Winners announced here!

Write a short poem that begins with one line from any Shakespeare play or poem. The poem should be two to four lines in length. Post it in the comments section below under your full name and general area of residence (“Bob Smith, Denver, Colorado”). Two entries allowed per poet.

When: Now until June 24, 2019 midnight EST. Winners Announced July 1, 2019.

Who: Anyone in the world, any age or background, may participate. From within the Society, anyone, including Advisory Board Members, not involved in judging the contest may participate. (If you are outside the United States, you will have to have a PayPal account or a bank that accepts U.S. checks to receive the prize money if you win.)

Prize: $100. You will also win this William Shakespeare pen donated by Joe Tessitore of New York City.

Judge: Advisory Board Members and selected poets.

Entry Fee: None

Examples: Our first example and the idea for this contest comes from Mr. Tessitore, who came up with this contest. Thank you, Joe!


In the Toilet

Brevity is the soul of wit,
yet on my brains I choose to sit,
long-winded, (here a pun, methinks!).
Small wonder, then, such humor stinks!



NOTE TO READERS: If you enjoyed this poem or other content, please consider making a donation to the Society of Classical Poets.

The Society of Classical Poets does not endorse any views expressed in individual poems or comments.

CODEC Stories:

148 Responses

  1. T.M. Moore, Vermont

    Your Pleasure My Delight

    (Sonnet 65)

    That in black ink my love may still shine bright,
    I keep revising, till I get it right.
    Then, meekly, I my verse to you recite:
    Your pleasure brings me no end of delight.

    • Yomna

      Brevity is the soul of wit
      Recite those that could not admit
      I said, that have no wit nor time
      To contrive a more eloquent rhyme

      And thus I spent my nights sleepless
      To hoard up all my wittiness
      And that I failed I may admit
      That brevity is the soul of wit

      And many after me will try
      To collect all the wit under the sky
      To find out that wit can be
      Only achieved through brevity

  2. T. M. Moore, Vermont

    For Susie, My Editor

    The lady doth protest too much, methinks:
    “Fix this, change that, delete this line entire.”
    My pride is wounded, and my spirit sinks,
    until I read, “Ah, this part lights my fire!”

    • Bolaji S. Ramos

      Bolaji S. Ramos, Lagos (Nigeria)

      My Sleeping Mistress

      My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun,
      Sealed by Morpheus, and now wait I must
      For this dreadful dusk to return her fun,
      That again we may row our boat of lust.

    • Doug Schoppert

      A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse
      That is of course unless the horse
      Is the famous Mr. Ed

  3. Dusty Grein, Oregon

    Time to Get a Dog

    What light through yonder window breaks,
    still hours yet, ’til day begins?
    I spring from bed, now wide awake,
    and catch my daughter, sneaking in!

    • Mohammed Shahzeb Amjad

      You write good ones. The meter you use is very characteristic of Shakespeare, as is the suspense you build, until the last line where the crux of the stanza is revealed.

  4. Peter Hartley

    To be or not to be that? is the question.
    The answer depends on what ‘that’ is.
    If that’s an improper suggestion
    I’m ever so pleased that it’s his.

    • Peter Hartley

      To be or not? To be ‘that’ is the question,
      Not to be or not, but to be that,
      To be sick and to have indigestion,
      I’d rather be this than have that.

  5. James A. Tweedie

    As an Advisory Board Member I’m probably disqualified, but I couldn’t resist the temptation to submit something, anyway. From Richard III, V. IV:

    “A horse! A horse! My kingdom for a horse!”
    Th’embattled, desperate King Richard said.
    A nearby steed replied, “I’ll help, of course!”
    And there he stood, the famous Mr. Ed!

  6. James A. Tweedie

    Richard III, V. III

    “Call up Lord Stanley, bid him bring his power.”
    The playoffs are pro hockey’s finest hour.
    Which team will win his cup? Which three will lose?
    The Hurricanes, the Bruins, Sharks or Blues?

