23 April 2013

April is NPM: William Shakespeare

April 23 is generally regarded as the date of Shakespeare's death.  So today's poet is, of course, the Bard of Stratford-on-Avon.

Because Shakespeare = poetry.  Because he wrote in an era when many people were illiterate every thing he wrote was meant to be spoken aloud, not read.  That's how I was able to get into Shakespeare.  I watched films, saw the plays performed onstage (in Shakespeare's day one "heard" a play, not "saw" one), and then started reading.  The first play I read and heard?  Henry V (the Branagh version).  I loved all of it, from the first Chorus to the last.  I was about twelve and I asked for a complete Shakespeare for Christmas.

So here is a sonnet, Sonnet 116.  It's one of my favorites.  Read it aloud, shout it, sing it. Enjoy it.

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.

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