The unvoiced thoughts and ideas of a septegenarian.


on February 20, 2012



I had the good fortune this year to meet a retired professor of the classics. Insatiably curious creature that I am, I asked if he would be willing to teach me something – his choice. The result was that each morning I rose,  selected one of Shakespeare’s sonnets, paraphrased it and sent it to him for his corrections or comments.  Those comments often included references to Greek history and the philosophies of Plato, Socrates and others, as well as ancient Greek history. We continued this exercise until all 154 sonnets had been done.  I knew little of Shakespeare before starting this ‘adult education’  class.  Now I feel as though I’d just sat at the feet of a brilliant scholar and been introduced to him in depth


These writings reflect both the  appreciation and frustration I felt engaged in this activity.



Two friends embarked on a journey.

One clothed in knowledge and insight,

The other bereft of such assets

Sought to find meaning in words eternal

Together have they essayed the worth

Enjoyed rewards that wrap the soul

In beauty, insight, understanding,

So did they gain the truth second hand,

That emotion enhanced by skill

Enticingly encourages, without demand,

By its own nature, that they also strive

By paltry imitation to impart

The wish to keep the spark alive

Within each reader’s mind and heart.

And so I say a gain so great

Leaves little more to ask.




Why sits he in the lap of illusion

Hangs on tight to faulty delusion

Thinks I understand in profusion

What for me is a heap of confusion.

I’ll make sense of it yet, on that you can bet.

It’s my goal to know Shakespeare, my will to know Will

Free from meter and rhyme, all in good time.

Trochees, iams and spongees be damned.



Of no great meaning, import or insight

I write to amuse you my lord.
I tremble when facing meter I must,

My knees become weak hearing mimesis.

My eyes cloud over in front of spondee,

Say  my tribrach is weak and I tremble.

I’ll close my ears at sestet and trochee,

Don’t ask me to set my words in a vise,

No more can I take, of  structure in verse,

Say Pindraic once more, I’m out the door,

Can’t say what I mean

Without  scheme any more.

This is no sonnet, that I can’t do,

Switch to Ogden of Nash

For it’s the homey things,

The come running friendly things,

I understand and can cash.


Julie Rose



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