Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Poem for Meditation

Sonnet #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.

Every morning I receive a Sonnet from Shakespeare by email.  I usually peruse the sonnet briefly and then move on, but on some days the Sonnet, usually in the very first line, grabs my attention and holds my mind -- I must reread and think some more about this one.  Love is not an uncommon topic of Shakespeare's sonnets.  Some of the best, Sonnets 29 or 16 come to mind, and some of the rest touch on this topic.  In Sonnet 116 we have a declaration of love that defines the boundaries of the human mind. 
 What is this love? 

It is a marriage of minds; 
it is unaltering, we find,
and an  unbending kind 
of beaming star.

It is fixed in its goal --
Not shaken by rift nor shoal.
Time's love's neither reaping nor reeling,
And as clocks tick we survive the feeling
of loss.

These thoughts are said so much better by Shakespeare and as stated deserve the strength of his concluding lines:  "If this be error . . . I never writ, nor no man ever loved."


Brian Joseph said...

Great poetry especially to start the day James.

I find the comparison between love and death here somewhat common to Shakespeare and as always interesting.

James said...

Thanks for the reference to love and death. This is part of the wonder of Shakespeare.