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The Sonnets (1592-1595)


The red glow of a manuscript in the fire,
red waves erasing everyone and everything
I’ve written on the page, stirring the embers,


restive, the ash drifts upward, as if life
was a riddle that must be puzzled out,
the way my face floats in a mirror


dreaming of things I’ve since forgotten,
not remembering what I was other than the writing,
the hills silvered-over, yellowed fields, the sun


reduced to an amethyst hung around my neck.
But to wear this world out to the end. Nothing
stands to the scythe as I do now.




[Excerpt from The Shakespeare Poems.]