Monthly Archives: July 2022

Pic of the Day

Shakespearean Sonnets

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? (Sonnet 18)
By William Shakespeare – 1564-1616

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate.
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date.
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimmed;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature’s changing course, untrimmed;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st,
Nor shall death brag thou wand’rest in his shade,
When in eternal lines to Time thou grow’st.
  So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
  So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

I usually post this poem every summer. It’s my favorite of Shakespeare’s sonnets. Sonnets are one of my favorite forms of poetry. I used to love teaching sonnets back when I taught British literature. I’ve always loved the intricacy of various forms of poetry. Sonnets may be my a favorite, but I also love villanelles. A sonnet is a fourteen-line poem written in iambic pentameter, employing one of several rhyme schemes (Italian/Petrarchan, English/Shakespearean, Spenserian, Miltonic, and a few others), and adhering to a tightly structured thematic organization. In contrast, a villanelle, also known as villanesque, is a nineteen-line poetic form consisting of five tercets followed by a quatrain, but I’m not going to bore you with the intricacies of a villanelle. For me, the two masters of the sonnet form were Shakespeare and Elizabeth Barrett Browning, whose Sonnets from the Portuguese includes “How do I love thee?” (Sonnet 43).

Back to the poem above, Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18 is arguably his most famous, and it is absolutely beautiful. I love the final lines:

So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
  So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

But did you know that Shakespeare also wrote a sonnet in contrast to Sonnet 18? It is known as “My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun” (Sonnet 130). Instead of celebrating his mistress’s beauty, Shakespeare Sonnet 130 mocks the conventions of the showy and flowery courtly sonnets in its realistic portrayal of his mistress. In the three quatrains, he describes how homely and ordinary his mistress is, but in the final couplet, the speaker proclaims his love for his mistress by declaring that he makes no false comparisons, the implication being that other poets do precisely that (and what Shakespeare did in Sonnet 18).. Shakespeare’s Sonnet 130 aims to do the opposite, by indicating that his mistress is the ideal object of his affections because of her genuine qualities, and that she is more worthy of his love than the paramours of other poets who are more fanciful. As much as I like Sonnet 18, I also love Sonnet 130. It seems to say, “She might not be pretty or perfect, but he loves her more deeply because his love for her transcends everything else.”

It’s not what’s on the outside, but what’s on the inside. We all know those beautiful people who are perfection on the outside, but ugly on the inside. They may be nice to look at, but they certainly aren’t nice to be around. Then, there are the truly beautiful people. There are the rare ones who are both beautiful on the outside and the inside, but it’s the beauty on the inside that really matters.

My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun (Sonnet 130)
By William Shakespeare – 1564-1616

My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun;
Coral is far more red than her lips’ red;
If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;
If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.
I have seen roses damasked, red and white,
But no such roses see I in her cheeks;
And in some perfumes is there more delight
Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.
I love to hear her speak, yet well I know
That music hath a far more pleasing sound;
I grant I never saw a goddess go;
My mistress when she walks treads on the ground.
  And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare
  As any she belied with false compare.

Pic of the Day

Watched 👀

Do you ever get the feeling that you’re being watched? One of the things I hated about my last apartment was that I felt like my landlords were always watching when I was coming and going. I even saw them a few times watching me through their screen door. It always made me uncomfortable. However, if you have a cat, there’s a different type of being watched. I walked outside Saturday morning and looked back at my window and saw this:

Without a doubt, I was being watched. The funny thing is that during daylight ours, you can’t really see in my apartment even with the blinds open. The screens block nearly everything that is not very close to them. Therefore, since Isabella is a black cat, all you can see are those green eyes staring out at you through the blinds.

As much as Isabella loved that my apartment has carpet, she really loves the windows. If she’s not laying on her blanket, nine times out of ten I can either find her laying next to one of the windows or staring out one of them. If I have the windows open, she can be sound asleep, but if she hears a robin (the only bird that seems to catch her attention), she will jump up to see it. One robin apparently knows it’s safe from her and will sit on the railing outside and they will have a staring contest. I think she’s absolutely precious when she’s looking out one of the windows.

Of course, there are also times when I find her peeking around a corner looking at me. Most of the time, she prefers me to be in her sight. The other day, I was lying on my bed and she wanted me in the living room with her, so she aggravated me and whined until I got up to see what she wanted. Once I sat on the couch in the living room, she settled down and went back to sleep.

