Do you know what this is? qaDelmeH bov tuj pem vIlo’choHQo’.

I find myself reading the funniest book I’ve read for a long time  Don Paterson’s Reading Shakespeare’s Sonnets.  I had no idea that literary criticism / commentary could be so entertaining!  The book offers a line by line, sonnet by sonnet explanation of Shakespeare’s poetic technique (or even lack of it!). Paterson, a Scottish Poet who won the 2009 Forward Prize for his collection, Rain, is well-qualified to comment. Neither is he afraid to say it the way he sees it!

Of sonnet 24 “Mine eye hath played the painter and hath stell’d …”  The bulk of the reader’s time – at least this reader’s time – is going to be spent hacking his way through the mangrove-swamp of the conceit and its syntax towards the plain sense.  Whether we’ll have the energy left to think about that sense, or just fall down gratefully at its feet – we’ll see.

Conversely of sonnet 60 “Like as the waves make towards the pebbled shore, So do our minutes hasten to their end, ”  This is a magnificent piece of verse on time’s relentlessness …. Cheeky and clever placing, too, on the last minutes of the hour.

I’m currently at sonnet 65 and I hope to have the book finished in time for next month’s Blog More Poetry post when I’ll talk more about the book and the sonnets set to music on this newly-released CD.  In the meantime, have a listen to a 5-track sampler.  My thanks to Harriet Devine for bringing this to my attention.

BTW you’ll a clue to the puzzle above in track 3. Know what it is yet?