“…come, Kate, come, you must not look so sour.”
—The Taming of the Shrew
At fourteen she loves being critical
and tells me, “Shakespeare uses language well,
but could have been, like, more original…”
I sputter, but rebuttals fail to jell.
All those recycled plots make it appear
to her he was a sneaky plagiarist—
no better than that girl expelled last year—
so “they” should take him off her reading list.
Please, Caitlin, let it go; great writers borrow
like gamblers. Don’t begrudge the Bard a source
that he reshaped into Verona’s sorrow,
Miranda’s tenderness or Lear’s remorse,
but mark him down at least a point or two
because he tamed a Kate as fierce as you.
Appeared in The Formalist Vol 14 Issue 2 (2003) (finalist for the Howard Nemerov Sonnet Award)