A Vivisection

Since brass, nor stone, nor earth, nor boundless sea
But sad mortality o’er-sways their power,
How with this rage shall beauty hold a plea,
Whose action is no stronger than a flower?
O, how shall summer’s honey breath hold out
Against the wrackful siege of batt’ring days,
When rocks impregnable are not so stout,
Nor gates of steel so strong, but time decays?
O fearful meditation! where, alack,
Shall time’s best jewel from time’s chest lie hid?
Or what strong hand can hold his swift foot back?
Or who his spoil of beauty can forbid?
O, none, unless this miracle have might,
   That in black ink my love may still shine bright.
-William Shakespeare, Sonnet 65
Shakespeare seems to be aiming for depression at the start of this poem. Brass, stone, earth, sea, man; all these things diminish with time, so how would love and beauty fare through the ages? Beauty, “whose action is no stronger than a flower?” And how could his lover’s “honey breath hold out against the wreckful siege of batt’ring days?” I think the author is speaking more in terms of ages than aging. The “For better, for worse” in wedding vows pretty much takes care of the growing old factor of love. So how can he cement his lover in time, make sure her beauty is remembered? There isn’t really a conciliation anywhere; eventually, there’s a sort of conclusion. Shakespeare reveals his hope “That in black ink my love may still shine bright.” I suppose it worked. So far, that’s the only way anything has ever been immortalized, and the fact that centuries later people still read of Shakespeare’s lover makes it a good strategy.
While staying true to the scheme and rhythm of the poetry style that was named after him, Shakespeare uses metaphors to play readers’ emotion like one plays a banjo at an Ozark hoedown. (thank you so much for that quote, John Malkovich) “Shall time’s best jewel from time’s chest lie hid?” is a brilliant example; personally, I don’t think there’s a woman I know who wouldn’t love to be called “time’s best jewel.”
I wonder how old Shakespeare was when he wrote this, to be so aware of time’s depredations. Aware and familiar, as he perfectly, originally describes it as something swift and sentient. Always, it’s something despairable or intimidating. A “wrackful siege” or “sad mortality o’er-swaying.” I wonder how different this poem would be if Shakespeare had had his mind on heaven and eternity…
This poem almost forces one to take in every moment and never take love for granted. To appreciate it and live it. And to love your spouse, even when you’re both irritable old people in a home. For better, for worse…?

Lost in Translation

Those eyes, eyes that with life or love alight

Sought outward, wild, and struck the heart of me

Like twin sparks of green flame entrapped in ice

Or like two spun rays of sharpened starbeams


In a single breath, a heartbeat, a thought

My taught heartstrings did play a quiv’ring chord

When our eyes first met; in them, I was lost

And o’er my heart, I was no longer lord


Then, ‘fore cold winter dropped its bitter bane

Between her and I for the final time

We met first, as lovers, one night again

And kissed on our love poem’s final line


‘Twas for her, from me; a dedication

But to her, it was lost in translation…

Blood Brothers

It’s one thing to be called a friend

To be a real one, another

It is a fact some friendships end

But how to tear apart blood brothers?

Can one split a bond of blood?


Sealed at birth, at breath, at once?

Or offered over riven palms

Recited like a sacred psalm

To hold in fam’lyhood, two souls

Who can’t revoke, once their hands close


-There upon my chair I sat

Musing what I wrought was fine

But “No! Not even close, you hack!”

Said Siri, angered by my lines

“Your iambs lilt, your phrases lack,


your sentiments not here should lie,

so everything you’ve typed, take back!

I will repair this.” she did sigh

So with a searchbar, phrase, and tap

My smartphone helped me plagiarize

Thoughts on… Thoughts?

“If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry.” -Emily Dickenson

I’m wondering what my expression was in class as I pictured a half-decapitated woman. I’m still wondering why Dickenson chose to word it that way; “physically”, instead of figuratively, and not explaining what “that” was. Probably, she felt “that” was a given, meaning the torrent of thoughts that flows out of an uncorked mind. I imagine that short of machete-ing, one could achieve the same affect with the aid of ADHD drugs, which would remove your precious, socially correct, politeness-above-all-else thought filter. Or if you didn’t have a filter to start with, that would also be helpful. Or maybe with Stephen Hawking’s thought-projector, but that might get awkward if it said something you only meant to think. Especially if you’re a normal human with inside thoughts to be kept inside. How does it know when to do what? Hawking-magic is the only explanation, but- I digress….

Maybe Dickenson literally had the feeling of headlessness when she wrote. That would be incredibly useful to a writer, to have no buffer between your thoughts and feelings and the outside world. No need to synthesize what’s in there into real, actual words. One could dream up a term paper, for instance. Or get rich by imperceptibly tweaking an existing story, copyrighting it, and making millions (I’m talking about you, Veronica Roth). No buffers. I’d love that. Usually.