This year to celebrate National Poetry Month and to take part in the April A-Z Blogging Challenge, I’ll be posting two poems a day, one written by me and another poem written by one of my favourite poets. The title or first word of both poems will begin with the corresponding letter in the Blogging Challenge.
Today I offer you one of Shakespeare’s most irreverent sonnets, My Mistress’ Eyes are Nothing Like the Sun (Sonnet 130) and another irreverent sonnet by Luccia Gray, My Master’s Eyes Are Nothing Like the Sun.
I hope you enjoy!
My Mistress’ Eyes Are Nothing Like The Sun (Sonnet 130) by William Shakespeare (1564 – 1616).
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.
I love this sonnet. It’s one of my favourites for two reasons. Firstly, I admire Shakespeare’s lack of conventionalism or snobbery, and his use of typical metaphors against themselves. In this case, he parodies conventional love sonnets made popular by Petrarch, and written by his contemporaries, such as Sidney, which idealised their love interest.
Secondly, I love the way he presents a flawed and imperfect woman as his mistress. He says, ‘you’re not perfect, you’re not a goddess, but who cares, I love you because you’re real and in spite of your imperfections.’ Well said!
My sonnet also presents an imperfect lover, although in this case he’s male.
It also has a light and mocking tone, poking fun at celebrities and those who imitate them.
My Master’s Eyes
My master’s eyes are nothing like the sun,
They’re black as coal, deep and often wary.
If hairs be messy, then he has almost none,
If skin be soft and smooth, his is hairy.
I’ve seen George Clooney dressed up in a tux,
Brad Pitt prefers Channel scents, it would seem,
But he smells like showers and a touch of musk,
And he looks his best in navy blue jeans.
I love to watch his lips while he’s talking,
Although his voice is gruff and sometimes raw.
I never saw David Beckham walking,
But my master, when he walks, treads on the floor,
And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare,
As any superstar you can compare.
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