shot through the ear with a love song

Your favorite songs of the eighties re-imagined as Shakespearean sonnets

Command me to remain, or else depart

But give me thy commandment: to remain
Still courting favor from thy changing heart,
And at thy pleasure suff’ring endless pain –
Else from thy presence swiftly to depart!

In brilliant morn the sun doth grant his light,
Whilst I in supplication to thee bend;
But gathering clouds make of the day dark night,
And soon I see thou’rt wearied of thy friend.

Deliver now thy judgment: if unbles’t,
Release me from the bonds that hold me still.
In costly raiment thou wouldst see me dress’d,
Though fashioned out of mode, and fitting ill.

Distress awaits me if I leave thy side;
Twofold distress is mine if I do bide.


Tender yourself more dearly

When thou wert but a child of tender years,
From what neglectful tutor did’st thou learn?
Did nurse nor matron bid thee not, be stern
And ne’er converse with flattering cavaliers?

Alas, with shame a maiden’s face should burn,
Such wanton tales do lately reach mine ears.
Art thou mine own? Or must I trust my fears
That from my faithful heart thou now dost turn?

The fashion thou must follow, it appears,
In town, where thou art gone thy fame to earn;
And art thou any longer my concern?
With thy seducer dost thou drink my tears?

He’ll toss thee spent aside: you’ll be forgot;
With interlopers, I implore speak not!



“Don’t Talk to Strangers” by Rick Springfield

Trim, scarlet-hued chariot

Were mine a nimble wit, I’d have deduced,
When thou didst stand thy coach in state oblique,
That thou dost ever fresher darlings seek,
Almost as soon as cupid’s arrow’s loosed!

Ah, would that I had veiled o’er my eyes,
Ere thine equestrian meadow I had seen!
Canst tell how many riders there hath been?
And am I now to be your newest prize?

Then apprehension overwhelmed me quite:
Could I be insufficiently refined?
The calendar did much to ease my mind,
For all’s permitted Saturday at night.

Reduce thy speed, trim chariot, scarlet-hued,
Or faithful love shall ever thee elude!

To some locale less proximate, withdraw

Th’unseasoned tutor, busy with his book,
In school-girl dreams unwittingly appears.
In her direction shyly he does look.
In age she can but reckon half his years.

The taunting of her peers she must endure;
To be the favorite is a heavy yoke.
He struggles hard to keep his motives pure:
In pouring rain he offers her his cloak.

Barbed insults echo from the classroom walls.
His colleagues mordant reprimands do shout.
He trembles when his gaze upon her falls;
It’s men like him they write novels about.

Oh, pity me, and heed this strange demand:
I beg some distance from me thou wouldst stand!


The Police — “Don’t Stand So Close To Me”


To place my hands upon thy shapely frame
Were pleasant recreation, I allow;
For Nature does not everyone endow
With such physique as thou mayst proudly claim.

But I must pause, and ponder what to do
Ere with my trust too readily I part:
I know how thou dost trifle with man’s heart
Though thou protest and swear thy love is true.

Ah, from this rising tide I must retreat,
My battered heart reclaim from off the sand;
I’ll marshal all the strength at my command
To bid thee from my door direct thy feet.

Though every man would hold a comely mate,
In hope for more substantial love, I wait.


apple by Dan Foy

George Michael — “Faith”

Frolic is a maiden’s chief desire

As dawn is breaking, home I come to rest.
My mother sighs, and begs I would behave.
By fortune, dearest dame, we are not bless’d;
Amusement is what maidens most do crave.

At midnight, rowdy friends for me do call.
My father chides, pronounces me a knave!
To thee, Dad, am I loyal above all,
But pleasant pastime do young ladies crave!

Some lads, when they have swept a maid away,
Confine her close, where none may wink nor wave.
I’ll walk abroad in broadest light of day,
Since merriment is what all maidens crave!

When labor’s ended, who would still be slave?
And harmless revelry young ladies crave!


Italian Renaissance women dancing

Image : Andrea di Bonaiuto – Italian, 14th Century

A prim and proper pair of heels

Thy heart, with all its griefs, thou hast laid bare;
Its ravaged state thou never canst disguise.
Then paint thy face;  uncommon colors wear,
And, with thy better profile forward, rise!

If only thou couldst speak, thou wouldst explain;
On what wouldst utter, thou dost suffocate.
Convey instead a keepsake to retain:
Upon a banknote thy testament create.

Thou paragon of virtue without peer!
Could any pilgrim glimpse behind thy veil?
Thy lips are never wet with wine nor beer;
Intoxicating fumes dost not inhale.
Insinuations hound thee: prithee tell
Within thy breast what secret vices dwell!


Cigarette in ashtray : Kiwiev

Cigarette in ashtray : Kiwiev

Adam Ant — “Goody Two Shoes”

A measure tread with steps secure

From hence, where none can follow, let us fly!
Thy dull companions give pursuit in vain!
I like them not, nor seek their company,
That merry measures greet with cool disdain!

Most elegant attire let us put on,
And roar in triumph with a voice immense;
Be thou aloof, ill-tempered, curt, withdrawn,
While I may seem as one bereft of sense.

Then deaf we two shall be to all complaint:
‘Tis not the hour for prayers or chanting psalms;
Within the hall abandon all restraint:
Each reveler examine now his palms.

Ah! trippingly the measure we shall tread!
With steps secure, see how all cares are fled!



Sienese, 15th century

Men Without Hats — “Safety Dance”

While we, as ice, dissolve

My lungs’ full store of breath I thriftless spend
And in this state do heedlessly advance.
Thou hast, in bed, ever been my favorite friend;
Thee I beheld, framed by life’s frenzied dance.

The earth’s celestial motion I shall halt:
Command the planet no more to revolve,
While we, as ice when sprinkled o’er with salt,
These bodies shall relinquish, and dissolve.

A stark comparison thou mayst discern
When contemplating present, future, past:
For as the hands upon the clock do turn
Each moment finds us better than the last.

We stand upon a threshold seldom cross’d:
The catalogue of deeds we shall exhaust!


Melting ice cubes

Image: Mary Gardiner (puzzlement)

Modern English — “I Melt With You”

O thou fantastical chameleon

Thine eyes are like the parched Arabian sands,
That drift when any contrary wind doth blow;
And I to slake my thirst fill up my hands
With flatteries that from thy false tongue flow.

If heed to all thy pretty tales I paid,
Wouldst say I am a man beset by doubt?
My feeble wit cannot thy faith persuade
When thou arrive then straightaway go out.

O thou fantastical chameleon
That change thy skin to suit thy company!
In dreams I see thee golden as the sun;
Why dost thou strive to be mine enemy?
How effortless our love would be, how fair,
If in the day thou wouldst those colors wear!


Image: Benny Trapp