Three Sonnets

by Joshua Howe

Sonnet I

Black is the hole within my hungry breast,
Which gapes as laughing cherubs buzz about,
Whilst Venus holds flaming Heart to her chest
And shakes her golden locks to every shout
Of protest that I make; then come arrows,
Five in all, by Eros wrought, not to kill
But kill slowly–piercing to marrow
As I reach for thee, lost Heart, through will.
Alas! what powers say it must be so
at all of us like Romeo shall end
Who doth love too early? We feel the woe
From upturned chins and minds that wilt not bend!
But hark! no god, no wounds, no block of time
Shall fetter me down, for love is no crime.

Sonnet II

What stone doth I require to break glass?
Ah, common rock! but what of after pain
Shattered; thunderstone through thy wound pass
By Venus’ faithful servant to gain
Thy ill-tempered attention so desired.
What fate becometh his who doth throw fate
Naked and fresh into land so mired?
Prithee, torture me not to stand and wait!
But lo, if thy gaze should cross my love-mark
I should seek out craggy Giramphiel,
For naught but dragon’s dread wrath runs so dark,
And for my toss, Death come to ring His bell.
Still, what worry in my bosom should stay;
Peer through the adder and see what thee may!

Sonnet III

Methods all exhausted have led me here;
Darkling heath shadowy in pale moonbeam
That lights paths two: one of hope, one of fear.
O, pray, help me! I wish it were a dream!
But senses are not false; I am alone.
Behind, thou art at rest in village glow,
Before, pitch-dark gives way to sable moan.
Alas! t’were not up to me whither to go!
But I dare not look back! or I shalt be
Condemned loveless stares whilst bleeding heart burn;
So stare I forward upon stygian sea,
Black waves to drown, yet more doth stomach churn.
Difficult it is to ‘scape love’s hell fire;
Luckless Orpheus, least, sported a lyre!

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