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When, my love swears that she is made of truth
I do believe her, though I know she lies,
That she might think me some untutor’d youth,
Unlearned in the world’s false subtleties.
Thus vainly thinking that she thinks me young.
Although she knows my days are past the best,
Simply I credit her false speaking tongue:
On both side thus is simple truth suppress’d:
But wherefore says she not she is unjust?
And wherefore says not I that I am old?
O! love’s best habit is in seeming trust,
And age in love loves not to have years told:
Therefore I lie with her and she with me,
And in our faults by lies we flatter’d be.
William Shakespeare, Sonnet 138
The sonnets are a part of my literary DNA. I still have my ancient Signet 95 cent paperback edition, with an introduction by W.H. Auden, purchased circa 1977. However…
I might as well confess right off that I can’t write a decent sonnet to save my life. Nevertheless, I aspire to write a sonnet as good as one of Shakespeare’s–someday. This, barring a miracle, is an unachievable goal. I think it good for a poets and artists to have such goals, aspirations that may be failed honorably, and repeatedly. Failure is as necessary to poets and other makers as it is to God.
Note: I like Dave McKean’s short film of Sonnet 138 very much. It’s everything I’d like my scissor dances to be had I the animation skills to make them actually dance.