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Archive for the ‘English Literature and Drama’ Category

. . . begins tomorrow, and that is not an April Fool.  If I spend any significant amount of time indoors (a lot depends on the weather and the gardens) I hope to post poems in April, in honor of that high art which is rapidly becoming extinct in our retrograde, dumbed-down American culture.

While a number of my favorite 20th century poets are still under copyright so that I cannot reprint their entire poems, I can go back to my all-time most beloved of all poets and authors of drama—The Old Bard, himself.  His writings are only exceeded by the Holy Bible.  The Bible being God’s Word will always rank number one in ageless truth, but after that comes a human author who speaks universally to the human heart and psyche like none other.  If this author were required reading at every level of every public and private school, there quite possibly would be no need for the “science” of psychology to attempt the unraveling of human nature.

Marry the factor of universality to the most exquisite use of language, and you have William Shakespeare.  I believe that the works of Shakespeare—as well as those of Milton and other past literary giants, plus artists and composers—are living proof of the Creationist World View.  It is pathetically obvious to anyone but the most deluded individual that mankind is not advancing with time!

Meanwhile, to jump-start National Poetry Month, here is Sonnet #64:

When I have seen by Time’s fell hand defac’d
The rich proud cost of outworn buried age;
When sometime lofty towers I see down-ras’d
And brass eternal slave to mortal rage;
When I have seen the hungry ocean gain
Advantage on the kingdom of the shore,
And the firm soil win of the wat’ry main,
Increasing store with loss and loss with store;
When I have seen such interchange of state,
Or state itself confounded to decay;
Ruin hath taught me thus to ruminate,
That Time will come and take my love away.
This thought is as a death, which cannot choose
But weep to have that which it fears to lose.
 
William Shakespeare, 1564-1616
 
After the Storm

 

Note:  Great poetry has more permanent staying power than even GORILLA GLUE!  The line, “. . . weep to have that which it fears to lose.” has filled my heart and mind for as long as I can remember.  (I was raised when Shakespeare was read in schools, and of course he was prominent on our bookshelves at home.)

We certainly do “weep to have” that which we fear to lose.  The only antidote is to volitionally celebrate every moment that we do have with those we love.  The moment is all we can be sure of, temporally speaking.  The older I grow, the more I rejoice in the moment.  I think of each precious family member, and even my dog, and I simply can not let myself dwell on my very human tendency to “weep to have”.
 
Margaret L. Been — March 31, 2016

 

 

 

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Leeds Castle Stock Photo

Just when we are finally putting our feet up—unwinding from the joyous but exhausting round of Christmas season activities—the Brits grab us, lock us up, and throw away the key!  We are captured, captivated, and incarcerated in DOWNTON ABBEY and its cast of characters.

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So why is Carson so caustically snide to Mosely who happens to be one of the nicest guys aboard?  Will Mary ever make up her mind?  Personally, Lord Gillingham bugs me.  Kind of a slime-ball!  I think Mary’s brother-in-law, Tom, is her soul mate!  And why is Mary so snotty to her sister, Edith?

Cora is acting very silly; maybe she’s menopausal!  You know, the mid-life crisis thing.  I certainly hope Cora doesn’t make a cuckold out of her well-meaning husband?  Unfortunately, things like that sometimes happen “as the world turns”.  And Thomas Barrow?  For years I’ve detested him.  Now I’m beginning to feel sorry for him!  I wish I could hand him a Gospel Tract!

Anna and Bates have been making me cry ever since I first met them.  So sweet, but so dreadfully vulnerable!  My husband, Joe, is turned off by the Russians.  He doesn’t care for aristocracy—especially the former Russian style.  Every week we review how awful life was for common folk under the Czars.  It definitely was!  But Lenin and Stalin didn’t make matters any better!  The charitable Rose’s immigrants have lost their homeland and some of their family members!  And they have holes in their shoes!  

Sarah Bunting may be the most obnoxious individual I’ve ever encountered!  What an arrogant jerk!  She inappropriately wheedled Tom into a tour of the castle when the family was in London.  And her holier-than-thou pontifications at dinner!  Never mind that I agree with her views!  If only she had some sensitivity and tact!  Miss Bunting deserved to get reamed out by Lord Grantham and it remains to be seen if she can become even remotely caring for anyone other than herself and her ideas.  (She reminds me of an arrogant individual way up at the top of our U. S. government!)

But Edith!  She is where I melt down!  She’s been denigrated by her sister, Too Pretty Mary, from Day One.  Edith has matured from a rather irritating, thoughtless young person into a graciously beautiful woman with profound inner strength and a great capacity for loving and giving.

I’m sorry about Michael* and the Brown Shirts.  Horrendous times are coming!  Meanwhile, if Edith doesn’t get to claim Marigold as her very own little treasure, and raise this child with the family’s blessing—yes, even with Mary’s blessing—I think I might scream!  “As the world turns!”

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Now isn’t that the grand purpose of literature be it poetry, fiction, non-fiction, or drama?  To plumb the human soul— absorbing the reader or viewer to think, analyze, identify, take sides, process, and feel?  When captivated by a novel or drama to the point of considerable pondering and getting into the skin of the characters, we grow inside!  Finally the story ends, but our life story continues.

For centuries the English have produced the finest contributions to Western Civilization in the form of poetry, fiction, and drama—whether classic**, hilariously satirical (case in point: the operettas of Gilbert and Sullivan), popular, and/or just plain fun.  What a legacy!  I’m delighted that the Brits have incarcerated me in DOWNTON ABBEY, and  I don’t even mind that they threw away the key!  🙂

NOTE:  A friend, Linda (alias “Sunshine”) has reminded me in her comment:  “What about the dowager?”.  Yes, Maggie Smith is one of those cinema “absolute GREATS“!

Margaret L. Been . . .  January 27th, 2015

*I have a Hollywood-type dream resolution for Edith:  that Michael never had an insane wife, or any wife for that matter:  that the wife story was a cover-up, and Michael really went to Germany as a spy for the British MI6.  Maybe it’s not only Hollywood indoctrination from the 1940s which makes me hopeful that Michael will return to Edith and Marigold.  After all, Jane Austen’s novels have happy endings!

**Consistently, DOWNTON ABBEY has reminded me of a beloved series of novels—the three trilogies by John Galsworthy:  FORSYTE SAGA, A MODERN COMEDY, and THE END OF THE CHAPTER.  These masterfully crafted novels trace the history of a family—not of landed nobility but rather of England’s professional and commercial Capitalist class which came in on the tide of the Industrial Revolution.  Galsworthy’s fiction deals with changes in English society from approximately 1886 to 1930, and his characters are unforgettable.

NOTE:  The above graphic, Leeds Castle, was culled from a royalty free castle website.  The DOWNTON ABBEY sites did not appear to have any Free Royalty Free images—at least that I could find.  So this will do.  MB

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