    • Peter Hartley

      (As my third submission this one doesn’t count and it doesn’t conform with the instructions anyway:)

      Thrfr snce brvty’s the sl of wt
      I’ll kp ths shrt ‘nd swt

  7. Rajendra Singh Baisthakur

    Brevity is the soul of wit
    Pity many don’t have it.

  8. Kim Cherub

    Brevity is the soul of wit,
    Yet free verse is so long-winded!
    Perhaps it should be cut back a bit,
    Or better yet, rescinded.

  9. Mae Leslie

    Poems written by Mae Leslie, Houston, TX

    Listen Silently

    Give every man thy ear, but not thy voice.
    (That is, if you have a choice.)
    When a situation might turn violent,
    is it best to stay silent?

    Stage Fright

    All the world’s a stage;
    we’re actors without a wage.
    We miss cues and bray,
    some lines we can’t bear to say.

  10. Kim Cherub

    “Why am I a fool?”
    The liberal asked his tool.
    “Because you too grow erect
    Whenever your lusts rise, unchecked!”

  11. Alexander Ream

    Now is the winter of our discontent,
    And I don’t like yours; away from my tent,
    For mine is more pure, mine’s more unique:
    Immune to a cure, abstruse and oblique.

    Gloucester, from Richard III

  12. Joe Tessitore, NYC

    True Love

    What light through yonder window breaks?
    From deepest sleep, true love awakes.
    The coldest hour is put to flight
    and vanquished is the darkest night.

  13. Alex Andy Phuong

    Alex Andy Phuong, Alhambra, CA

    “Signifying Nothing”
    Existentialism is like pessimism
    And nihilism is like cynicism
    Be more like Pollyanna instead of Macbeth
    And enjoy life until the very last breath

    “All That Glitters is Not Gold”
    Gold might be as yellow as the sun
    But being wealthy is not always fun
    Treasure food and eat instead
    Or else those who do not eat will be surely dead

      • Alex Andy Phuong

        Hi Esther

        “Signifying Nothing” comes from a soliloquy in Macbeth in which Macbeth says that life is meaningless in Act V of the play.

        “All that glitters is not gold” comes from a line found in The Merchant of Venice.

        Thank you for asking!

        Best wishes,
        Alex Phuong

      • Alex Andy Phuong

        Hi Esther,

        I honestly think that I misunderstood the instructions for this contest.

        The titles of my poems, “Signifying Nothing” and “All That Glitters is Not Gold” both come from Shakespeare.

        The lines that follow (4 lines each) are my own original writing.

        I apologize if I entered this competition incorrectly.

        Thank you!

        Alex Andy Phuong

  14. Rohini

    “Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow”
    I shall return the money that I borrow
    This, for aye, has been the charlatan’s old song
    For what he takes, he’ll not return for long.

  15. David Watt

    David Watt, Canberra, Australia

    Love and Listen

    Love alters not with his brief hour and weeks,
    And works for introverts, as well as geeks,
    Who may not say a lot … but when they do!
    Each word of passion resonates as true.

  16. Susan J Bryant, Texas Gulf Coast

    Play On

    If music be the food of love,
    go blow scorned horn at flirtle dove
    and blast a brassy raspberry feast
    to hex the dish of rakish beast.

  17. Mike Bryant, Texas Gulf Coast


    Listen to many, speak to a few,
    Grok all around you, see only one,
    Seek ye the reason, glistening pure,
    The light in your heaven, She is your Sun.

  18. Michael Allard

    A Better Time for Camping

    Now is the Winter of our Discontent,
    Not the time to set up your tent.
    If you want to enjoy a pleasant breeze,
    As you settle yourself beneath the trees,
    The summery sun of York you’ll find
    Is much more settling to the mind.

  19. Susan J Bryant


    OUT, damn Spot! OUT, I say!
    Pee on parquet – thou shalt pay!

  20. Michael Allard

    Rap Master Brutus

    I came to bury Caesar, not to praise him
    I’m gonna fiddle and faddle and then I’ll daze him
    He’ll be lost in my rhymes and when I’m through
    He’s gonna look around and say ‘Et tu?’

  21. Mike Bryant

    Global Warming?

    Now is the winter of our discontent,
    Where is the heat? Methinks ‘tis spent!

  22. Jarek

    Jarek Zawadzki, Gliwce, Poland

    So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
    So long there’s nothing you can get for free.

    • Frank De Canio

      Sorry, I wasn’t writing a poem beginning with a Shakespeare line. I thought I was commenting on the poem written by Joe Tessitore of New York City,

  23. Joe Falocco - Texas

    He smote the sledded Polacks on the ice.
    Because the sledded Polacks were not nice.
    He cut off their heads.
    And they fell of their sleds.
    “Should have quite while ahead”’s my advice.

  24. Dan Blackston, Illinois.

    In purity of manhood stand upright
    to defend flag, country, and friends.
    In pride of motherhood give love and light
    to our children on whom the future depends.

  25. Dan Blackston, Illinois.

    We are such stuff as dreams are made on, rounded with a little sleep,
    and yet every day I have a schedule and a job to keep!

  26. Nancy Weber

    When I consider everything that grows
    Jack’s stalk apposes Pinocchio’s nose.

  27. Thomas Switzer

    “Now, gods stand up for bastards!”/
    Make hearts -weak and shattered-
    Strong and mended. Let us rise/
    Above our curs’ed lives… /
    Dust off the shadow of the night,/
    And bathe us in the purest light!

  28. Sathyanarayana M.V. S

    The chaste palate of love, O’ Cupid, know
    Thee not…in breathless moans, true joy is gone!
    O’ angel of love, tune thy sweet cello…
    If music be the feed of love, play on!

  29. Martin Rizley

    “Our little life is rounded with a sleep,”
    Framed by enigmas fathomlessly deep,
    Like, “Why do socks from washers disappear?”
    Or, “Why would folks vote Democrat next year?”
    While Hindus ponder how atman is Brahma,
    I ask how people chose that man Obama!

  30. Tony Leo Damigo, Crestview, Florida

    Once more unto the breach.
    Of mice and men who boast and preach,
    and promise lies beyond their reach.
    A foul against free speech!

    Go thou, and fill another room in hell,
    reserved for politicians there to dwell.
    Those who’s nature, like sick pigs, spew their swill.
    And spread their lies to news-room spies, to spill.

  31. Martin Rizley

    2B or not 2B, that is the question
    The driver faced upon his wife´s suggestion
    That in the mall´s garage, he´d lost his way,
    and needed to ascend to level “A.”

    • Monty

      Quality, Martin.
      That’d get my vote just for sheer innovation and imagination.

  32. Monty

    Monty Phillips . . France.

    Not age, but sorrow, over me hath power.
    What sorrow? That this new age seems to’ve decreed
    That Verse be ‘free’; and will henceforth endower
    Future ages with notions that Verse be ‘freed’.

  33. Nancy Weber

    He that knows better how to tame a shrew,
    May have his hashtag settled by MeToo.

  34. David Watt

    David Watt, Canberra, Australia

    Bewitching Bread

    “The wheel is come full circle: I am here.”
    Said Hansel, lacking any trace of fear.
    “The bread was just too good to waste for crumbs;
    We’ll enter the first candy house which comes.”

  35. Keltie-Kewan Young

    Keltie-Kewan Young, Auckland, New Zealand

    “In the sea of green”
    In the sea of green a Little tree sprouts
    Breath of air flowing, surviving and flourishing
    The course of true love never did run smooth
    A quiet snaps in the sea of green.

    “The symphony”
    The harsh sun above can only speckle through the wall of leaves
    For One touch of nature makes the whole world kin
    While Trees sway through notes of wilted leaves fall like music
    A symphony we may never halt.

  36. Keltie-Kewan Young

    Keltie-Kewan Young, Auckland, New Zealand

    “In the sea of green”
    In the sea of green a Little tree sprouts
    Breath of air flowing, surviving yet perishing
    For “The course of true love never did run smooth”
    A quiet snaps in the sea of green.

