After Jen Bervin’s Nets
Erasure of Shakespeare’s sonnets 112, 39, 92
Your love and pity doth th’ impression fill
Which vulgar scandal stamped upon my brow;
For what care I who calls me well or ill,
So you o’er green my bad, my good allow?
You are my all the world, and I must strive
To know my shames and praises from your tongue;
None else to me, nor I to none alive
That my steeled sense or changes right or wrong.
In so profound abysm I throw all care
Of others’ voices that my adder’s sense
To critic and to flatterer stoppèd are.
Mark how with my neglect I do dispense:
You are so strongly in my purpose bred
That all the world besides methinks are dead.
O, how thy worth with manners may I sing
When thou art all the better part of me?
What can mine own praise to mine own self bring,
And what is ’t but mine own when I praise thee?
Even for this let us divided live
And our dear love lose name of single one,
That by this separation I may give
That due to thee which thou deserv’st alone.
O absence, what a torment wouldst thou prove
Were it not thy sour leisure gave sweet leave
To entertain the time with thoughts of love,
Which time and thoughts so sweetly doth deceive,
And that thou teachest how to make one twain
By praising him here who doth hence remain.
But do thy worst to steal thyself away,
For term of life thou art assurèd mine,
And life no longer than thy love will stay,
For it depends upon that love of thine.
Then need I not to fear the worst of wrongs
When in the least of them my life hath end;
I see a better state to me belongs
Than that which on thy humor doth depend.
Thou canst not vex me with inconstant mind,
Since that my life on thy revolt doth lie.
O, what a happy title do I find,
Happy to have thy love, happy to die!
But what’s so blessèd-fair that fears no blot?
Thou mayst be false, and yet I know it not.
J.A. Holm is a poet from small-town Pennsylvania. He earned his A.A. from the Community College of Philadelphia and is currently a senior studying Creative Writing at Bucknell University. His writing appears in Toho Journal as well as in his debut chapbook Self Self published by Toho Publishing. He currently lives in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania.