Ages & Sins 5: Judging

This sonnet explores the perspective of the “justice” from Shakespeare’s “seven ages of man”. Although this project is dedicated to love, to judge is the opposite of loving.

This sonnet therefore pits judge against lover. To judge or not to judge, that is the question. The lover enjoys “foibles” whereas the judge “Delights in errors”. They represent opposing viewpoints. The lover looks for the good in someone, the judge seeks out the “flaws”. Shakespeare’s “justice” has “eyes severe”, after all.

I’ve liberally employed alliteration. The internal rhyme of “While” with “bile” and “smile” enhances the impact of the eleventh line. I use repetition in line six to aurally represent the movement of a performer. And the theatrical setting reflects the close relationship between poetry and theatre.

To love or judge, the punter must decide
When a fresh player tumbles into view
On a round stage where there’s no place to hide
Whose tricks, costume and face are fancies new.
The judge measures the act with sniper’s eye
Each turn, each step, each leap precisely weighed;
The self-same strides will make the lover cry
They sense intent in every move that’s made.
The judge searches for flaws to feed their bile,
Delights in errors – trips – so they can scorn;
While quirks and foibles curl the lover’s smile
Who loves the fancy rose despite its thorn.
	You cannot have two hearts: lover and judge;
	What will you bring to fling, flowers or sludge?

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