i carry your heart

I’m a poet at heart.

Back in college, I was the classic English major bouncing around campus with a novel in her hands and newly-released iPod earbuds in her ears. I have incredibly happy memories of wandering the University of Maryland campus, getting lost on the mall — sunny days when I was alone but not lonely.

Because I commuted to school for three years, I didn’t have many on-campus friends. There were times I wouldn’t speak to another living soul until I’d call my mom to check in on my lunch break, my voice hoarse with disuse. But what I did have?

Poems.

I had a creative writing focus in my English program . . . but not in anything I actually, you know, use now. No, friends, I was a poetry student — someone who literally sat in the shade of a tree and jotted down random thoughts because I had an “assignment” — a poem — due in class in an hour.

Those poetry classes, though occasionally tedious, were some of the happiest in my life. They were one of the few times I didn’t feel anonymous on campus, for one; because our class was only 12-15 students, rather than the typical 30-300, I actually felt seen. Even when I was basically told I was a no-talent hack who should have chosen a different major (whatevs), I loved those classes. Loved pouring over others’ words.

We studied poets too, of course. I remember a few of the works I selected to read aloud as some of my favorites, my inspiration. While classmates chose highfalutin never-heard-of-’em writers, maybe to impress the lot of us, I stuck with tried and true classics. Like E. E. Cummings.

When Spencer and I were working with our officiant on our wedding ceremony, I knew I wanted to share a poem. Though my post-college life has been dedicated to my column, humorous narratives and blog posts, I still harbor a deep love of poetry. The ability of writers like Cummings to cut right to the heart of readers with one perfectly-worded, incandescent thought just amazes me.

It didn’t take long for me to come up with the work I wanted read. After asking my matron of honor — my lovely sister — if she’d mind a little public speaking, we settled on “[i carry your heart with me(i carry it in],” first published in 1952.

Made famous in a wedding scene from “In Her Shoes,” I’ve loved the poem for as long as I can remember — and love that, on our wedding day, it spoke not only to the love between Spencer and me but also to the idea that we can carry the hearts of so many we love. It’s much deeper than that, I know, but it’s also . . . just as simple as that.

I loved it. Katie rocked it. It was a highlight of our day — and included on half of the bookmark wedding favors that left with our guests.


Katie reading


[i carry your heart with me(i carry it in]

By E. E. Cummings

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

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 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)


Reprinted from The Poetry Foundation.
For poem’s original formatting, please visit the link.


Spencer and me


Advertisements

Of which only the heart knows


Sometimes you find a postcard, and sometimes a postcard finds you.

After last week’s post and other musings on my desire to slow down and enjoy the simple moments, the postcard above arrived from Frank in Germany. As I went the Spanish route in high school and know exactly zero German (except, you know, gutentag), I had to rely on alternate help.

Since I couldn’t find an English translation of “Kleines Glück” online, I did some investigative work — and that turned out to be the most fun I had all day. Google Translate never lets me down. For someone madly in love with words, examining the sentiment behind the poem — “Little Pleasures” or “Small Fortune” in English, I think — was fascinating.

I went through the alternate translations for every word, stitching Irmgard Erath’s poem together like a quilt. I’m sure it’s not perfect, but that’s okay. Like all art, it’s open to interpretation. And this time? The interpretation was mine. That feeling was bold and empowering. It felt like deciphering an ancient text — and this text was all too applicable to my own life.

“Little Pleasures” reminds me how truly alike we all are. And how, with our incredible technology, not even language can separate us now.


Little Pleasures
by Irmgard Erath

Each day carries thousands of possibilities
for joy, for hope
and is a small fortune in itself:
Very quietly and unnoticed
in the midst of this noisy world
can the magnificent happen.
There are those small events
that make life bright and beautiful —
those precious moments
of which only the heart knows.


Book review: ‘Broetry’ by Brian McGackin

You don’t have to read too deeply into Brian McGackin’s Broetry to get an excellent feel for the sort of book you hold in your hot little hands. In fact, if you look closely, the cover itself is a dead giveaway.

“I have finished
the beer
that was in
the icebox

and which
you were probably saving
for Friday

Forgive me
this girl came over
so sweet
and so hot.”

Okay, so William Carlos Williams he ain’t. But in this, his first volume of poetry — ahem, pardon me . . . broetry — McGackin does just what he sets out to do: he speaks for the Everyman. It’s poetry about hot women, drinking too much in college and living on frozen pizza, sure, but it’s also about life.

