Posted by: John Looker | 25 May, 2016

And To A Winter’s Day Also

“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?”
      (William Shakespeare, sonnet 18)

And To A Winter’s Day Also …

… for isn’t there beauty in a winter’s day?
Not just the frail sunlight sparkling on ice,
the clear skies, the dark holly with those dear
berries; nor even the breathtaking lace
of trees in the cold air. Give these their due
but there is more – for all is stillness; peace.
     Walking, you take my arm, and I am yours.

© John Looker 2016

(For Frances)

This is the second in a short series of poems commemorating the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. His 18th sonnet reads as follows:

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate.
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date.
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimmed;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature’s changing course, untrimmed;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st,
Nor shall death brag thou wand’rest in his shade,
When in eternal lines to Time thou grow’st.
So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.


  1. Love this one too, John. Shared on the Bennison Books FB page. 🙂


  2. I really think you are a master, John. I know there are poems by Ethel like this that seem to wrap the world in goodness and give us that goodness in feelings that light up the moment you have finished reading the poem. This poem achieves that quality, playing off Shakespeare in a playful way, but also doing more, summing up a lifelong love in a song that resonates into the spirit. Shakespeare’s sonnet and your poem that reverberate together like a two stringed instrument that somehow expands the universe of who, as readers, we are.


    • Thank you Tom – you are most generous as usual.


  3. Your winter antiphon to Shakespeare’s summer is a delight, John. The imagery is spare, sparkling, all understatement and quietude, which seems so true to the season, and so apt to the subtlety and almost ordinariness of deep, long-standing love. I find it quite beautiful and very moving.


    • You are very kind, Cynthia. Thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Not so much a matter of kindness, John, as one of respect for and admiration of the work itself.


  4. I agree with Cynthia; this poem to winter is a delight. In seven lines you manage to capture the essence of a winter’s day. I enjoyed the peace which emanates and the multiple meanings which can be read into the last line “Walking, you take my arm, and I am yours.


  5. That is a beautiful winter day, indeed. I especially like the ending. The phrase, “I am yours” seems so free.


  6. Yeah, this is nice. I especially like the last line. It adds a personal touch.
    And I wonder, are you walking in winter or summer?
    A little celebration of the bard does seem called for. I’ll have to see what I can do.


    • I’d be very interested, Jim, if you were to do something. It’s just the thing to arouse your imagination.


  7. Your use of breathtaking here is … breathtaking, given the cold; and the last two sentences exceed analysis, but have yes to do with the precision of the blazon against all that is unsaid, and the ultimate cold.


  8. Beautiful! “breathtaking lace of the cold trees” Such a perfect line.
    Lynda ❤


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