    “The symphony”
    The harsh sun above can only speckle through the wall of leaves
    Yet only “One touch of nature makes the whole world kin”
    While Trees sway through notes of wilted leaves fall like music
    A symphony we may never halt.

  37. Keltie-Kewan Young

    Keltie-Kewan Young, Auckland, New Zealand

    “In the sea of green”
    In the sea of green a Small tree sprouts
    A Breath of air flowing, surviving yet perishing
    For “The course of true love never did run smooth”
    A quiet branch snaps in the sea of green.

    “The symphony”
    The harsh sun above can only speckle through the wall of leaves
    Yet only “One touch of nature makes the whole world kin”
    While Trees sway through notes of wilted leaves fall like music
    A symphony we may never halt.

  38. Ben Berg

    Burnaby, BC, Canada

    “A Trove, by any Other Name”

    My bounty is as boundless as the sea,
    The world’s treasure thou art, in time, for me
    To find, through seven tides, through gale and breeze —
    My love, an ‘X’ shalt I mark down for thee.

  39. Sheila Phalon

    She is spherical like a globe
    And empirical and bold
    Shall truth be told
    She is gold

    • Nancy Weber

      Sweet economy in its retort to Dromio’s
      anti-Irish (inter alia) sentiment.

  40. Avery Miller

    By Avery Miller, USA

    Who wakes me from my flowery bed
    With funny face and downy head?
    No changeling of a fairy curse,
    But my dear baby come to nurse.

  41. Christina Lang

    Christina Lang, Temecula, California

    For My Love

    Love is a spirit all compact of fire.
    Tell me, my love, what is thy desire?
    For mine is to give all that you ask,
    No request too grand or too great a task.

  42. Beatriz Martos

    to be or not to be?, that is the question…
    i fall into disgrace not knowing my destiny or fate
    will the arrow pierce my open heart or will i soar above
    this charred and chastened plight
    tis better not to think too deep and wait upon god’s grace I reap

  43. Rob Crisell

    Rob Crisell, Temecula, CA

    Past All Surgery

    Those are pearls that were his eyes;
    His knees, of pure titanium;
    Of steel do his hips comprise;
    But clay fills up his cranium.

    To the Invisible Spirit of Wine

    But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks?
    It is the vengeful morn which flings bright bolts,
    Enpiercing bloodshot eyes. My head – it aches!
    Once more the devil wine ‘gainst me revolts.

  44. Gregory Spicer

    Evaporates with the combustion of cannabis.

  45. J. Ryder

    Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
    Thy breath more sweet than the summer’s breeze is,
    The flow’rs, of summer to lilac blooms sway
    Whilst all the world’s lips wish to thy rose kiss.

  46. J. Ryder

    Like as the waves make towards the pebbled shore,
    So too dost my blood like an ocean surge,
    My heart,–(happy tide), twice daily doth soar
    Sweet thought when eyes thirsty on beauty splurge.

  47. K. Wise


    This wins him, liver and all.
    Takes him to the bathroom stall.
    His pants unzipped, his colors fly.
    Being drunk is better than dry.

  48. K. Wise


    O, full of scorpions is my mind!
    Their pincers on my cerebellar side.
    They cannot let my thalamus go.
    Neural stimulation evermore.

  49. Monty

    Monty Phillips . . . France

    To make the weeper laugh, the laugher weep . .
    Would seem, at first, a hopeless thing to try.
    But it can be achieved in just one sweep;
    A tragicomedy to wet the eye.

  50. Kathleen Farrell


    “For beauty lives with kindness”
    Hear ye now! Let praises ring
    for magic in the early spring,
    and, dwell again with gentleness.

  51. Sally Cook

    Sally Cook — Western New York

    Joan’s Dilemma

    While greasy Joan doth keel the pot,
    I doubt she wants to do a lot
    Of keeling to a boiling pot
    For, if too cold, who’ll eat a lot?

