Thursday, March 4, 2010

Poem of the Month: February

I seem to be a poem of the month slacker lately, so here's a make-up for February. Since February is the month of love, how about one of the most famous poems about love? Shakespeare's sonnet 116. Despite the fact that this poem is so frequently analyzed and cited, I still like it. I love the simplicity of the language--most of the words are monosyllabic, actually--and the simplicity of the structure--straightforward English/Shakespearean sonnet with only 3 run-on lines. In the midst of this simplicity, I love the depth of meaning. To me, the poem is about the endurance of spiritual love. I guess I slightly disagree with the persona in the poem who says "love is not love Which alters when it alteration finds" because, over the almost 10 years that I have been married, J and I's love looks and feels different than it did when we were married. For better and for worse, in some cases. But it endures. And it will continue to endure, despite "tempests" and Time's "bending sickle" that changes our physical appearances. This poem is the perfect poem for February, with love as its "ever-fixed mark."

Sonnet 116: Let Me Not To the Marriage of True Minds
by William Shakespeare

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.

1 comment:

Lindsay Riggs said...

Thanks to Kate Winslet in Sense and Sensibility, I have a good portion of that sonnet memorized. :)