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153| Sonnet 153 while you were sleeping

Pamela Allen Brown


The moon tucks her red nose under a black quilt
patched with grapes.

The ghost of a duck sleeps at her thin feet.

         Cupid laid by his brand and fell asleep
         In a cold valley-fountain of that ground

When she wakes her feet turn to stars.
Her yellow pencil draws fresh stars on blue cloth.

         I sick withal the help of bath desired
         And thither hied . . .

She floats through mud without getting her feet dirty.
She turns sad woods to thick fur, lit by silver candles.

          A dateless lively heat still to endure

Her duck wakes and quacks out dreams.
She sweeps bad ones into the closet and closes it tight.

         against strange maladies a sovereign cure

Hunting noises she pulls them off,
like a hairy blanket that itches.

Naked, happy, she looks in the pond and preens.

Pamela Allen Brown lives in Brooklyn, New York, and works as an Associate Professor of English at the University of Connecticut. Her poems have appeared in Ep;phany, Public, Frontier, and R/rose, and her one-act plays have been performed in New York and Boston. Her scholarly publications include Better a Shrew than a Sheep: Women, Drama, and the Culture of Jest in Early Modern England; As You Like It: Texts and Contexts (co-edited with Jean Howard); and Women Players in England, 1500-1660: Beyond the All-Male Stage (co-edited with Peter Parolin). Currently she is working on Boying Her Grandezza: Shakespeare and the Italian Diva and a collaborative translation of Isabella Andreini’s stage dialogues.

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