I went into this book with two fears. The first was that the slim volume of poems is clearly geared toward a different demographic (one not nearly as interested in makeup, handbags and shoes as yours truly), and the second was that McGackin would take something very tongue-in-cheek and cute and try to somehow turn it into A Serious Book. You know — with a title like Broetry, I went in expecting a certain thing. And I got it. The poet doesn’t switch from cute and funny to Serious Artiste in the span of 50 pages. McGackin knows you’re reading this expecting a chuckle and a knowing nod, and he delivers. He’s not trying to spearhead a literary movement. He’s not trying to be the next Kerouac or Holden Caulfield. He’s a writer with an intended audience, and he works that.

The concept of Broetry is that we follow our unnamed narrator — affectionately deemed “Bro” in the cover copy — from his early days as high school senior to the post-college graduation years of eating cheap food, scrambling to find a job in a down economy and begging the universe to send him a roommate via Craigslist that isn’t a complete psycho. Plenty of romantic pitfalls greet Bro, too, as he laments the tendencies of his girlfriends to turn psycho and navigates the treacherous waters of male/female jealousies and expectations.

He reminds me of my ex-boyfriend. Actually . . . all of them.

Though Broetry is mainly McGackin’s loosey-goosey, fun way for readers to laugh at their own (or a boyfriend’s) expense, he does touch on plenty of challenges facing quarter-lifers. As Bro is born in 1985, he informs us, I could definitely relate to many of his fears and felt a kinship with our narrator. Written in a conversational, free-form style, the book felt like reading the diary of a friend. Or journal, I mean; God knows calling a dude’s writings a “diary” just wouldn’t sit well.

My favorite poem is definitely “You and Me and the Absurd Amount of Baggage You Brought into This Relationship Makes Three.” It’s also one of the longest — so I’ll share my favorite portions.

“Toothbrush: check. Deodorant: check.
Passport: check. Travel-size carton
of Q-tips: check. Mini-toothpaste: check.
Regular-size toothbrush: check. Book
to read on the plane there: check. Book to read
by the pool: check. Book to read inside

the hotel room just in case you’ve finished
the other books and it’s raining, so swimming
and/or sunbathing are no longer options: check.
Book to read on the plane coming back: check.

phone charger: check. Laptop: check.
Laptop charger: check. Nintendo DS
charger: check. Ipod: check. …
… Memories of the time you
went on this exact vacation with your last

boyfriend: check. Claims that you don’t
think about him anymore, definitely don’t
still love him, and none of this has anything
to do with us having a good time: check.
Desperate desire to act like his mistakes
don’t affect me: check. Do you have everything?

Check.”

I’d say it’s interesting to get the male perspective and this was an interesting, lithe little book of poems, yes, but you’re probably only curious about it for the novelty aspect or ability to share it with the guys in your life. Totally get that, my friends, and I do heartily recommend Broetry for . . . well, for the bros you know.

I left my copy of the book on an endtable and came downstairs to find it in my sister’s boyfriend’s hands. Eric — a vocal non-reader — was reading portions of it aloud while rocking back and forth in my favorite chair, cackling like a maniac. When I walked into the living room and found him with a book in his hands, my eyes popped. He spoke first.

“What is this?” he shouted. “This is hilarious. Where did you get this?”

I’d accepted it with him in mind, actually. And he’ll be the lucky recipient getting it next.

For poetry fans looking for a quick diversion, Broetry is amusing and accessible. Perfect for joshing with the male acquaintances who claim not to like poetry — you know, if you can tear them away from their video games long enough to joke around. As McGackin himself writes in the introduction, “A poet I admire once wrote, ‘Saying you don’t like poetry is like saying you don’t like food.’ In other words, a beet is just a beet. If you’re not into beets, you can eat spinach. Don’t like vegetables? Have pizza! The point is, if you think you don’t like poetry, you just haven’t a poem that’s right for you. Broetry is a poem that’s right for you. Broetry is a literary chili cheeseburger.”

So grab a napkin and tuck in.


4 out of 5!

ISBN: 159474517X ♥ GoodreadsLibraryThingAmazonAuthor Website
Review copy provided by publisher

Eating alone

I remember the first time I took myself out to lunch. Not the fast-food variety, either; that was old hat, routine. A real, honest-to-goodness sit-down meal in a restaurant where a hostess greeted me and I had to look up, shyly, and say, “Just one.”

