top of page

36 variations on a theme from Shakespeare (for Harry Mathews)

00 Source text :

Love is a smoke made from the fume of sighs (Romeo and Juliet Act I, Scene I)

01 Alphabetically


02 Anagram

Smog, hide her muse! A mist of love makes off

03 Lipogram in b, c, j, n, p, q, w, x, y, z:

Love is a smoke made from the fume of sighs

04 Lipogram in a

Love is smoke fumed from sighs

05 Lipogram in i

Love, a smoke made from the fume of groans

06 Lipogram in e

Loving smoking as in a cloud of sighs

07 Transposition (W + 7)

Luck is a smother made from the funeral of signatories

08 Strict palindrome

Sh.g is foe? mufam of e, dame kom sa s ie vol.

09 Missing letter

Loves a smoke made from the fume of sighs

10 Two missing letters

Love is a smoke me from the fume of sighs.

11 One letter added

Glove is a smoke made from the fume of sighs

12. One letter changed

Love is a smoke made from the fume of signs

13 Negation

Love is not a smoke made from the fume of sighs

14 Emphasis

Love, what we call love, is made, that is, consists in, a smoke, an insubstantial noxious miasma detrimental to your health, brought into being by a fume, I mean, by fuming, a burst of anger, deriving from that displeasure signaled by an all too human ‘sigh’.

15 Curtailing

Love is made from a fume

16 Curtailing (different)

Love is a fume of sighs

17 Double curtailing

Love is made

18 Triple contradiction

You call that love? You think it’s a gas? Who says that’s a sigh?

19 Another point of view

Romeo, pack it in!

20 Minimal variations

a) Love is a coke made from the loom of highs

b) Love is a cloak made from the womb of mice

c) Love is a bloke made from the spume of flies

21 Antonymy

Hate is an airiness destroyed to placate self-restraint

22 Amplification

The idea that love is merely the residual wistful mood as an after-effect of spontaneous sexual engagement is a problem troubling the young Romeo at this point in the play.

23 Reductive

Love: it’s short-lived and you will get burned

24 Permutation

A smoke made from the fume of sighs is love

25 Interference

O reason not the need; love is a smoke

26 Isomorphisms

a) The heart’s pulse a product of gnashing teeth and pumping bellies

b) Finer feeling is whittled into flame from two rough sticks of rough bark

27 Synonymous

I dismiss romance as a euphemism for that brief respite following copulation

28 Subtle insight

Gonorrhea was endemic in 17th century London. Just saying.

29 Another interference

We are such stuff as dreams are made from the fume of sighs

30 Homoconsonantism

Leaves I smell kill maudlin French maids forced my fart’s sagging heart

31 Homovocalism

Foes will always occlude an enemy ostrich easily; use oil instead

32 Homophony

Gove is a joke, mate, bomb the loon tonight

33 Snowball with an irregularity











but nice

34 Heterosyntaxism

I claim love is smoking with sigh’s fumes

35 In another meter

Love as smoke from sighs arise

36 Interrogative mode

Should we choose to not suffer love’s violent cravings?

(We leave the reader saddled with this painful question…)


bottom of page