Here is a sonnet from Shakespeare which, as so often, homes in with razor-sharp insight on to an aspect of the human condition which we rarely confront – the passage of time, inevitable aging and mortality, but we continue to cultivate hope. And he does it so beautifully, with each word making its mark. He is the master…
Like as the waves make towards the pebbled shore,
So do our minutes hasten to their end;
Each changing place with that which goes before,
In sequent toil all forwards do contend.
Nativity, once in the main of light,
Crawls to maturity, wherewith being crown’d,
Crooked eclipses ‘gainst his glory fight,
And Time that gave doth now his gift confound.
Time doth transfix the flourish set on youth
And delves the parallels in beauty’s brow,
Feeds on the rarities of nature’s truth,
And nothing stands but for his scythe to mow:
And yet to times in hope, my verse shall stand
Praising thy worth, despite his cruel hand.
And look at the balance of the poem – the first twelve lines inexorably going through the unstoppable effects of time, from birth to youth, to maturity, to old age until nothing stands in the way of death, waiting with its scythe to take yet another life. I especially appreciate the image of time which “delves the parallels in beauty’s brow” – bringing lines and wrinkles on to the face which was beautiful in its youth.
But the last two lines show us that we have a choice -we can choose hope, effort, endeavour, achievement even as Time moves us on through the passage of a life. Yes, we will all end up dead, but we can ensure we are not forgotten if we continue striving, hoping, and working. Inspirational, Mr. S.
The Poetry Dude