This poem is an “extended” sonnet because it has an extra quatrain. The poem says that we cannot buy our innocence either with suffering and sacrifice, or by comparing ourselves with others who seem guiltier. We are either guilty or guiltless, and if we choose to see guilt in others, we will see it in ourselves also. I used an extreme example to make a clear point.

We’re masochistic—wanting to be hurt,
for if we’re hurt, then we can shift the blame.
If others choose to grind our face in dirt,
then they have served our purpose and our aim.

The sacrifices that we make are for
ourselves, and not for any other’s sake.
If someone gives to us, we must give more,
for guilt increases when we only take.

We feel our guilt must ever be chastised
by sacrifice and pain, so we can earn
an innocence that we have always prized,
and we choose pain so we won’t have to burn.

But innocence cannot be bought with pain,
nor can we buy it with a rocky road.
If guilt is real, it leaves a lasting stain,
but if it’s false, then we can drop our load.

When we have pardoned all, we’ll quickly find
mistakes aren’t sins, for we can change our mind.