I didn’t have a book or magazine with me (a rookie mistake) — just a bowl of pasta and my cell phone, which I used to scribble notes to friends. I was a freshman in college and preparing for a night shift at work. I needed a heavy meal to make it through the evening, I decided, and stepping into this new sense of independence was like donning a foreign skin — uncomfortable and itchy and strange. I was 18 and had never dined alone. I hurried through the meal, paid my bill and left. Though proud of myself, it was vaguely unsettling.

Now I don’t mind eating alone. My lunch break is a refuge from an otherwise busy day at the newspaper where I sit writing and answering emails, lost in a paper world and far from my own thoughts. I never leave home without a book — ever — and am often fondly teased for always having a paperback nearby. Though it’s costly and time-consuming, I go out to lunch every day. The usual haunts near my office become a place in which I’m lost to the world, picking at a salad or biting into a crisp sandwich.

I don’t mind eating with others, of course, and rarely turn down a lunch date. On the Fridays my boyfriend isn’t working, Spencer meets me in town to catch up and make eyes across a table. My sister and dad pop out to meet me once or twice a week. And my mother often calls to meet on Fridays, after she’s run errands and is looking for a buddy.

But the other days — most days? I watch the clock and anticipate where to run, never minding the fact that I walk in alone, order alone, eat alone. Characters in novels keep me company, and I eagerly anticipate returning to a world that is not my own. I don’t feel lonely . . . most of the time.

I live a quiet life, maybe a solitary life. And I often think about that college freshman, that girl afraid of looking out-of-place, and I think about how I’ve changed and grown and learned — and of the poets and stories and books that have defined me. And I think of Li-Young Lee — my favorite poet — and this poem. Because I love it, and because it is true.


Eating Alone
By Li-Young Lee

I’ve pulled the last of the year’s young onions.
The garden is bare now. The ground is cold,
brown and old. What is left of the day flames
in the maples at the corner of my
eye. I turn, a cardinal vanishes.
By the cellar door, I wash the onions,
then drink from the icy metal spigot.

Once, years back, I walked beside my father
among the windfall pears. I can’t recall
our words. We may have strolled in silence. But
I still see him bend that way-left hand braced
on knee, creaky-to lift and hold to my
eye a rotten pear. In it, a hornet
spun crazily, glazed in slow, glistening juice.

It was my father I saw this morning
waving to me from the trees. I almost
called to him, until I came close enough
to see the shovel, leaning where I had
left it, in the flickering, deep green shade.

White rice steaming, almost done. Sweet green peas
fried in onions. Shrimp braised in sesame
oil and garlic. And my own loneliness.
What more could I, a young man, want.

Book review: ‘The Hunchback of Neiman Marcus’ by Sonya Sones

Holly Miller is struggling. First there’s her upcoming fiftieth birthday, an event that is “rushing at her like a freight train.” And she’s a writer who can’t write, vacillating between despair and ambivalence about her writer’s block — even with her young editor breathing down her neck. But those issues are nothing compared to her worry over her mother’s deteriorating health, or the fact that her only child is getting ready to leave for college. And then she’ll be alone . . . with her husband, Michael. Sturdy, dependable, artsy and adorable Michael.

But even Michael can’t save her this time.

Told completely in verse, Sonya Sones’ The Hunchback of Neiman Marcus is a novel unlike any I’ve read before. Sones’ poetry comprises all of Holly’s story, giving us vignettes of our narrator’s day-to-day life that are often poignant and hilarious.

Some are gems — moments of sparkly brilliance so bright, I had to actually set the book down for a moment. Others are comprised of the mundane, filling us in on Holly’s jealousy regarding her husband spending time with another parent or her terrible posture. But through and through, Sones’ characters burst forth between stanzas and painted a very realistic portrait of people I truly felt like I knew. In many ways, it was like reading a real diary.

Unfortunately, I don’t think I was able to appreciate this one in quite the way that others might. I’m hesitant to say this, risking everyone pelting me with tomatoes, but I actually think I was . . . too young.

Wait — don’t go yet! Before you reach in and smack my smug 25-year-old face, let me explain.

Holly is going through “the change,” you see, and I don’t just mean menopause (though that’s how the story opens). Her nest is nearly empty. Her only daughter, Samantha, is more than just a child — she’s Holly’s dear friend, and the light of her life. She and Michael aren’t quite sure how to function without her. On top of that, Holly is grappling with her own aging and fears for her mother, Myra, who is hospitalized and medicated for a myriad of illnesses.

