Reserve here now for
Sonnets for Sinners
A Wicked Evening
in the Asylum of Forbidden Love
How to Create a Lasting Love Affair
by John Wareham
We all want love, but to steal it is to become incarcerated within the Asylum of Forbidden Love. Inmates typically arrive as hopeful and delighted pairs, oblivious to the suffering to come. The only way to fïnd relief—and create. lasting love—is to plot an escape, bearing in mind that every cell has four walls, a door, a lock and a key.
Lovers first slam into the wall of Attraction. Some enchanted evening, a stranger seems to morph into a soul-mate, and, suddenly, as Governor Mark Sanford emailed his mistress, 'Despite the best efforts of my head my heart cries out for you.'
The second wall is Lust, the raw sexual impulse that the Greeks called Eros. While attraction is leading the heart astray, lust sneaks in below the belt to commandeer every move, as Elan Haverford boldly clarifies:
So, courage then, and chance the daring ride / be not fainthearted, says my inner guide.
Since adultery is a crime that needs a tight-lipped accomplice, the third wall is Secrecy—a kind of sideshow mirror wall wherein every trace of reality is lost, and, as Chandler Haste confesses, everyday life becomes a mere charade.
The fervid fourth wall, Intensity, secures the crypt. Unknowingly trapped within a madhouse, the lovers believe themselves deeply in love. But, not so fast: “If you think you love your mistress for herself, you are mistaken,” said Voltaire. Right! Gazing into each others eyes, the lovers are merely trapped in a delusion and captivated by their own reflections.
To escape this asylum the lovers must pass through the Door of Understanding. Crazed with forbidden love, however, the errant pair is clueless as to their predicament, unable even to contemplate their addictions.
The padlock on the Door of Understanding is Brevity. The lovers' clandestine trystings are necessarily fleeting. Despite the illusion of intimacy, they never truly get to know each other. So their fantasies remain intact. 
The key to the lock on the door is Guilt. Rising guilt—or outright shame—eventually turns that key. Enlightenment follows and all four walls begin to dissolve. Only now can inmates to move their minds into alignment with their emotions. Then, if they are serious about wanting to create a lasting love affair, they can rationally and consciously choose between two options:
God-fearing citizens will mostly favor following the voice of conscience; repenting their sins, returning to the. bosom of their families, repairing their marriages, and rebuilding their lives. According to reconstructed sinner Mary Wroth (who formerly lived a deliciously wicked life) sinners who finally follow this righteous route discover “stalwart love” within the heart of the spouse they wronged. And so, says Mary:
...leave off, what’s past shows you can love,
Now let your Constancy your Honor prove.
Nonbelievers prefer the imagined voice of reason. This existence is the only one we'll ever have, they say, so we must create the life we want with the love we need. To achieve that, we must scrap the notion—which nobody actually believes—that it is only ever possible to love one person at a time. Recognize instead, that to confine one’s love in this way is a form of disloyalty, especially one’s own true self. Hence the appeal of the following sentiment:
Armna had no intention of passively bowing to her fate; she simply could not accept the idea that her precious romance of the last ten nights was all over because her husband had come home.
This quotation, from a 1634 Ming Dynasty novel, 'The Prayer Mat of Flesh,' refers to the Taoist belief that sexual indulgence may lead to divine union. An appealing idea?
If you’re unsure as to which of the above options is right for you, a test at the bottom of the page 105 of Sonnets for Sinners will take the measure of your heart and provide the advice you need. The anthology also offers forty-nine devilishly crafted, life-altering sonnets, together with my insights into the poems, the hearts and minds of the eighteen poets, and the lessons they learned within the Asylum of Forbidden Love—including, of course, how to create a lasting love affair.
FOOTNOTES FROM THE BOOK: SONNETS FOR SINNERS
1. Page 3: Crossed Lines.. a sonnet distilled from emails by Governor Mark Sanford.
2. Page 12; Rubicons, by Elan Haverford, and Raptures on Page 20
is even more alarming.
3. Page 78: Dialysis, by Chandler Haste
4. Page 38: Soul Males. by Chandler Haste
5. Page 34: Fevers, by William Shakespeare
6. Page 41: Paradoxically the facing page In Leda and the Swan by W.B. Yeats.
shows how one can become shattered by a one-right stand.
7. Page 108: Honor,. by Mary Wrath.