Sonnet Saturday (7)

05 BOX-005I do hope you continue to enjoy these posts. I certainly enjoy curating them.

This week I wanted to do sport; we’ve had Wimbledon (and suck on a sour Murray mint); the Grand Depart has left us with a glow even though we’ve now lost both Cavendish and Froome (if we are being parochially British) to crashes; England’s football team, as per, spent less time in the cup than your average teabag; and England, oh England, have lost to Sri Lanka at cricket and are failing against India. You see, I need my sporting side perking up but sonneteers seem woefully in short supply when it comes to sporting sonnets.

Will the Great does allude to sport in this one:


Some say thy fault is youth, some wantonness;
Some say thy grace is youth and gentle sport;

Both grace and faults are lov’d of more and less:
Thou mak’st faults graces that to thee resort.
As on the finger of a throned queen
The basest jewel will be well esteem’d,
So are those errors that in thee are seen
To truths translated, and for true things deem’d.
How many lambs might the stern wolf betray,
If like a lamb he could his looks translate!
How many gazers mightst thou lead away,
If thou wouldst use the strength of all thy state!
   But do not so, I love thee in such sort,
   As thou being mine, mine is thy good report.

But here Shakespeare is admonishing his love to be careful not to damage his reputation, and by extension, his own by his wanton behaviour. Not really a sonnet of two halves, is it? This is a nice sonnet, no more; it is part of a series of six where the poet is chastising his lover. But here it is not a harsh criticism, more a gentle prod. Perhaps Shakespeare is too tired to really have a go, or maybe he’s just going through the motions.

So my best laid plans and all that…

Instead I offer you this. A sporting favourite from Sporting relations by Roger McGough though not a sonnet.

Cousin Daisy

Cousin Daisy’s

Favourite sport

was standing

on street corners.

She contracted

with ease

a funny disease.


05 BOX-018And my sonnet this week is based around watching the Olympics, in Beijing as it happens but it could equally apply to London or any other recent summer Games. For those who don’t get it, the sports alluded to are the men’s team cycle pursuit and the triple jump.

Team GB


Improbable arcs, they shape with simple grace,

Higher by far than Herculean gods.

They dive, like salmon, in an old millrace,

Fake scaled, in black, mocking friction and the odds.

Four lycra saddlemen of apocalypse,

Impossibly close till they swoop up high,

While a peacock prepares his triptych blitz,

Both men and gravity does he defy.

Water, earth and air limit simple men,

But those honed gods are made of sterner stuff.

After four toiling years, they reach a point when

Their efforts lift the fog, they’ve done enough

To know what has been their goal all along:

To leap higher, go faster, and be strong.


About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published several books: a four book series following Harry Spittle as he grows from hapless student to hapless partner in a London law firm; four others in different genres; a book of poetry; four anthologies of short fiction; and a memoir of my mother. I have several more in the pipeline. I have been blogging regularly since 2014, on topic as diverse as: poetry based on famous poems; memories from my life; my garden; my dog; a whole variety of short fiction; my attempts at baking and food; travel and the consequent disasters; theatre, film and book reviews; and the occasional thought piece. Mostly it is whatever takes my fancy. I avoid politics, mostly, and religion, always. I don't mean to upset anyone but if I do, well, sorry and I suggest you go elsewhere. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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12 Responses to Sonnet Saturday (7)

  1. willowdot21 says:

    I enjoyed the prose and the verse , but it is the photos that grab my imagination!


  2. somemaid says:

    For some reason I always forget or skip poetry. but not tonight. Tonight I actually read the words and a very pleasant experience it was too. Thank you for reminding me that I enjoy reading verse.


  3. Charli Mills says:

    I’m loving Sonnet Saturdays! On Sunday, if that’s okay…I do believe one of your lines whizzed past my house on Hwy. 95 today: “Four lycra saddlemen of apocalypse.” It caused the dogs to bark and the horses galloped down the fence, wanting to go, too. Will was not spectacular today, but often that is the way of things with our sports. The second poem was clever; funny! Again, I think I liked yours best. I can’t relate to sports passion so I found a song (cousin to poetry, right?) that conveys the same emotion I think you feel when following your sports…some just like to follow cattle or mustangs. Can we call cowboying a sport?


    • TanGental says:

      Hell yeah. Yeehaw. Lassoing should be in the Olympics only the targets should be politicians not steers. When we visited Jackson a few years back and visited a rodeo ( I know, not the real thing but great entertainment) I thought then how like an American Highland Games it was. Weird and wacky sports tied back to the management of the land that an outsider wonders at while admiring the courage and skill needed to take part and not die in the process. Truly gladiatorial some of it.
      Thank you for the song too. And thank you for the kind words about my scribblings.


      • Charli Mills says:

        I do believe politicians have horns! That’ll work! So you got back at us for American Highland Games? I’d love to see that rodeo! Nowadays most rodeos are all the “exciting” crowd-drawing events like bull riding and barrel racing. Our wee little Bolado Park Rodeo did fancy buckaroo events like figure eight roping and silly ones like wild cow milking. I used to do the goat tying event up until I moved at age 7. Give me a goat and I can flip it!


      • TanGental says:

        I feel a competition coming on! The vet, as part of her training has to flip sheep. She may be a svelte size 6 (English sizes) but no sheep is safe. She is ruthless.


  4. Charli Mills says:

    Hee, hee! Go Vet, go!


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