An Ever-Fixed Mark

My introduction to Shakespeare came not only formally from studying Macbeth and Hamlet and The Merchant of Venice as a required part of our English curriculum at school, but also creatively from my mum’s love of traditional ballet – Prokofiev’s balletic version of Romeo and Juliet re-tells the tale so beautifully in music and dance, but ideally you have to read the original to be able to follow the story.

So one way or another I’ve always loved the challenge of reading Shakespeare’s plays, but to be properly understood I always felt they really needed to be read out aloud with proper expression and animation, breathing life into the sparkling narrative rather than just read out word for word in a meaningless monotone that inevitably leaves everyone bored to death by such a dry and dusty delivery.

And much later on I discovered Shakespeare’s sonnets, often bringing another challenge of true understanding if not read out aloud with feeling. They can sometimes be quite repetitive in their themes but are beautifully written nonetheless. I have a treasured silver bangle in the shape of a Mobius strip with the first two quatrains of Sonnet 116 engraved onto it. As the strip twists, the wording continues on to the ‘other’ side of the bangle, so it is engraved in its entirety.

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.

William Shakespeare

This is also the sonnet that Marianne quotes in Sense and Sensibility, when she finally comes to the understanding that Willoughby could not have loved her enough if he chose to marry someone else for money after he was disinherited due to his own bad behaviour. And it is this sonnet (engraved as it is on my bangle) that immediately sprang to mind this morning for me, too, when I read the prompt word ‘bend’… 🙂

Weekly Prompt: Bend

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A Vagina or a Voice

‘Let’s face it, it’s like, you’ve either got a vagina or a voice, you don’t seem to have both, do you?’

Sharon Moore

Comment from a BBC report on women’s health in relation to female medical conditions, discussing how many women still feel dismissed or not taken seriously by health professionals…

One Liner Wednesday

Enjoying Less

‘The secret to happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less’

Socrates

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about myself over the course of this pandemic it’s that it is perfectly possible for me to be happy enjoying less.

Life has definitely shrunk somewhat over this past year and a bit, become smaller, more intimate and focused much closer to home, and I find I’ve got so used to it now I’m not sure I want it to be that different going forward into the future.

I’m truly enjoying spending so much time at home, especially in the garden, and there’s something timeless for me in sitting outside in nature, curled up on my garden bench in the sunshine, relaxing and reading and drinking a refreshing cup of tea… ❤

One Liner Wednesday