I love sonnets. Intricately constructed, carefully argued, neatly written. There's something very pleasing in the form of a sonnet.
I like teaching sonnets too. In my first-year classes at the university at the Beautiful Scottish City that I Miss, I asked students to find a sonnet and bring it with them to the tutorial. I told them Shakespeare wasn't allowed though - that's too easy to find. We could then talk about the sonnet form in relation to poems that they chose ("See, it doesn't just work with sonnets I pick; we can talk about the use of the sonnet structure in all sonnets..."). It's surprising how few times two students brought the same one, and I now know of some beautiful sonnets that I wouldn't otherwise have read.
This week I'm teaching Shakespeare's sonnets. I'd forgotten how much I like them. Here is one of my favourites. Enjoy!
When my love swears that she is made of truth,
I do believe her, though I know she lies,
That she might think me some untutored youth
Unlearned in the world's false subtleties.
Thus vainly thinking that she thinks me young,
Although she knows my days are past the best,
Simply I credit her false-speaking tongue;
On both sides thus is simple truth suppressed.
But wherefore says she not she is unjust?
And wherefore say not I that I am old?
O love's best habit is in seeming trust,
And age in love loves not t'have years told:
Therefore I lie with her, and she with me,
And in our faults by lies we flattered be.