“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?” Fuck, no. I got served nothing but that stupid sonnet for years. A note to educators: children don’t appreciate love poetry as much as you think they do. And yes, they remember what they read last year. And the year before that. And two years ago, yes. How could they forget when they keep having to read the same schlock every damned year?
Being served that same damned sonnet year after year after year in school just about soured me permanently on sonnets. I fucking hated sonnets. Then I ran across Shakespeare’s Sonnet XXXV.
That, my darlings, changed everything. This was meat and marrow, blood and bone. This was passion and drama. This was the human condition. Fuck flowers. Get thee behind me, stupid sappy love stuff. This is where the true power of the sonnet form gets unleashed:
No more be grieved at that which thou hast done:
Roses have thorns, and silver fountains mud,
Clouds and eclipses stain both moon and sun,
And loathsome canker lives in sweetest bud.
All men make faults, and even I in this,
Authórizing thy trespass with compare,
Myself corrupting salving thy amiss,
Excusing thy sins more than thy sins are:
For to thy sensual fault I bring in sense—
Thy adverse party is thy advocate—
And ‘gainst myself a lawful plea commence.
Such civil war is in my love and hate,
That I an áccessory needs must be
To that sweet thief which sourly robs from me.