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Upside-down Sonnet Ending with a Couplet by Auden

Suppose someone you adore

sees you with indifferent eyes.

Sigh, and be satisfied.

Lucky is the lover who loves more.


Hurt is an awful verb.

I hate the way it works:

Do I hurt him?  Does he hurt?

I don’t know which is worse.


He’ll stay with me through thin

and thick. All very well.

I just wish he’d tell

me whether I will stay with him!


If equal affection cannot be.

Let the more loving one be me.


Sarah White, during her years of college French teaching, co-translated Songs of the Women Troubadours and wrote the libretto for an opera about Benjamin Franklin. On retirement, she worked on her own poetry, published six collections, and studied drawing and painting. Her most recent book is a lyric memoir, The Poem Has Reasons: A Story of Far Love (Dos Madres, 2022). She currently lives, writes, and paints in a retirement community in Western Massachusetts.


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