Sonnet XI: The Art of War

How strangely opposite our sameness then,
My friend; although I know thy form–as hard
As mine–not pliant, nor as soft, we men;
Nor sweet, as  fond our distaff we regard.

With toil, these untendered limbs are scarred,
That reach for thee, though laughingly, with force
To equal thine, as though we will have sparred–
Yet battle merely reticent remorse.

And, having long since made our peace, the source
Of this reserve has fuelled our desire;
And brought us far along our wicked course!
That we, forbidden wickedness, conspire.

And–battle, artistry, or sin–we choose
This contest both would win, or wish to lose.

This sonnet is part of a short sequence; click here to read it all:


9 responses to “Sonnet XI: The Art of War

    • Though, if you know your ancient history, this is not what some might call “gender bending,” this entire series of (currently) 10, might have afforded me some rather embarrassing moments as well. As I mention here:

      There is also a female series, linked directly on the main site in the sidebar under “sequences.” This, though less embarrassing, was and is–for I’m sure it is not yet complete–more difficult to write, because females, being much more than merely objects of desire or even friendship (at least not any kind of simple friendship, to be sure) … Well, let us just say it was, and is more emotionally taxing, which is why the sequence now stands at six.

      If I had not many other subjects upon which to write, I could easily have written this “male” series to 20 or 30 or more, but in that same event the “female” series would still probably stand at six or seven by now–too much to consider, I suppose… too much tied up in my own love as she, in reality, so inspires me, confounds me, causes my own heart to skip and race along.


    • As we were chatting once about Canopian Sonnets, I have now written a couple (by this comment) more. The series, the subject of which is rather one to which I tend to return again and again, contains sonnets with peculiar figures, repeated words, short phrases, and #3 and #4 are Canopian. Number three is particularly true to “the form” (which can be divined from Mr. Roddenberry’s two extant lines) being less literal and having more metaphoric and somewhat “skippy”-sounding language. #4 is consistent with “the form” structurally, but is more literal in its grammar–as is my natural tendency having, as I do, a scientific background.


    • Thank you. This is not “exactly” gender bending, in the strictest sense, as I explained to the young man above : ) Still I do understand; after all, this is a forbidden subject! So, in that way your point is well taken.


    • Oh, and the “female” series is here:

      I am very sorry that these “tag” links do not put the sonnets in order. One generally has to start from the bottom.

      But of the male series…

      I think 2 and 3 (II and III) are interesting because they are reflections of each other. And, I think I am most happy with 6 (VI) which was written regarding a sculpture, a picture of which is linked from the first line of the sonnet


  1. Pingback: The Arts of War & Peace | Andy Kaufman's Kavalkade Krew ~ Featuring The Wandering Poet

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