From fairest creatures we desire increase
That being fat they may before they die
Have such avoirdupois that at decease
They’ll make a greater claim on memory—
Dew–lapped, lids heavy, pouched eyes,
Poly–chinned, their engine full of fuel
And bellied to obscure the land that lies
Unseen beneath their feet. And is it cruel
To wish that they should cease to ornament
The race, become autumnal, forsake the spring,
That they might share our envious discontent,
Who will not be at table so niggarding.
Ah love, I really do not wish to be
Resentful of thy thinness but would fatten thee.
Shakespearean Variation 9
Is it for fear to wet a widow’s eye
That you cling tenaciously to life?
Or is determination not to die
Aimed at yourself instead of at your wife?
Do you fear that, mourning, she would weep
Because your dying left her here behind
With only fading memories to keep?
More likely you would soon be out of mind
For grief is but a meager hoard to spend
And in a month she’d have no more of it.
Her sorrow, thanks to time, will have an end
And she will soon forget the reason of it.
So linger on as by your bed she sits;
Impatience is the sin that she commits.
Shakespearean Variation 18
Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day
As if indeed the time were temperate,
Although the month’s December and not May,
And wishes could transport you to that date?
Shall I invent a summer sun that shines
Less brightly since its very light is dimmed
By yours and in embarrassment declines,
Defeated though your beauty’s candle’s trimmed?
Alas, my love, your beauty soon must fade
And pay the grim taxation that it owes,
Until your life is gone and you a shade,
Quite gone to seed like everything that grows.
But in that seed a promise dear I see,
And I would love to snuggle up with thee.
Shakespearean Variation 44
If the dull substance of my flesh were thought,
And Descartes with his methodic way
Were right, who flesh and blood had brought
To mere res cogitans, I’d rather go than stay.
For how could mind in space be made to stand,
Or loving me get in warm touch with thee?
Methodic doubt despoils both sea and land,
Erases human hearts nor lets us bodily be.
The thought that you and I are chiefly thought,
And minds by thinking could make body gone,
Redefines the world that God has wrought,
Depriving lovers of their cause to moan.
Disembodied mind with reason slow,
Destroys the bodies mothers bore with woe.
Shakespearean Variation 65
Since brass, nor stone, nor earth, nor boundless sea
Are metaphor enough to catch your power,
No more would I to buzzing bee make plea
To mimic an apt companion for the flower.
Some things are best expressed straight out.
To what could we compare our single days,
What improving image find for milk or stout,
What word to hide the way that love decays?
Mixed things only, things that lack
Simplicity, have essence that is hid.
Elemental things, nor front nor back,
But all at once are given and metaphor forbid.
Your simple single sameness has such might,
Your light is what makes other things be bright.
Shakespearean Variation 87
Farewell! Thou art too dear for my possessing.
Shock shook me when I read the estimate
Of payment for your ultimate releasing
From the mechanics’ clutches at a date determinate.
You were a good old car. I’m granting
That, of my loyalty more than deserving,
Despite the many things in which you’re wanting.
Item. Your unnerving habit of sudden swerving;
Your cloudy glass and dented fenders; no knowing
From your gauge amount of fuel, mistaking
Empty for half full. Your faults are growing.
Item. The black smoke you’re always making.
Exhausted car, your tires could not be flatter;
You’re graveyard bound, but so am I. What matter?