    • Sally Cook

      This line from Love’s Labour’s Lost, Act V, Scene 2 – Winter

  52. Sally Cook

    Sally Cook – Western New York

    New Politics

    O brave new world, that has such people in’t! —
    Who shout and scream, have tantrums, and then spin’t —
    Think this the way to change that crucial minute.
    Just can’t get over that they didn’t win’t,

  53. Theresa Rodriguez

    Tomorrow? and tomorrow? and tomorrow?
    This worry-fretting fear, when will it end?
    Oh, what will happen to me? Joy, or sorrow?
    Anxiety has never been my friend!

  54. Bruce Wren

    Shakespeare Overweight

    Though Rome in Tiber melt, and the wide arch
    Of the ranged empire fall,
    This bulge upon my belt, in its demarche
    Proves an impregnable wall.

    • Bruce E. Wren

      A Shakespearean Problem Solved

      When in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes,
      I turn for solace to a sweet girl’s sighs.

      Bruce Wren, Chicago, Illinois

  55. Rachel

    Physics > Metaphorical Language

    “O, were mine eyeballs into bullets turn’d!”
    ‘Tis the most metal thing that one could say.
    Consider, though, that eyeballs are not metal
    And rather squish than shoot amid a fray.

    A Daughter, Ravished

    “Die, die, Lavinia, and thy shame with thee.”
    O, my shame died when they who raped me died;
    My father’s shame could not die while I lived.
    He wrote in me his shame and burned the book.

    Rachel Kohler, Corvallis, Oregon

  56. Lucia Llano

    Lucy- West Texas

    “Thus with a kiss I die”
    I drowned in blooming roses and soft lips
    But how dare I forget that those roses have thorns, and those lips have teeth.

    • Lucia Llano

      I’m sorry! ^ This one was an accident, I sent it too soon.

  57. Lucia Llano

    “Thus with a kiss I die…”
    Swimming in blooming roses and strawberry lips
    Drowning—How dare I forget that those roses have thorns and those lips have teeth.

  58. Lucia Llano

    “My tongue-tied Muse in manners holds her still”
    For I no longer remember who I write these love poems to
    But I hold my breath, bite my tongue, and write her some daffodils

    -Lucy, West Texas

  59. Caleb Hardy

    I didn’t read the instructions carefully I just wrote a poem based on a
    Shakespeare line.

    Now I have seen the lights of foreign ports —
    Strange constellations to my wondering eyes —
    And gazed on glittering golden royal courts,
    Bright mirrors of the sun beneath the skies.

    And in the warmth of homes in frozen lands,
    By glowing hearth fires I have broken bread,
    And in the northern sky I’ve seen the dance
    That living flames in strange wild measures tread.

    But giving sweeter pleasure than them all
    A comforter for travelers in the night
    Now comes to meet me with her welcome call —
    “That light we see is burning in my hall.”

  60. Caleb Hardy

    The quotes are there only to show where the Shakespeare line is.

  61. Frank De Canio

    A woman moved, is like a fountain troubled,
    but one that’s not will quench our thirst
    like waters from the Pierian Spring,
    wherefrom our wisdom’s nursed.

  62. Frank De Canio

    Today we put forth tender leaves of hope,
    but hence a convocation of politic worms
    will pompously start nibbling at our scope,
    till we submit to its voracious terms.

  63. Sophie Zhu, San Jose, California

    Fire, Bright

    Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury
    If that’s life, well! I can’t find it in me to worry
    Burn out! Yes, bravo! What a masterpiece of fate!
    Hand me that knife! I’ll show you just how bright I bleed

  64. Sophie Zhu, San Jose, California

    Golden Rule

    And chastise with the valor of my tongue
    I will, for you have left your mind behind,
    By all the stars, we are queens!
    Destined to reign, destined to rule

  65. A. Lincoln

    Fortune forbid my outside hath not charmed her

    In her fragile mind my glowing look doth speak
    to her and her alone.

    Yet were I were to him, as she wishes to be for me!

  66. A. Lincoln

    God has given you one face, and you make yourself another.

    Did you think He would approve?

    Your altered declaration
    Is so far from His creation.

