement of the poem’s structure. It would usually be a deviation from the rhyme scheme or from the iambic pentameter, and when it fit, it didn’t feel right. This meant that I had to try again and again, for quite a while, until I could find something that matched perfectly. That feeling, the feeling of recurring disappointment after having a good idea only for it to immediately prove to be impossible due to the circumstances, is very similar to what I experienced during that particular time. Any time I would think of something, whether it was related to entertainment, work, or just improving the quality of my life, that idea was immediately shut down due to the several ongoing limitations. The most disappointing part was when, after seeming complete, I had to scrap and rewrite the first two stanzas due to a misinterpretation of the rhyme scheme. I realized it when it was too late.

As for the poem’s meaning, it’s not something that can be described in just a few words. I kept the general Italian sonnet structure, where the first two stanzas describe the problem and the last stanza provided the resolution. However, I wanted to aim for more. I figured that directly addressing this experience of mine by throwing in references to it here and there would be boring and unoriginal. Instead, I decided to construct it in an abstract way. I attempted to write everything as ambiguously as possible, so that everything can be interpreted in many different ways, and it is hard to pinpoint the actual meaning unless you already know what the poem is talking about. I purposefully wrote some bars with more than one meaning or symbolism in mind, but perhaps the reader can find other hidden meanings that I did not intend to include. 

I’ve always enjoyed listening to music and repeatedly going over lyrics in order to try to analyze and interpret a meaning. It would usually be just bars that had very deep and/or ambiguous meanings, or perhaps they contained a double entendre or hidden reference. Later on, I moved to songs whose overall meaning was unclear and open to interpretation. I also enjoyed analyzing poetry throughout my various, otherwise mundane, literature classes. This is where I learned about the Italian sonnet.

In one of my Greek literature classes, we covered some Italian sonnets, and I couldn’t help but feel impressed at how the artists managed to write them so perfectly. It was impossible to appreciate how many hundreds, if not thousands of hours, they may have invested in perfecting a single poem. Not just fiddling with different bars and trying to work around the restrictions, but also writing something that was perfect to their exceptionally high standards as poets. At the end of the day, if something did not sound perfect from start to finish, they would either revise it or scrap it and restart. And the best part, was that they somehow wrote and published entire compilations of poems. So when I came up with the idea of a sonnet, I thought to myself: “well, after all those songs and poems I’ve gone over, surely it won’t be that hard to imitate them and write my own mediocre attempt, right?”. Well, it turns out I did not think it through, and it was definitely “more than I could chew”. I considered switching to a regular poem after the disappointing restart I had to do a few hours into the work. However, I did not feel like giving up on such a hard (yet rewarding) challenge so easily. Just like the lockdown, finally managing to pull off certain ideas despite the limitations, felt exceptionally rewarding and filled me with joy. As I continued, I would finish the first stanza, then the second one, and most notably the third one. The end product (although by no means perfect) was definitely something that sounded good enough, and I felt like it captured exactly how I felt during the time period of my life that it addresses.

bottom of page