A.M. Juster

Poet, Translator, Essayist

Untamed Daughter

“…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)

                    © 2018 A.M. Juster