Twenty-first Century Sonneteer

Wilda Morris

Shakespearean Sonnet beginning with a line from Shakespeare’s 26th Sonnet

To show me worthy of thy sweet respect
some say that I must follow rules quite strict—
and write just fourteen lines but I have checked
and found that Will himself was derelict
of duty if that rule must be obeyed,
for Sonnet 99 has fifteen lines
and no one claims that Shakespeare had betrayed
his art because it went beyond confines
accepted in his day. Another poem
that’s labeled as a sonnet has but twelve.
Tetrameter is not below him—
you find it too when in his work you delve.
But as today I write my fourteenth line,
I feel compelled to make this couplet rhyme.