  67. Ben Berg

    Burnaby, BC, Canada

    “Mistress’ Eyes,” a Haiku

    My mistress’ eyes are
    Nothing like the sun, for they
    Shine through dark of night


    When forty winters shall besiege thy brow
    And mirror image doth shame thou gaze
    In youthful splendor lieth old age now
    Thine beauty’s treasure bereft of praise


    Cupid laid by his brand and fell asleep:
    His love-kindling fire I trieth to keep
    I, sick withal, sought
    And thither findith another creep

  70. Rebecca P Jessup

    With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come –
    Or lacking mirth, at least no days too glum.
    Old wrinkles have I plenty, more’s the shame.
    Glad days or glum, the wrinkles always came.

    Rebecca Jessup
    Belfast, Maine

    • Rebecca P Jessup

      “With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come” is from Merchant of Venice.

  71. Claire Zhu, Bay Area, CA

    Tis’ but a scratch
    The continuum of time and space is yet safe
    O’er there! Tis’ a butterfly, one I wish to catch
    Oh no! A plague o’ both our futures!

  72. Claire Zhu, Bay Area, CA

    To weep is to make less the depth of grief
    Petty tears wasted on a falsehood
    Ornamental stars abbreviating
    the infinity of an unrelenting black night





  75. Devatrai Jha


    In black ink my love may still shine bright
    For though feelings pour out of the vial of words
    In my inkpot, my quill stirrs the beauty of night
    As the moon’s crescendo sings of thy ethereal face

  76. Devatrai Jha


    The lunatic, the lover and the poet
    All speak of the same crime:
    If thou hath not lived the moment
    Thou shall wilt like a rose under societal paradigm

  77. Martin Hill Ortiz

    Martin Hill Ortiz, Ponce, PR

    The Quintessence of Dust and Pepperoni

    O! That this too solid flesh would melt!
    So that I, again, might fit this belt.
    Nay, I yearn to yield to pizzas hot:
    I will happy be and healthy, not.

  78. Martin Hill Ortiz

    Martin Hill Ortiz, Ponce, PR

    All That Glitters Is Not Gold’s Gym

    To take arms against a sea of troubles,
    Free from here, I’ll brave a bracing swim.
    Sigh! With weary grunts, my sweating doubles:
    I am trapped inside a stench-filled gym.

  79. Azra Mahisa

    My love as deep; the more I give thee
    Precious as the light; as pure as thou love can be
    The sun, the moon, the heaven; all can see
    That you are a god’s gift sent only to me

  80. Rebecca Jessup

    As I do live by food, I met a fool–
    who never did learn anything in school,
    but still pretends to rule the world entire,
    the bloviating, greedy, fat, old liar!

    (First line from As You Like It.)

  81. Rick

    Rick Blum, Bedford, MA

    Advice for a Chaste Critic

    Get thee to a nunnery
    Seek shelter from the swarm
    Of my incessant punnery
    You dub a blunderstorm

    The Pallor of Money

    To thine own self be true
    When others scoff at you
    Just flaunt your orange hue
    And blond hair gone askew

  82. R Linelle G

    One’s Own

    “Most worthy comfort, now my greatest grief”
    To Jack Jones I answer not, but just may well be
    Drenched impressions of this name, in the ocean I am left and recurringly remain
    Submerged in what I now call comforts betrayal, cradled in its embrace, it has kept me

  83. Don Shook

    Instead of mounting barbed steed
    As frightful adversaries bleed
    He capers nimbly to display
    The pleasing nature of his way.

    The undiscovered country calls
    From tiny nooks and open halls
    To souls that for a solace yearn
    To dwell in peace, not to return.

  84. Jared Pearman, Calgary

    The fewer men, the greater share of honour.
    This is the case for all we hold most dear
    In war, in work, and ev’ry endeavour
    It must be said, the leaner the better

  85. Stephen Hagerman

    Macbeth: Act IV, Scene I
    “The witches”

    “Adder’s fork, and blind-worm’s sting,”
    and biting snubs from blinded grubs
    The honey on their tongues belie
    the frying frogs that flee the pyre.

