Poems to share

Sonnet 138

When my love swears that she is made of truth,
I do believe her, though I know she lies,
That she might think me some untutored youth,
Unlearnèd in the world’s false subtleties.
Thus vainly thinking that she thinks me young,
Although she knows my days are past the best,
Simply I credit her false-speaking tongue:
On both sides thus is simple truth suppressed.
But wherefore says she not she is unjust?
And wherefore say not I that I am old?
Oh, love’s best habit is in seeming trust,
And age in love loves not to have years told.
Therefore I lie with her and she with me,
And in our faults by lies we flattered be.

William Shakespeare

1564–1616. William Shakespeare wrote at least 37 plays, 154 sonnets and even some longer form poems in his life and in Allie Eisiri's new book: Shakespeare for Every Day of the Year all of them can be found. It is one of the books we're recommending for National Poetry Day.

This year on National Poetry Day our theme is Truth. "Truth to Shakespeare is many things" says Allie Esiri. "It might lead to dark acts or bring us to the light: 'often time, to win us to our harm, /The instruments of darkness tell us truths, /Win us with honest trifles, to betray's /In deepest consequence' (Macbeth 1.3). It is also the case that 'time's glory is to command contending kings, /To unmask falsehood, and bring truth to light' (The Rape of Lucrece). He convinces us that nature is the poet's truth, 'Truth needs no colour with his colour fixed, /Beauty no pencil, beauty's truth to lay' (sonnet 101). And although Polonius in Hamlet advises, 'This above all; to thine own self be true' (1.3), in Sonnet 138 the poet reasons that lovers should not be quite so honest, as relationships are most happy when lovers collude in self-deprecation."