I understood what she was going through — really, I did. And I could certainly appreciate the crystalline picture Holly paints of her emotions as she scuttles through everyday life, trying to adjust to the changing world around her. When she mentions feeling “homesick” while talking to Samantha, away at school, my heart twisted. “I don’t get it,” she writes. “Why do I feel homesick / when she’s the one so far from home?”

Heartache.

Maybe that’s why this one didn’t resonate for me the way I imagine it would for others, especially mothers: I didn’t let it. Though eight years her senior, I felt like I was Samantha — preparing to take flight and leave the nest, casting my own mother into a sea of anxiety and sadness.

And, you know. I have enough to worry about as it is.

So here’s the score, friends: I really enjoyed reading this book, gobbled it up in a matter of hours and felt sad that it ended so soon. That being said, I don’t think I was the best audience to fully appreciate The Hunchback of Neiman Marcus; it would be something I’d hand over to my mom . . . though I’m not going to. It would feel too much like her real, everyday life. And, like me, she reads to escape. It would be too painful.

So that’s my beef. Sones’ book is too real. At times, it actually hurt.


3 out of 5!

ISBN: 0062024671 ♥ GoodreadsLibraryThingAmazonAuthor Website
Review copy provided by TLC Book Tours in exchange for my honest review

“First Poem For You” was the first poem for me

In my infinite wisdom (or just desire to not have to take a gym class), I signed up for a poetry class my senior year of high school. I was already writing quite a bit at the time, piecing thoughts together as prose and poetry when we sat down for our first class. Our teacher was a young, sensitive man who actually wrote some of his own stuff, too; we often begged him to read us his material. And he’s the one who poured Kim Addonizio on me for the first time.

Hearing him read “First Poem For You” was like someone throwing hot battery acid on my skin. What was once quiet, these little stretches of my heart, expanded. Here was a poem that spoke to me in a way that Dickinson, Shakespeare or Frost never could. Here were words that meant something, that resonated; here was contemporary poetry.

And I’ve never forgotten it.

In college, I went on to major in English Literature and entered into my university’s creative writing program, where I scribbled my own poetry and had it critiqued and graded by poets-as-professors and peers. In my four years in the English department, I thumbed through countless anthologies and heard a million sonnets, limericks and rhymes.

But nothing has superceded Addonizio’s “First Poem For You” in my mind; nothing can nudge it out as My Most Favorite Of All Poems Of All Time. 

Eight years after first hearing it, I’m still reading — and loving — this poem. It morphs each time I scan it, offering me a little more than what I saw before. It’s about permanence, transience; about loving despite knowing that someday, it could all be ripped away. That it will be ripped away as things change and take shape. That we will change as our lives take shape.

But some things never change.


First Poem for You

I like to touch your tattoos in complete
darkness, when I can’t see them. I’m sure of
where they are, know by heart the neat
lines of lightning pulsing just above
your nipple, can find, as if by instinct, the blue
swirls of water on your shoulder where a serpent
twists, facing a dragon. When I pull you

to me, taking you until we’re spent
and quiet on the sheets, I love to kiss
the pictures in your skin. They’ll last until
you’re seared to ashes; whatever persists
or turns to pain between us, they will still
be there. Such permanence is terrifying.
So I touch them in the dark; but touch them, trying.


It’s one line that haunted me and haunts me still: “Whatever persists or turns to pain between us . . .” I’ve yet to find a more gorgeous moment in a poem. It’s work like this that, once again, makes me question whether I could possibly rip something that honest and real out of me. I hope to God I can.



Addonizio, who lives and writes in California, has authored two novels and five poetry collections, one of which — Tell Me — was nominated for a National Book Award. “First Poem For You” comes from her collection The Philosopher’s Club, published in 1994. Her website is www.kimaddonizio.com.

Thank you to Serena of Savvy Verse & Wit for sponsoring the National Poetry Month Blog Tour! Visit her to read many other great posts on fabulous poets during the month of April.


Two Girls Read Shakespeare: Sonnets 30 & 109

Welcome to another Friday of Two Girls Read Shakespeare! If you’re just joining us, Nicole (of Linus’s Blanket) and I have embarked on a project to spend this spring with Mr. William Shakespeare, that most classic of playwrights and poets. Read more about our project here and check out the first installment of sonnets here.

Nicole: Now Meg you picked these two out or us to study. What made you think that Sonnets 30 and 109 would be good to examine together?

