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:


Part 7: (14 lines by clause)

Here you will find the words themselves, presented in freeverse as simply and compactly as possible.  The order of the words is not changed; there is nothing added or removed, but punctuated in order to make it easier to follow the words–something just short of prose, perhaps.   And although the  line lengths appear problematic, it so happens that there are 14 of these lines.

I should state that the words were originally written this way, although you might have suspected that the original form was presented in part 5.  In any case, the words are easily understood now.

Just read the words.  Think about what they mean; perhaps in answer to the original prompt: