Timothy Adès : Poet and Translator

You are here: Poetry TranslationsLipograms › Lipograms from Stratford–on–Avon

Lipograms from Stratford–on–Avon

by Timothy Adès

by a glorious Bard

Let’s see whether he needed the letter e

XVIII  Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
           Thou art more lovely and more temperate:

Comparing you with a day possibly in July or August

I’ll put you up against a balmy day…
You win on looks. Not cold, and not too warm.
Winds cut up rough with darling buds of May;
A two–month contract can’t supply much balm.
Dog–days in August turn to burning hot,
Or may contrarily grow all too dim;
And all fair fowls fall foul of you–know–what,
Thrown by bad luck, or sunspots, out of trim.
But your hot days will last and last and last,
Maintaining tiptop form with full control;
Nor shall morticians brag of shadows cast
Across your path. My words shall grow your soul.
     Humans may gasp and gawp, unstoppably:
     I sign this gift, your immortality.

This was published in Acumen.

XXX  When to the sessions of sweet silent thought
          I summon up remembrance of things past,

Writing Off Past Pains

Now and again I sit in soundproof thought
And summon up (Proust’s parrot–cry) things past:
I sigh for lack of many things I sought:
Updating pains, I mourn for hours I lost.
I flood my thirsty ducts, that drown forlorn,
For staunch amigos hid in mortal night,
And cry for sorrows long ago outworn,
And moan my loss of many a long–lost sight.
I’m sad at what was sad, though now it’s not,
Start listing pains untold and pains unsaid,
Accounting still for many a sold–off lot,
And pay again, as if I hadn’t paid.
     But oh, mio caro, if I think of you,
     All loss is null and void, all sorrow too.

I  From fairest creatures we desire increase,
   That thereby beauty’s rose might never die,

With Your Good Looks, What About a Child?

Good–looking folk and animals should pup,
Immortalising rosy–blooming glory.
Maturing, I’ll pass on, I’ll go paunch–up,
And my young sprog will carry on my story;
But you contract your troth with inward look,
Nourish your glow with autophagic food,
Drying to scarcity your bounty’s brook,
Your own worst hitman, doing harm, not good.
What! You, this world’s outstanding work of art,
You, proclamation of a coming Spring,
Bury in your own bud your major part,
Wasting good stuff, soft churl, by niggarding!
     For our world’s good, nor tomb nor gluttony
     Should scoff this birthright of humanity.

CXXX  My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun;
             Coral is far more red than her lips’ red:

(1) A Gallant Comparison

My lady’s orbs can’t match two Suns at noon;
Coral, too ruddy, trumps my lady’s lip;
Snow shows my lady’s bosom slushy–brown;
Black wiry hairs top out my ladyship;
Carnations, snow or crimson, don’t abound
Around my lady’s physiognomy;
As for aromas, it was always found,
My lady’s just unsatisfactory;
Though to my lady’s larynx I’m in thrall,
It falls a long way short of musical;
Gods of Olympus probably walk tall;
My lady’s gait’s not astro–magical.
     Don’t worry, though: my girl can still surpass
     Any too crassly sold and broadcast lass.

(2) Perfect? Er — She’s Even Better

Her eyes resemble less the fervent sphere;
Her teeth: red–fretted? Redder the jewelled reef;
Steel nets, her tresses; stressed, her temples. Sere
December freezes: where’s the resplendent beef?
We’ve seen red setters, seen the egret’s vest,
Yet egret–sheen ne’er blenched her redless cheeks;
We scented Estée’s scent, then we regressed:
We smelled her scent, reeled senseless! Yes, she reeks!
Her speech refreshes me; nevertheless
Glees, even sennets, fetch me even better;
We’ve never seen the fleet feet *des déesses:
Well, when she steps, the pebbled weeds beset her.
     Yet, yet, meseems, †mehercle! she’s the best:
     The rest get bent creds: she exceeds the rest.

*French: des êtres célestes.
†See Terence, when rednecks express themselves.

Content: copyright © Timothy Adès 2010–2017; all rights reserved

Website designed and hosted by Lab 99 Web Design