Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimmed,
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature’s changing course untrimmed:
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st,
Nor shall death brag thou wander’st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow’st,
So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.
by Alan Walowitz
This is the summer we grow old.
The grass overgrows
out of all proportion.
Grapes rot on the vine or fall
before our best intentions.
This is the summer
your bones speak of rain,
then fail to straighten
in the sun.
My head wearies of work
I’ve left for last,
and eyes in their sockets
lead a life of their own.
I doze and dream myself
awake and young.
this house still over-run
with photos and mirrors,
finally useless to us;
what was at odds with what we see–
and the clock’s
This is the summer we grow old
and the children–
we tell ourselves–
have gone before.
Some things we have
in this life for sure:
and knowing, at last,
we won’t know
what we are.
Process notes: The title is borrowed from Shakespeare, Sonnet 18, Shall I compare thee . . . , which I was assigned to memorize in junior high school– a good start, you’d think. The poem was written when I was very young–in my 20s. Now that I’m old, I don’t think much of the poem, but I’d like to think I got a few things right about aging. In fact, right about now, I think I need a nap.
Alan Walowitz (www.alanwalowitz.com) has been published various places on the web and off. He’s a Contributing Editor at Verse-Virtual, an Online Community Journal of Poetry. His chapbook, Exactly Like Love, is available from Osedax Press, and his full-length book, The Story of the Milkman and other poems, is available from Truth Serum Press.