This first poem by Angela Alaimo O’Donnell is a response to Shakespeare’s Sonnet 73, “That Time of Year Thou Mayest in Me Behold.” The poem begins as a sort of homage to Shakespeare’s famous paean to the season of fall and acknowledgement of the inevitable end of a life-long love—but it soon moves in a different direction, instead praising Spring and celebrating the beginnings and the eternal nature of a long-held love.
That Time of Year Thou Mayest in Me Behold
the clear conviction we’ll never grow old.
When new green leaves hang from all the trees,
when boughs of blossoms bring us to our knees,
when bright birds fill the choir stalls and sing,
our slumped hearts wake and warm to spring.
In you I see the sky, such tender blue
the color of your eyes the same sweet hue.
The world that lies about us here and now
a miracle that’s taken place somehow.
It’s happened before. What’s now was then.
There’s only beginning and no true end.
I’m twenty again, and you’re twenty two.
And each red sun comes up for me and you.
This poem has been published by the journal Mezzo Cammin, and will appear in a book of poems forthcoming in 2017 from Paraclete Press, The Still Pilgrim.
Shakespeare shepherds sobbing deer that weep,
bears that exit, cockatrice whose eyes
dart quick poison, owls that shriek and keep
us up, a king of cats, a mouse that flies.
Gentle Reader, spend an hour or two
and see yourself completing Shakespeare’s Zoo.
Deer: Hamlet iii.2.249
Bear: The Winter’s Tale iii.3.57
Cockatrice: Romeo & Juliet iii.2.47
Owl: 3 Henry VI v.6.44
Cat: Romeo & Juliet iii.1.72
Bat: The Tempest v.1.91
Line numbering taken from The Norton Shakespeare edition (1997)