March 8, 2011

Strategic Borrowing

My brain is a little shot so I will dispense with any preconception that I have anything interesting or coherent to say for a week or two.  In the interest of maintaining my bloging regime, (and really the timeless literary tradition of theft), I’m going to get creative with plagiarism.

Shakespeare is perhaps the world’s most famous sonneteer.  His sonnet series has inspired generations of criticism and would-be Romeos to learn and love them.  But was the sonnet form necessarily the only way for Shakespeare to express his immortal sentiments?  Was it the only choice for him, or merely the most logical?

I’ve taken the liberty of re-writing one of Shakespeare’s most famous sonnets (Sonnet 18) in several different forms.  I daresay that the material suffers a bit at my hand (I’m many things, but The Immortal Bard is not one of them).  However, despite my weaker verses, the spirit of my sentiment remains within the lines.  Let’s have some fun with Shakespeare!


Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:

Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,

And summer's lease hath all too short a date: 

Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,

And often is his gold complexion dimm'd; 

And every fair from fair sometime declines,

By chance or nature's changing course untrimm'd;

But thy eternal summer shall not fade

Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest;

Nor shall Death brag thou wander'st in his shade,

When in eternal lines to time thou growest: 

So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,

So long lives this and this gives life to thee.


Better than summer
My lines preserve you from death
Nature can’t touch you.


Though you ask, I shan’t tell you you’re May.
For there are flaws in a hot summer day.
Time turns seasons on
Just a blink and it’s gone,
Now death cannot take you away.

Spenserian Verse

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more beauteous, mild and fair.
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May
And summer fades into brisk autumn air.
Sometimes the sun shines hot, sometimes it’s gray,
And every flower withers in its own time.
But you shall not wither nor fade away
As I preserve you here within my rhyme,
Harboured from Death ‘till men no longer read my lines.

Rime Royal

A summer’s day cannot compare to you,
Your beauty and your mildness do it shame.
It’s here and gone away too quickly too,
Almost before one states its full acclaim.
But you shan’t fade nor suffer just the same,
My verse shall ever keep you here in bloom.

Double Dactyl

Mild and beautiful
More to my liking
Than summer’s short lease.

I shall preserve you from
Death’s keen-edged pole-scythe
Till lit’racy cease!

….and now, your turn!  Sestinas, anyone?

1 comment:

Bob Colonna said...

Sonnet 130 (personalized)

My lady-love hails from Armenia
Her skin isn’t like the gardenia
She’s lustrous and gold,
With eyes dark and bold,
She’s better than any umpteen a ya.