  86. Jared Pearman, Calgary

    Sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more,
    No Benedict am I, nor a Mumford,
    And not a Shakespeare either, though I try
    To use my wit while remaining most kind

  87. Ruth Lintiso

    Ruth Lintiso, Maryland

    Fair Is Foul

    Fair is foul and foul is fair
    Look at this world’s paradoxical affair
    Chooses light but sleeps with despair


    All that glisters is not gold
    Discern and be wise, know what is not told
    Open up your eyes and see this life
    Choose the truth, be not ignorant of the lies

  88. David Paul Behrens

    Love is a Smoke (from Romeo and Juliet)

    Love is a smoke raised with the fume of sighs;
    But love alone can’t make your spirits rise.
    Only faith in Existence brings to you
    The peace you must have to pull yourself through.

    David Paul Behrens
    La Verne, California

  89. Gourab Mukherjee

    Let me not to the marriage of true minds
    Admit impediments.(Sonnet 116)
    Where blind eyes speaks of the truth behind,
    scathing in the despair of love.

  90. Sarban Bhattacharya


    I am that merry wanderer of the night,
    The most conducive time for making love,
    When poets’ fancy takes unbridled flight,
    And Cupid’s dart wounds lovely moon above.

    My parts had power to charm a sacred nun;
    The fire of youth she had suppressed for long,
    Till she her coyness did decide to shun,
    John Donne had proved her notion to be wrong.

    Sarban Bhattacharya, India

    • C.B. Anderson

      Sarban, I have no idea who you are, or might be, but I found your contributions here to be very evocative. Congrats.

    • Sarban Bhattacharya

      Title of the first poem: A Merry Wanderer .(The first line is from ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’)
      Title of the second poem: Spiritual Love. (The first line is from ‘A Lover’s Complaint’)

      • Sarban Bhattacharya

        Thank you C.B. Anderson for appreciating me.

  91. C.B. Anderson

    from Sonnet 18

    Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day
    That’s ninety-eight-point-six degrees and humid?
    I wouldn’t want you any other way,
    Especially when I’m hot to trot and tumid.

  92. C.B. Anderson

    from As You Like It

    All the world’s a stage
    Where players play their parts;
    Stand, and act your age,
    Denouncing timid hearts.

    • David Paul Behrens

      C.B., this reminds me of the last verse in a poem I wrote in 1972.

      Shakespeare said the world’s a stage
      And we are all just players.
      Some of us don’t like the wage
      And so are just spectators.

  93. C.B. Anderson

    from Cymbeline

    If she be furnish’d with a mind so rare
    As to bring silence to my own true voice,
    Then she has commandeered the very air,
    and yielding thereto is the only choice.

  94. C.B. Anderson

    The Spirit of the Matter
    from Hamlet

    The head is not more native to the heart
    Than crazy hearts are good at cogent thinking,
    And neither is a poet’s crafted art
    Immune from episodes of heavy drinking.

  95. Melissa Nazareth

    Summer Becomes Her

    Shall I compare thee to a summers day?
    A gust of warm wind is thine ire
    And as it bloweth, the sun doth shine
    Thy gaze like rays of fire

    The Almighty Herself

    Sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more
    You cry has last reached heaven’s door
    The Almighty Herself has shone her light
    On you. ‘Tis the end of female plight.

  96. Monty

    Just for the sheer sophistication of the word-play . . I hereby declare Martin Rizley’s ‘2b or not 2b’ to be the winner of this competition (at least in my psyche).


    Healing Cuts

    Not a jot more, my lord.
    Cut’s deep as a sword.
    Love’s scalpel has begun
    As hearts converge into one.

  98. Taylor Crosby

    Taylor Crosby, Crawfordsville, IN

    “Keep It Inside”
    Look like the innocent flower
    Bottle up your fiery rage
    Unless you wish all to cower
    As you depart your self-made cage

    “A Story That Ought Never Be Told”
    A wretched soul, bruised with adversity
    Whose heart is plagued by hatred of herself
    Because her mind believes with certainty
    That her story shouldn’t have left the shelf

  99. Roy E. Peterson

    Roy E. Peterson, San Angelo, Texas

    Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
    Thine hair is more like a dry stack of hay.
    Then when I came to embrace upon it,
    Pitchforks changed the tenor of my sonnet.

