Shakespeare’s Sonnets

Would it astonish you if I told you I love reading Shakespeare?

We studied both Macbeth and Hamlet in depth in school, and I absolutely loved it. I loved the rhythm and the cadence and the historical humanity of it all. Learn how the old-fashioned language works, learn to read it as if out loud and suddenly the story comes alive in your imagination, in your head, and in your heart.

I love many of Shakespeare’s sonnets, too – I love the simple emotion with which he writes, pouring his passion on to the page. As with all poetry, interpretation is in the eye of the beholder, not just the poet. I read into it what I choose, what resonates most with me, regardless of how others may view it.

My favourite is probably sonnet 27:

Weary with toil, I haste me to my bed,
The dear repose for limbs with travail tired;
But then begins a journey in my head
To work my mind, when body’s work’s expired.
For then my thoughts, from far where I abide,
Intend a zealous pilgrimage to thee,
And keep my drooping eyelids open wide,
Looking on darkness which the blind do see.
Save that my soul’s imaginary sight
Presents thy shadow to my sightless view,
Which, like a jewel hung in ghastly night,
Makes black night beauteous, and her old face new.
Lo thus by day my limbs, by night my mind,
For thee, and for myself, no quiet find.
Four hundred-odd years ago, a man wrote eloquently about the total restlessness of being in love, of feeling so besotted with missing someone he cares for but is apart from that he can’t seem to sleep at night however tired he is after a hard day’s work. That a modern man (or a modern woman like me for that matter) might so easily relate to that same unsettled sleepless feeling today in times of separation, albeit in slightly less poetic language – to me that’s what’s most astonishing! 🙂

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