Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Shakespeare's Sonnett 116

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come:
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

Mabillard, Amanda. An Analysis of Shakespeare's Sonnet 116. Shakespeare Online. 2000. (04/25/2006 ) <>.

[Lines 1-2]* T.G. Tucker explains that the first two lines are "[a] manifest allusion to the words of the Marriage Service: 'If any of you know cause or just impediment why these two persons should not be joined together in holy matrimony'; cf. Much Ado 4.1.12. 'If either of you know any inward impediment why you should not be conjoined.' Where minds are true - in possessing love in the real sense dwelt upon in the following lines - there can be no 'impediments' through change of circumstances, outward appearance, or temporary lapses in conduct". (T.G. Tucker, ed. Sonnets of Shakespeare. Cambridge: University Press, 1924, [192])[Line 5]* 'mark' = a beacon to warn mariners of dangerous rocks.
Sonnet 116 is about love in its most ideal form. It is praising the glories of lovers who have come to each other freely, and enter into a relationship based on trust and understanding. The first four lines reveal the poet's pleasure in love that is constant and strong, and will not "alter when it alteration finds". The following lines proclaim that true love is indeed an "ever-fix'd mark" which will survive any crisis. In lines 7-8, the poet claims that we may be able to measure love to some degree, but this does not mean we fully understand it. Love's actual worth cannot be known -- it remains a mystery. The remaining lines of the third quatrain (9-12), reaffirm the perfect nature of love that is unshakeable throughout time and remains so "ev'n to the edge of doom", or death. In the final couplet, the poet declares that, if he is mistaken about the constant, unmovable nature of perfect love, then he must take back all his writings on love, truth, and faith. Moreover, he adds that, if he has in fact judged love inappropriately, no man has ever really loved, in the ideal sense that the poet professes. The details of Sonnet 116 are best described by Tucker Brooke in his acclaimed edition of Shakespeare's poems:
[In Sonnet 116] the chief pause in sense is after the twelfth line. Seventy-five per cent of the words are monosyllables; only three contain more syllables than two; none belong in any degree to the vocabulary of 'poetic' diction. There is nothing recondite, exotic, or metaphysical in the thought. There are three run-on lines, one pair of double-endings. There is nothing to remark about the rhyming except the happy blending of open and closed vowels, and of liquids, nasals, and stops; nothing to say about the harmony except to point out how the fluttering accents in the quatrains give place in the couplet to the emphatic march of the almost unrelieved iambic feet. In short, the poet has employed one hundred and ten of the simplest words in the language and the two simplest rhyme-schemes to produce a poem which has about it no strangeness whatever except the strangeness of perfection. (Brooke, ed. The Sonnets. London: Oxford UP: 1936, 234)

18 Days to go

The wedding is shaping up nicely. The site is booked, the food is coming along. My dress is ready for final fittings, and Daniel's things are on the way. The minor snafus is making sure that all our attendants have their things and are ready. I have to ask one more person to take part in the ceremony: Dee. Her and Bob have been married 33 years so I think she is fully qualified to read Sonnet 116. I need to get the seating plan sent to the site so they can get everything set up for us. There is always something I'm forgetting. Oh yeah, got to order the wedding cake this weekend!

Monday, April 17, 2006

The DUH Factor, the first in an ongoing series

I am starting a new rant string called the DUH Factor, dedicated to news stories that insult our intelligence by being painfully obvious. Here is the first:

"Goth" youths more likely to self-harm: study - Yahoo! News

"LONDON (Reuters) - Young people who adopt the "Goth" lifestyle of dark clothes and introspective music are more likely to commit self-harm or attempt suicide than other youngsters, according to a study on Friday. "

"Michael van Beinum, a child-and-adolescent psychiatrist, said the Goth subculture might be attractive to young people with mental health problems, allowing them to find a community where their distress might be more easily understood. "

You have a subculture that digs gothic images, black clothing and makeup, vampire literature, and Marilyn Manson, made up mostly of young adults who are so alienated by our culture that they strike back by dressing like corpses, and scaring the crap out of high school administrations everywhere. It took a scientific study to tell the public that this group is more likely to commit or attempt suicide than their mainstream peers......

DUH !!!!!!

Monday, April 10, 2006

Ghosts and Dreams

Angel and Tish have been on my mind lately, a lot. Tish is my mothers younger sister, who died of lung cancer six years ago at the age of 39. Angel was her daughter, who died at the age of 12 three years ago. I have been having dreams about Tish. She had a set of wedding bands she loved that were worth quite a bit to her emotionally and financially. My dreams are that she tries to throw them away, to actually flush them down a toilet. I keep asking her what the hell she is doing, has she lost her mind? However, she never says anything back. She just continues to try to pull them off and disperse with them in one flush. She never succeeds, but I end up walking away disgusted, and waking up confused. I've had these dreams on and off for the past two weeks. Then I went on my 3 times weekly walkabout in Pikeville, and saw the ghost...

The holler (hollow, to those unfamiliar with the local vernacular) road that goes past the apartment to Riverfill Road goes past Pikeville hospital, where coincidentally, Tish died. I was walking past the hospital when I glanced down the hill and spotted a woman pushing a stroller with a handicapped child in it. I was about 50 yards up the hill, looking from a distance through weakening glasses. But, the child that woman was pushing was Angel,I would have sworn on my life. The dark curly hair that was so wiry it would not be brushed down was the same, fought into pig tails. Ice blue eyes stared back at me, and smiled. I actually almost stumbled when I saw her, going so far as slamming my eyes shut to make sure I wasn't seeing things. The vision did not change. The woman put the child in a car, and drove away. I was bereft. The last time I saw Angel was in her casket, and then she shows up where I least expect it. I cried, but kept on walking to gain composure before the natives thought I had lost my mind.

I never had closure with either of them. Tish died while I was in Oregon, and Angel died when I was in Lexington, 150 miles away. I never got to say goodbye properly. Its no question I miss them both terribly. It has even gone so far as for me to seek out where Tish's wedding rings actually went. To my relief, Tish's whole jewelry box is in my sisters possession. Would wearing those rings bring me any closure? I doubt it, and I wouldn't ask Raymond (Tish's widower, Angel's father) for the permission. It would be too painful. And yet....I had that dream again last night. This time she was pulling on them so hard her finger bled. The only explanations I can come up with is that I just miss them, and the upcoming wedding is making me feel their loss even more.