Thursday, August 21, 2008

The problem with Shakespeare is that he always seems to be right.

Sonnet 76

William Shakespeare

Why is my verse so barren of new pride?
So far from variation or quick change?
Why with time do I not glance aside
To new-found methods and to compounds strange?
Why write I still all one, ever the same,
And keep invention in a noted weed,
That every word doth almost tell my name,
Showing their birth, and where they did proceed?
O, know, sweet love, I always write of you,
And you and love are still my argument;
So all my best is dressing old words new,
Spending again what is already spent:
For as the sun is daily new and old,
So is my love still telling what is told.

And just to prove he's always right, here is yet another of my poems about boys, love, and music. I was reading a lot of George Herbert at the time--an odd instance of how sound and form can override subject matter in one's musical memory. Believe it or not, this poem appears in the teacher's guide of a how-to-teach-English textbook. I wonder how well it's working.

Heavy Metal

With what care you compromise your righteous taste
for noise in service to your rampant sons;
linger like a pirate over Goodwill bins, the waste
of wretched yard sales, sifting one by one

the halt, the lame; then slip into the kitchen
after dark, kiss my shoulder, unload groceries,
pour a second beer, and, offhand, think to mention
you've just purchased our first-ever AC DC

record. You!--dear secret and embarrassed owner
of Boston, Wings, and K-Tel disco albums,
derider of Pete Seeger and the Weavers, stalwart hater
of the Beach Boys, despiser of dull stoner jams--

you closet Modern Lover, not forgetting that a young
boy needs to shake his ravished parents all night long.

Dinner, a this-and-that-from-the-garden meal: likely to be basmati rice with black pepper, lime, and the last few filet green beans; chard leaves with olive oil; chard stems baked with butter and parmesan; maybe the rest of the loaf of dill bread my sons haven't quite polished off.

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