Megan: For me, Sonnet 109 has a really different “feel” than many of the others — and definitely different than Sonnets 18 and 130! The tone of the poet here is almost boastful while still being imploring as he admits to having been unfaithful and “false of heart.” On the flip side, Sonnet 30 features a speaker who is melancholy and “paying” debts — through grief — as though they haven’t already been satisfied. The two tones here, so different, really appealed to me!


Sonnet 30

When to the sessions of sweet silent thought,
I summon up remembrance of things past,
I sigh the lack of many a thing I sought,
And with old woes new wail my dear time’s waste:
Then can I drown an eye (unused to flow)
For precious friends hid in death’s dateless night,
And weep afresh love’s long since cancelled woe,
And moan th’ expense of many a vanished sight.
Then can I grieve at grievances foregone,
And heavily from woe to woe tell o’er
The sad account of fore-bemoaned moan,
Which I new pay as if not paid before.
But if the while I think on thee (dear friend)
All losses are restored, and sorrows end.


Megan: In Sonnet 30, we meet a narrator whose mind drifts to the past and friends he’s lost, either through death or other circumstances. Lovers, too, seem to have gone by the wayside, and the poet weeps “afresh love’s long since canceled woe.” By the end of the sonnet, of course, the speaker’s hope and faith have been restored by thinking of a new “dear friend” — and all that suffering drifts away.

What really struck me about this sonnet was one particular line: “Which I new pay as if not paid before.” In the context of the whole poem, I took it to mean feeling grief all over again — experiencing pain as if we haven’t hurt before, and as if this hasn’t already broken us. Sometimes heartbreak feels like that, doesn’t it? Like “paying” a debt again and again with no end in sight. That definitely resonated with me.

Nicole: My first thoughts, I must confess were not as deep as my partner in crimes’ thoughts were. I saw the line, “I summon up remembrance of things past”, and thought, “So that is where that phrase comes from!” I had to read this one a few times (like I didn’t have to do with all the others!), but somehow I felt like the language was a lot more flowery than what we read last week, and I had more difficulty getting at the meaning behind the words. I understood maybe the first 4-6 lines and then it got a little crazy.

As I got to the end of the sonnet I felt like I was seeing a pattern emerge, and that Shakespeare was really obsessed with immortality and keeping things alive through memory because there he is again saying that he can be happy as long as he has his memories of his dead friends. Would you agree Meg?

Megan: Absolutely! Shakespeare is very preoccupied with living through and beyond words — and, through the sonnets, keeping alive those whom he loves. We saw this obsession in Sonnet 18 last week — how we all age and eventually die, but as long as Shakespeare’s poetry is available, his loves live on. Sounds like our man William was living in a constant existential crisis! And, you know, I can relate to that.

Nicole: Yes! He sounds very angsty and brooding. I think he might have been a hipster and would have lived out in Williamsburg in Brooklyn had he been alive today.

Megan: Oh, I can totally see that now — with the skinny jeans and a notebook, lounging under a tree and looking at all of the young families with their strollers, curling up a lip at the other hipsters with their Starbucks cups and iPhones. I think Shakespeare would be living off the grid, lost in deep thoughts and distancing himself from society.

Nicole: Or maybe living underneath the city in the subway tunnels! But we digress. On to 109!


Sonnet 109

O never say that I was false of heart,
Though absence seemed my flame to qualify,
As easy might I from my self depart,
As from my soul which in thy breast doth lie:
That is my home of love, if I have ranged,
Like him that travels I return again,
Just to the time, not with the time exchanged,
So that my self bring water for my stain,
Never believe though in my nature reigned,
All frailties that besiege all kinds of blood,
That it could so preposterously be stained,
To leave for nothing all thy sum of good:
For nothing this wide universe I call,
Save thou my rose, in it thou art my all.


Megan: Sonnet 109 really made me think. According to my handy-dandy Folger Shakespeare Library edition, the poet is imploring his love to recognize that though he has strayed and been unfaithful, he should be forgiven — because he’s returned. There’s no promise to do better, of course, nor any apology for having presumably hurt his love. “O never say that I was false of heart” — never claim that I didn’t love you! Except, you know, you were gone and cheating on me. This sonnet feels really different to me. Am I just projecting here? Was that a vibe you got, Nicole?

Nicole: I definitely got that vibe and it got my dander up as I was reading it. It’s a lot like things I have experienced with dating and with my own friends where men kind of run around and then when they get ready just show up again on their terms and when they are ready to deal with a relationship. No questions asked. Not that we would have these problems with our boy Billy because once again he is talking about another dude.

Another very modern poet thinks along similar lines.

