The Subject of Shakespeare's Eighteenth Love Sonnet


Copyright 2003 Athalia.

All those numerous declarations

Of the bard's undying love

Had to come from some inspiration

A name unspoken out of embarrassment and fear.

Who was the woman in the eighteenth sonnet?

Burdened with the constant responsibility

Of being more lovely and temperate

Than a fine summer's day.

Sometimes I pretend it's me

The subject of those 18 lines,

In some former life in the sixteenth century

Oblivious to the role I'm playing in poetry.

I'm sitting on the edge of an old stone well,

Holding a rose between my fingers,

A simple dress cascading over

My bare, dirty peasant's feet.

But in my heart I know it wasn't me there,

When the rough winds shook the darling buds of May.

The stream of inspiration that never ran dry,

The eternal summer that never faded.

And she is still alive in the world's imagination,

A pretty face without a name,

Still sitting on the edge of an old stone well,

Still holding a rose between her fingers,

And still pondering whether or not to give her love

To a strange bald man in tights.

Disclaimer: Shakespeare owns Shakespeare's eighteenth love .