Tuesday, 25 November 2014

How to Mess with Perfection - A Sonnet

The prompt at Poetry Jam this week is “How to”.  I had been working on a sonnet parody of William Shakespeare’s My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun (Love Sonnet 130) for quite some time and seized on the prompt as an incentive to finish the piece off – my “take” on the prompt being:  How to Mess with Perfection.

Love Sonnet 130 features prominently on virtually any list of top Sonnets, Romantic Verses and Humorous Poems (often placing first) and, although Shakespeare published 154 sonnets, Sonnet 130 is one of a very few that have entered deeply into the consciousness of our culture.   For many, William Shakespeare, is the greatest writer the English language has ever known.  But, never let it be said:  I don’t enjoy a challenge.  If Shakespeare could turn the less than enchanting characteristics of his mistress into a love poem, could a woman (centuries later) take a, seemingly, unendearing quality in a man (such as snoring) and do likewise.  (The idea:  that one can grow to miss snoring – when it stops – came to me from a woman who had recently lost her husband, a snorer, of many years.)

And so, without further ado (the etymology, of which, I gather, comes to us via Mr. Shakespeare’s Play “Much Ado About Nothing”) I give you:

My lover sleeps as placid as a cloud 

My lover sleeps as placid as a cloud 
That floats white, round steam engine locomotion. 
To say, his snore cacophony is loud 
Would underplay the scale of the commotion. 
A buzz saw, by comparison, sounds swell 
And kinder, I’ve no doubt, on jagged nerve 
Than the “snuffle-snort-wheeze-splutter-whistle” hell 
A bug upon the earth does not deserve. 
But, sure as stars in heaven, it would seem 
The nightly song, is fated to persist; 
And blast the sound effects on every dream 
So that I wonder if it might be missed.  
     He breaths, he lives and so I let him be
     For he is all the joy on earth, to me.

 note:  (by way of refresher) 

My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun (Sonnet 130)

My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun
Coral is far more red than her lips’ red;
If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;
If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.
I have seen roses damasked, red and white,
But no such roses see I in her cheeks;
And in some perfumes is there more delight
Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.

I love to hear her speak, yet well I know
That music hath a far more pleasing sound; 
I grant I never saw a goddess go; 
My mistress when she walks treads on the ground.
     And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare
     As any she belied with false compare.
photo:  Steam Engine Coming Through - W. Bourke

© 2014 Wendy Bourke


  1. aha.............to cherish everything of a lover for he is our world!

  2. Oh I love this. I wonder why love poems always lack that physical annoying things of reality.. snoring is so real, and can yet make anyone go insane.... indeed.. Nothing's better than a parody...

  3. Oh dear - you deserve a good nights sleep I think.

  4. "The nightly song, is fated to persist"...LOL!!...thanks for the hearty laugh Wendy..an awesome attempt and grandly successful :D

  5. Wendy, I enjoyed your sonnet and its progression from 'as placid as a cloud' to 'a buzz saw by comparison sounds well.' Smiles. I think your ending says it all though...despite the irritations of the snoring he is living and loving and bringing joy to those in his midst!

  6. This is very clever and very powerful, Wendy. I have no doubt that when we lose someone we love we can miss some of the things that irritated us when they were alive.

  7. Wendy,

    The snoring can be such an annoyance...But then too can loneliness and the absence..


  8. nice one!!! there is yin and yang in that perfect partner

    much love...

  9. A wonderful love song!

    Thanks for coming by to visit.

  10. ha. nice...yes, count your blessings...the snoring lets you know he is living..and i am sure there are so many more blessings he brings...and ear plugs are pretty cheap as well..hahah

  11. Nicely expressed :)
    Snoring is no laughing matter, rather serious...
    Snoring is called 'sheet music'
    Can be very disturbing for the partner...

  12. Snoring makes the presence felt. Had a great smile reading it :)

  13. Ha ha! Good one Wendy. Loved the parody.

  14. Oh you made me smile. I love it!