  100. Roy E. Peterson

    Roy E. Peterson, San Angelo, Texas

    Unthrifty loveliness, why dost thou spend
    Hundreds of dollars on what thou cans’t mend?
    Thou paintest thine hair a weird shade of blue.
    Thine face ash appeareth, a ghastly hue.

  101. Roy E. Peterson

    In line 2 it should be “can’t” instead of “cans’t.”

  102. Lily Canniff

    Over hill, over dale,
    A young woman, frail,
    Wanders the world,
    Heart unfurled.

  103. Mark Stone

    Since only two poems can be entered into the competition, the first two poems are my entries in the contest and third one is just for fun. My thanks to my wife for helping edit the second poem. — Mark Stone, Ohio, U.S.A.

    The lady doth protest too much, me thinks.
    She still contests the vote and says it stinks
    that Trump won in an underhanded way.
    But who paid for the FISA dossier?

    I loved not so wisely, instead much too well.
    The lesions ensuing continue to swell.
    The decades of carefree, insouciant mingling
    have left me all crusty and itchy and tingling.

    Good night. Good night. Our parting is sweet sorrow.
    The ousted Senator leaves town tomorrow.
    Instead of draining it, he turned the swamp
    into a hot tub where he loved to romp.

  104. Rebecca P Jessup

    Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
    And here in Maine, the buds are weak and few
    Until mid-June. The winds of winter stay
    Too long, too long. Brief Summer’s skies–so blue!

  105. Christopher Calvin

    Christopher Calvin, Mojokerto, Indonesia

    The Day for The Bride

    Maiden pinks, of odour faint,
    I sense flourish day, and nature’s bliss
    True sweet existence followed by song of birds
    Angel ascends, bell rings, Here comes the bride

  106. Christopher Calvin

    Christopher Calvin, Mojokerto, Indonesia

    Bad Wind Away from Today

    Heigh-ho! sing, heigh-ho! unto the green holly:
    Sing me joy, yell me love, enjoy this life
    As we blow winter, bring wind of autumn, light of spring
    As our friends not fiend, may these times alive and live

  107. paul hawkes

    Shall I Compare Thee To A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream?

    shall I compare thee to A summer-‘s day?
    Will’s Night’s Dream fairy Mid-dle of the play
    get to Bottom of who lover maybe
    sonnet’s secret Dark Lady mystery

  108. paul hawkes

    Playing On The Hunger For Love

    if music be the food of love, play on
    words going off the neck-tar of the guitar scale son (et
    Welsh-Harping on about a banquet of the key senses
    the playing’s the thing to air-on-a-g-string-out her defences

  109. Isabella Childs

    Unloving Insight

    I love nothing in the world so much as you-is not that strange?

    Till I recall love’s eyes-

    Which never see the blind-

    Or dumb or lame.

  110. Isabella Childs

    Thy Taxes, Citizen (Direct Un-Deposit Advice)

    To thine own self be true,

    Yet by unfortunate report thy livelihood disown;

    With taxing labor file down thy figure too,

    Till thy remains are worse than gross.

  111. E. A. Akindele

    E. A. Akindele, Edmonton, AB, Canada

    Cowards die many times before their deaths
    And cease from life to draw a single breath.
    To die in shame is murder to the soul,
    But oh, to live for love is bliss beyond!

    All that glitters is not gold
    And all that fails is not folly
    For by fate, good and bad
    Shall be revealed consequently.

  112. Franklin P. Scudder, Cixi, Zhejiang, China

    (Pericles, Prince of Tyre, Prologue)
    “Et bonum quo antiquius, eo melius,”
    But can we hope, in this now fallen age
    Where Culture shakes as Marxists rage,
    That even Shakespeare might deliver us?

    (The Rape of Lucrece)
    “Shall rotten death make conquest of the stronger?”
    Never! While Faith still lives and hearts are pure,
    The flame of Western triumph shall endure
    And courage strengthen where the odds are longer.


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