Monday, January 22, 2018

Poetry can be difficult to understand.

Well, not all poetry is difficult to understand.

You know I like the simple, witty worded, nature inspired poetry.  I love the beautifully crafted sentence.  A vision in words.

Honestly,  it takes me many readings
to understand some more challenging pieces.
And sometimes hearing it read out loud helps.

Take the following Sonnet.

Sonnet 116 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 prov’d,   
  I never writ, nor no man ever lov’d.

I have heard this verse used in movie weddings, Jane Austen movies and in the Sex and the City Movie.

I am just beginning to understand it completely.
It's beautiful.

This line I do not completely get....

It is the star to every wandering bark, Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken. 

I understand until 'although his height be taken."

I do love that sonnets such as this are used in popular culture as much as they are....
I would not have 'met' them....
and I like learning new things.
New beautiful things.

Encourage one another


  1. I should dig out my old Shakespeare book and see if I have any insights. I really should, but it would mean getting off the sofa. But yes! Some poetry hits me right between the eyes and other poems I have to stalk to understand. Usually it is worth the effort! (That photo at the top gives me goosebumps that have nothing to do with the snow!)

    1. Beautiful photo and so appropriate poem. Here are my thoughts on that line: a bark is a ship and stars were used for navigation, but although the position was known the star itself is unfathomable (to maintain the sailing metaphor) as is love.

  2. Thank you!! I was imagining a dog barking at the moon.

  3. Anonymous12:21 AM

    You wouldn't believe how often this sonnet comes to mind for me. Mainly when people I know or love have changed their opinion about something or started acting in a different way. I think, "Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds" and I decide that I will not let the apparent change in the person alter the way I feel about them. Anyway, the sonnet is just one of the many reasons that Sense and Sensibility will remain one of my favorite movies of all time. I could re-watch it twice a year and be perfectly happy.

    Debbie Z.
    P.S. I like Dawn's explanation of the line.

  4. Is the photo from the movie *Love Story*?

    1. Yes. I have love on the mind.

    2. Anonymous3:41 PM

      The whole week I've been like, 'o look. James got a haircut'.


  5. Anonymous1:18 PM

    Long ago when I was in college and was an English major I had a professor who read to us in class. He read Shakespeare, for that was the class subject and I was in love. Everyone should have my professor (can't remember his name at all) read Shakespeare to them and the world would be a better place. Now I still adore poetry, just more recent poems like e.e.cummings poem "I carry your heart." The last bit is my favorite: "here is the deepest secret nobody knows (here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide) and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart...I carry your heart (I carry it in my heart) Love and prayers, jep

  6. beautiful. Some things can be said poetically that can't be said any other way.

  7. A sonnet about unwavering love. I love this part of the movie when she stands on a hill above the house of her love and speaks these words. Then she almost dies and the true love of her life appears.

  8. Donna,
    I read this sonnet at my mother's service, for her love was that ever-fixed mark for me. I, too, found this sonnet through Sense & Sensibility and I am always grateful.
    SWB just wrote about Robert Frost. It is so good to be reminded to return to poetry. I have missed it.

    1. Aw. That is so sweet Di. Miss you.
      Love you.

  9. The rhythm of sonnets being read by someone who understands the meaning and can convey it takes my breath away. I, however, will never be able to read a sonnet in that fashion. I know my limits. Thanks for sharing. I have to dig out my Sense and Sensibility DVD now and watch.

  10. Natalie R10:16 AM

    I think the "although its height be taken" refers to like 'taking a measurement'.
    "Its worth unknown, although his height [extent?] be taken [has been measured]."
    Maybe it means that the height of a star to a wandering ship can be calculated or the lengths that someone's willing to go to for love can be observed, but we really don't know how deeply someone loves (the 'worth" of their love) based on the actions they can accomplish, like we can't completely comprehend the distance from a ship to a star because it's just so huge.
    Just my thoughts.I had never read this sonnet before, and it's beautiful; thank you for posting it!

    1. Anonymous4:16 PM

      Thank you for your thoughts Natalie!!! I appreciate your excellent analysis.



Hello. So nice to see you. Would you like to leave a comment? Be very kind.