The Zip

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
I realised recently that I’ve always been reading this wrong
I’ve always put the emphasis on Shall, but there’s no question here.
He will compare you, dammit!
Much to the poor summer’s day’s dismay,
Left shrivelled and half dead
In a pile of its own bile

Emphasise I.
Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
All other poets, of lesser skill and talent and fame, always compare their loved ones to big, perfect things.
Shall I make a boring, superficial simile like the rest of those unimaginative buggers?
I, he says, would never do that. And in the rest of the entire collection of sonnets, he does not.
But, he continues, I will anyway, just to prove to you why it is pointless.
I will take the grandest most natural and widely understood idea of perfection. The toughest competition for comparison, filled with dawn and roses and rainbows.
It should too easy for the poet – and it still proves inadequate, unworthy, and inferior to his love
The pure summer day changes, it passes, it is unreliable. The flaws are innumerable.
But the young man he writes about has none.
Because this is what Love does to everyone
His Love is so strong, that the very notion of comparison is a weak and pathetic compliment, and can only be fruitless, or can only mean words have been chosen to sound good, but ultimately mean squat
Hyberbolic comparison (for want of a better reference) is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury but signifies nothing
In previous sonnets he wrote about why he loves, logically. Share your love, he says, the bloodline must continue, you must breed, so that your beauty can still be in the world
But this time, 18 sonnets in, he says I love you because I love you,
Praise for the sake of praise, begging for a better way to say it
But he settles on a tired idea, because even he knows that even the greatest words of Shakespeare can never be enough

And with that in mind, you, my dear, are a zipper.
You are comparable to the zip on the fly of my unwashed jeans
The ones I wear that you can’t stand
The ones you don’t understand why I still have them
Why I haven’t thrown them out

Because you may not see it, but that zip is perfect
And zips I don’t always understand
And you may break but when it does, let’s face it, it’s generally my fault
And maybe criticism can be thrown your way
When you feel out of order, or you decide your parts are not perfectly shaped

Love may mean that comparisons are pointless
But you are a zip
One of the greatest and most useful inventions known to humanity
Often overlooked, underrated
But nobody could say that life would be better without you
There have been previous fasteners
There have been buttons, there have been clips
But you are the best
You are my zip

– Scott Sandwich



Filed under Poems & Poetry

5 responses to “The Zip



  2. meredith

    Heard you speak this one in Sydney on Sunday and LOVED IT. I’m a lit-crit girl who loves sonnets and has read all of these ones more than once, and I just wanted to say that your analysis is bang on, and that you have reaffirmed to me, once again, that literary criticism is and can and should always be beautiful in its own right!

    • Thank you so much! You were also a damn good audience member (… I assume).

      I’m glad you enjoyed it. I’m putting together a full length show right now with a wonderful friend of mine, which is essentially 45/60 minutes of literary criticism – with a focus on epics and classics (Homer, Gilgamesh, Shakespeare, blah blah blah), so definitely stay tuned for more!

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