And then there are the times when I’m in my kitchen, and I turn around to see this above me. She can get up on top of those cabinets quicker than I can turn around. She jumps on the counter (which she knows she’s not supposed to be on), then the microwave, next is the refrigerator, and on to the tops of the cabinets where she stares down at me as I am either cooking or cleaning the kitchen.

While in the next picture she’s not watching me, it is one of my favorite birdwatching pictures. This was in the first few weeks of me moving into my apartment before I had my blinds. If you look to the right under the pillow is Isabella’s blanket. I say it’s hers, because she’s claimed it and sleeps on it at least 18-20 hours a day.

Do you have an animal that constantly watches you? Or just won’t let you out of their sight?

Pic of the Day

The Good Fight

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”

—2 Timothy 4:7

One of my favorite Bible verses is 2 Timothy 4:7, which says, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” When I pass on from this world, I would like the epitaph on my tombstone to simply be: 2 Timothy 4:7. I hope that’s a long time in coming, but I want to live this life in a way that when I “finish the race” people can say that I fought the good fight and kept the faith. Even if people don’t think it when I am gone, I hope I will leave this world believing that.

When I come up against people who disagree with my way of life, ethics, philosophy, and faith, I think of Matthew 7:13-14, “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” I know that I have not always fit into the crowd, and quite honestly, it’s alright as long as I remain faithful to who I am and have remained on the narrow path. remained on the narrow path.

I spent many years of my life hiding who I was. I hid in the closet because that was the path of least resistance, and I was trying to be part of the crowd and fit in. However, over the years, I have learned that accepting and loving myself is far more important than being accepted and loved by everyone. The Dutch writer and theologian Henri J.M. Nouwen said, “You don’t think your way into a new kind of living. You live your way into a new kind of thinking.”

In Star Trek, Spock was always fond of saying the Vulcan philosophy, “Logic clearly dictates that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.” However, minority rights would always be trampled upon if this were true. Under this philosophy, we would be forced to remain in the closet because the beliefs (which some people confuse with needs) of the many would outweigh the few. This week, I watched the Star Trek homage, The Orville, and Dolly Parton made a guest appearance. In the episode, one of the characters knows that if she does one thing to save the life of another, then a great many people will suffer. Dolly gives her some advice (and I am paraphrasing), “If you do the right thing now, the rest will sort itself out later.” 

Matthew 5:12 says, “Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” If we do the right thing now, no matter how unpopular or misunderstood it may be, we will receive our reward, and if we continually do the right thing, then we will have earned the epitaph, “2 Timothy 4:7.”

Pic of the Day

Pic of the Day

Certain Phone Calls

My mother called last night. For a variety of reasons, it depresses me to talk to her these days. One of the things she said to me was, “I should have had three children, then maybe I’d have had a normal one.” WTF! She always has something hurtful to say like that. She always has to get a dig in, though she acts like she’s joking, but she never actually says it in a joking tone.

Then, she started in on “that idiot Biden.” I told her I’d voted for Biden because he was a good Christian who went to church every Sunday, while she voted for Trump who never attends church. The problem is that Biden attending church regularly means nothing to her because she doesn’t believe Catholics are real Christians. She’s not the only ignorant Protestant that believes that. She also sees Biden as godless because he’s a Democrat, so she can’t allow herself to believe he’s a Christian and deludes herself that Trump is a good Christian even though I have no idea how that delusion exists. 

I reminded her that she’ll vote for anyone and everyone with a (R) behind their name even if they are a rapist or someone who tried to overthrow the government (Trump) or a child molester (Roy Moore) or any number of complete idiots (ex. Tommy Tuberville). Her response was, “Yes, I will. Do you go to church every Sunday?” I said I don’t because I can’t find a church up here that I like, but I study my Bible every Sunday. I would love to tell her that I have people from all over the world of many faiths who read my devotionals every Sunday and often write to me to tell me what an inspiration they find my writing. She would just get mad and not understand. She can barely use the internet, so it would do no good.

She just pisses me off so much! And, she wonders why I don’t call her. I will probably go home at Christmas, but it’s more to see friends of mine than to see my family. I know I’ll be depressed and made to feel like crap while I’m home. The only enjoyment I get from being with my parents these days is doing all of the cooking while I’m home. I can immerse myself into that and disregard the rest, at least for a little while. I don’t think she understands just how much my mental health and physical health (except for the headaches) have improved over the past couple of years that I haven’t been home because of the pandemic.

Pic of the Day