Yes, poem #45 - due to some glitch over at egroups Poem #44 didn't get out, but, as the poet put it, be patiently, brothers and sisters [renumbered -- sitaram]. Also, I didn't have any particular theme this week, so don't bother looking :)
(Poem #44) My Mistress' Eyes are Nothing Like the Sun (Sonnets CXXX)
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 damask'd, 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.
Shakespeare is widely considered the undisputed master of the sonnet form, and while he has written better sonnets than 'My Mistress' Eyes', this one is particularly interesting for the twist it applies to the usual love poem. It is somewhat reminiscent of the self-consciously clever devices the metaphysical poets were employing at around the same time, but IMHO rings far truer (I'm admittedly biased here; I like Shakespeare much more than I do the metaphysical lot). Somewhat surprisingly, for people who have been conditioned to think of Shakespeare as 'difficult' or 'inaccessible', most of his sonnets are both easy and rewarding to read. A few snippets of background info for this one: reek: Of smoke, vapour, perfume, etc.: To be emitted or exhaled; to rise, emanate. Obs. [rather than the modern meaning, to stink] 'if hairs be wires': Ladies' hair was often compared to golden wire in Elizabethan poetry. The form is, of course, the Elizabethan, or somewhat self-definitively 'Shakespearean' ababcdcdefefgg.  William Shakespeare (1564-1616), John Donne (1572-1631) for example, but I don't really know influenced either of them were by the other. m.