FROM SONNET 56: 56 VERSIONS OF SHAKESPEARE

Original

Sweet love, renew thy force, be it not said
Thy edge should blunter be than appetite,
Which but today by feeding is allayed,
Tomorrow sharp’ned in his former might.

So love be thou, although today thou fill
Thy hungry eyes, ev’n till they wink with fullness.
Tomorrow see again, and do not kill
The spirit of love with a perpetual dullness.

Let this sad interim like the oceans be
Which parts the shore, where two contracted new
Come daily to the banks, that when they see
Return of love, more blest may be the view;

As call it winter, which being full of care,

Makes summer’s welcome, thrice more wished, more rare.

 

Homosyntactic Translation

Bright winter, withhold your warmth; even though
Your grass is often greener than summer,
Which recently the snow made cold,           
Today it’s frozen in a lovely whiteness.

And when love cuts us, tomorrow heals
Our frantic wounds, and love darkens with kindness.
Yesterday lives today and won’t exchange
Its gift of life for a lasting strangeness.

Make our dark words, like oceans breaking,
Avoid that world, where hearts freshly broken
Slowly leave their beds.  For when love senses
The turning of desire, the cold is everlasting.

Or blame the summer.  While sleeping under ground,
It forgives winter’s seizure, three times named and forgotten.

 

Haikuisation

Love, renew thy force.
Thy edge should blunter be than
tomorrow-sharpened.

 

Noun Plus Seven

Sweet love game, renew thy forecaster, be it not said
Thy editor should blunter be than apple-jack,
Which but today by feeling is allayed,
Tonality sharp’ned in his former mildew.

So love game be thou, although today thou fill
Thy hungry eyebright, ev’n till they wink with fullery.
Tomorrow see again, and do not kill
The spirochete of love with a perpetual dumbbell.

Let this sad interleaf like the ocotillo be
Which parts the shortcake, where two contracted new
Come daily to the banker, that when they see
Revelation of love game, more blest may be the vigilante;

As call it winter melon, which being full of carfare,
Makes sumpweed’s wellcurb, thrice more wished, more rare.

 

Binocular

Sweet love, renew                                 thy force, be it not
said thy edge should blunter                             be than appetite, which today by
feeding is allayed, tomorrow sharp-                  ened with his former might.  So love be
Thou, although today thou fill thy hungry         eyes, ev’n till they wink with fullness, tomor-
ow see again, and do not kill the spirit of love      with a perpetual dullness.  Let this sad interim
like the ocean be which parts the shore,                 where two contracted new come daily to
the banks, that when they see return                     of love, more blessed may be the view;
as call it winter, which being                                full of care, makes summer’s wel-
come, thrice more                                                 wished, more rare.

 

Qasida

If winter comes to summer, hunger to feasting,
If summer falls and love is beaten,

If we are familiar but not a family,
If the gods are hidden and the wind wretched.

If the edge were blunter, appetite sharper.   
If love lasted longer, and life was stronger.

If one is rain, two the weeping.
If three is winter, and four goes begging.

Song of the leaf and song of knowing,
Song of stones and water flowing.

Song of love’s sheer ambition.
Song of days and song of money.

Saved by dirt and cured of wanting,
Saved by dark, bar-coded angels.

Saved by leaving and returning.
Saved by the space that fell between us.

Moral thoughts and moral action,
Antiseptic sweat, antiseptic semen.

Only the long hum of experience,
only roads worn by the passing.

 

Mathematical

(1)       love x  (force < renewal) = love (force – renewal) ≠ 0
(2)       (love – ♫) –14   < hunger x  feeding
fullness – dullness ÷ ocean + interim

(3)       winter – care x  summer + rare = ♀ + ♂ x  ☼ ³  ÷  π

 

Course Description

Shakespeare:  Non-dramatic Verse (ENG 619).  In this senior seminar emphasizing Shakespeare’s lyric production, we’ll focus exclusively and intensively on Sonnet 56, which perfectly displays the great poet’s vulnerability and craft.  Using a variety of critical approaches, from the Marxist and Feminist to Deconstruction, Gender Studies, and Queer Theory, we will examine the poem’s palimpsestic structures of meaning. Was Shakespeare intimate with the reckless Lord Southampton, who funded construction of the Globe Theater?  When love’s summer comes to winter, what season of love renews it?  Course requirements include a fifty-page seminar paper employing at least two of the above critical schemes.  Formalist readings are disallowed.  All papers and class discussions must relate to the historic collapse of dominant systems of sense making in the post-Soviet period.  Prerequisites:  English Composition 1 and II or concurrent enrollment in those classes.

 

Ballad

Sweet love, where did you go today?
Did you go to the wood alone
Or dance in town with another man?
I think I’m turning to stone.

I have been to the wood alone, said she,
My heart is sharp for you.
I have no appetite, no edge for another.
I am only and always true.

A little love keeps us hungry, said he,
We eat ‘til our eyes are closed.
We are blind in our dreams and in love,
We eat love down to the bone.

You’re mine for a day and forever, said she.
We never kill love with dullness.
Our love has no fences, no ocean between us
Love is our promise, our fullness.

I will go to the wood to find you, said he,
There will be no pause in us
But a deep, shining, unending river,
A lasting trust, a promise.

Love, come as you are to the window.
Our winter, so full of care,
Withdraws to the heart’s last edge.
Let’s see how summer fares.

 

Celan

Sweet not-said blunt-edge
appetite sharpened.
Sharp hungry eyes have it,
swing low through stone,
temporal weather.

No fullness in the interim-ocean.
Pricked dullness, contracted shore.
Winter’s half-said, summer over.

When love returns, the dark is ready.