From time to time I like to take the first line of a favourite poem and rewrite the rest. Sonnet 29 is one of Shakespeare’s most famous. This is it
When, in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes,
I all alone beweep my outcast state,
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,
And look upon myself and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featured like him, like him with friends possessed,
Desiring this man’s art and that man’s scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least;
Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,
Haply I think on thee, and then my state,
(Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth) sings hymns at heaven’s gate;
For thy sweet love remembered such wealth brings
That then I scorn to change my state with kings.
It’s about all sorts: self pity and self loathing and envy. This is my take, from a modern perspective.
When in disgrace, with fortune and men’s eyes,
I binge on chocolate and crappy box sets.
The world is fucked and I really despise
All those smug sods who post about their pets
And photograph their food, and their taut abs
While they try to influence some weak fool
With products that promise to fight the flab
And change them from dork to the super cool.
I don’t need the fix of counting likes,
And emojis are a stupid drug
For those for whom the latest Nikes
Are free in return for a casual plug.
So what if I’m thought a pariah?
My moral plinth could not be higher.