Still I left you for months on end*
It’s been months since I checked back in
Was somewhere in a small town, somewhere lockin a mall down
Woodgrain, four and change, armor all down
I can understand why you want a divorce now
Though I can’t let you know it, pride won’t let me show it
Pretend to be heroic, that’s just one to grow with
But deep inside a n***a so sick

I think he was just expecting to show up again after he got finished on tour and with whomever he was keeping time and pick up where things left off but his girl had made other plans! Good for her.

Megan: Excellent tie-in with modern language, Nicole — color me impressed! From Will to Jay-Z, the boys keep trying to run games with us. Some things never change.

Nicole: I have to say that Jay gives more reasons than Will though for his shenanigans. Misguided and delusional reasons that ultimately don’t matter, but he does give you a little more to work with.


Further Discussion


Q: In Sonnet 109, the poet claims that despite his infidelities, he has returned to his lover — and should be forgiven. Would a carefully-worded sonnet be enough to gain back your trust?

Nicole: Uh, no. I think for me there is a certain period where I can be actively engaged and invested in working on a relationship but when you disappear, then I have to make my peace with that and move on. At that point it will take a lot more than some pretty words for me to consider rearranging my life for someone who has proved unfaithful and untrustworthy. Nice try Will!

Megan: I’m a sucker for pretty words, but I don’t think someone showing up and saying, “Hey, I know I haven’t exactly been around — but you are ‘my home of love,’ so, let’s just pick up where we left off. Sound good?” would be enough for me. The sentiment in Sonnet 109 is almost challenging.

Nicole: Challenging is such a nice word for it.

Megan: Oh, you know, I try to be diplomatic. “Condescending” could have also worked there, I think.

Nicole: Along with arrogant, selfish, ego-maniacal… I could go on. But I’ll stop here.


Q: Does the “dear friend” of Sonnet 30 seem to be a friend or lover? Would mere friendship be enough to heal old wounds, especially heartbreak?

Megan: Though friendship has the power to help and save us, I’m not sure it is enough to erase the past. The “dear friend” here seems to be a lover or potential lover — and that makes sense to me in the context. Friends are definitely the people you need to wrap an arm around you during times of heartache, but the Bard’s “remembrances of things past” seem very melancholy. He’d probably need more than friendship to help him process those memories!

Nicole: I would think that it was romantic too because I think that we tend to attach intensely melancholy feelings to failed relationships for far longer than we do with friends. When he says “And weep afresh love’s long since cancell’d woe”, that sounds pretty intense to me. I think feelings can be more intense where the potential for a lover was lost just because we usually have fewer of them running around our lives. People can’t compensate for other people, but we do grow up used to the idea that we might lose friends as we progress through different stages in our lives- like moving, changing schools, changing jobs, and just changing in general. With love we are trained to keep it, and usually won’t let it go “without a fight”. People will pay some pretty high costs to keep love.

Megan: So well-said! And I completely agree. The intensity surrounding a potential love — or floundering relationship — is much greater than feelings of friendship, as it should be.


Q: What about friendship? Do you look back on people with whom you aren’t friends with anymore and take comfort in your memories? Is there a difference if the friend has died as opposed to if they are just no longer in your life?

Nicole: None of my friends have died, thankfully, but just through natural growth and change I have lost friends over the course of my life. Initially when a friendship is over even the happy memories are colored with a sense of sadness, anger or betrayal, especially now that you know the “ending”. But Shakespeare seems to be looking back over a great amount of time and for me after a few years, and with the wounds no longer fresh, I can really delight in all the fun and crazy times I had with a friend and honor who we both were even though we have moved on.

Megan: I’ve been fortunate never to bear the loss of a friend through death, but I do take comfort in old memories of friends with whom I haven’t kept in touch or, in some cases, “broken up” with. Friendships are relationships, too — not romantic, of course, but still relationships that require time, compassion, understanding and dedication. In cases where I chose not to be friends with someone anymore, or vice versa, it can be a little painful to look back on those times… knowing, as I do, how things have changed. I guess that’s partially what Shakespeare is saying in Sonnet 30, too — that the pain he feels like looking back colors the happy times. But the arrival of someone new, a “dear friend” he can think of and feel better? That makes a difference. But I’m not sure if that’s the case for me.


Join us next Friday, Feb. 26 as we discuss Sonnets 11 and 116.
All of the Bard’s sonnets may be found here.

*lyrics from “Song Cry” by Jay-Z


What do these sonnets do for you?

Love them, hate them?

Share your thoughts with us!