Remember Your Shakespeare

Remember Your Shakespeare

A Story by Poetic License

She is ever close to me, a gentle guide.  She is the only one who stood in judgment of me and did not stepped aside.  She holds my dreams in delicate fingers like secrets whispered in sleep for only the stars to hear.  She has scolded my path through wily adventures.  She has chastised my penchant for self made injury chasing after tom foolery.  She has seen it all coming, and told me as much, even as I swerved to stand directly into the oncoming path of catastrophe.  

She sat vigil at my bedside, her touch as chill and light as the intermittent pulse fluttering through my bandaged wrist.  She placed the barest touch of lips upon my forehead as I swam amid demons, devils, monsters and worse.  She shoved me into doctor's offices, therapists office, psychiatric offices and group therapy rooms.  She held my hand when it would not stop shaking.  She handed me colored pencils when the panic struck too hard and too fast.   She dutifully watched me taking my pills and checked under my tongue to insure they were all gone.

She has been my silent companion.  She has been my wisdom.  She has been my grace and my salvation.  She has found me at my worse, picked me up and set me right again.  She never gave up.  She never stopped.  All this time.  Even after all this time.

I have only heard her offer a single piece of wisdom.  Only one, and only recently.  She otherwise has contented herself to silence since.

"Silly woman.  No matter how hard you love everyone else, no matter what amount of good you for them, no matter how hard you try to make things better for them... your love and effort stays with them.  You can love the apple and hope the orange appreciates it.  You cannot love all else and expect that you will come to love yourself simply for your efforts.  Love doesn't work like that."

As an after thought, I heard her whisper, "Remember your Shakespeare."

These final whispered words set me upon such a path of Shakespearean tutelage as not even my final senior Shakespear 500 level college course managed.  

How had I forgotten?  I can hear her silent musings that the constant company of a certain Mr. Frost and Mr. Dickens may be partly the cause.  So I read again the texts of Shakespeare.  I began from the first offering in my over-sized codex, held over since yonder college days, A Midsummer's Night Dream.  "Though she is but little, she be fierce."  I smiled, but did not think this was the remembering that needed to be done.

So, I set upon Julius Ceasar, the next offering.  “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves.”  Here I found vast amounts of truth and fodder for a week's worth of journal entries.  I was indeed remembering my Shakespeare.  

Why then I continued my study, I'm not entirely sure.  I imagine it is because she drove the breeze over the pages, keeping them ever turning.  I cannot really say.  She had made her point.  I remembered my Shakespeare, at least all that I thought was worth remembering.

It was in my reading of the most dreaded text... well, second most dreaded then, Macbeth being the first, that I truly came upon "my Shakespeare."  Buried deep within recesses of memory, tucked away behind all the stage clothes, masks, plumes and jars upon jars of stage makeup, I knew that I had beyond doubt remembered my Shakespeare, and upon its reading, readily recited it without looking.  “This above all: to thine own self be true."  Hamlet.

Yes, my darling self, you, as usual, are right indeed.  You cannot glean your own truth from others.  All these years, I have been at it backward.  It does seem quite illogical suddenly to believe it happens the other way round - be true to all else, everyone else and..... yes, I see the error of that line of thinking.

I shall endeavor to remember my Shakespeare here after.  

And no, I did not go back and read Macbeth.  

© 2017 Poetic License

Author's Note

Poetic License
Just past the Jurassic Period, and during the second semester of my senior year of college, already set to graduate Summa Cum Laude and with Alpha Chi honors in English, I decided to up my educational ante and enrolled in Dr. Renaud's fabled "Shakespeare" class. I rather enjoyed much of Shakespeare, in fact I still find myself reciting the St. Crispen's Day speech during movies and always wonder if anyone even realizes that those rousing "live the day" speeches stand upon the shoulders of Henry V.

Five ladies entered Dr. Renaud's classroom on Day 1. We had our Day 1 required reading out of the way and ready to tackle discussion and quizzes - Henry V. Dr. Renaud gave us a single lecture before handing us our essay tests. It was not about dear Henry or St. Crispian Crispen. Now, he told us in no uncertain terms that he graded on a scale of excellence. Since five enrolled in class, one of us would earn an A, one a B, one a C, one a D and one of us would fail. It was a simple display of survival of the fittest.

On Day 2, three of us returned to the classroom, having digested, studied and regurgitated Macbeth until we were much preferential to spending the rest of the semester in the company of poor Urich. Ever since, I have detested that vile play.

At semester's end, Dr. Renaud stated that he could not, in good conscience, assign any of us a grade other than an A, such were our efforts at out-besting each other in each examination.

I am fond of telling the story because I learned so much in that class. I learned what true competition meant. I learned what hard work actually was. I learned to expand my mind and my reasoning. I learned life lessons from Bill, as our class irreverently referred to him, and at the age of 44, my latent, beautiful self turned me back to Bill's infinite wisdom (other than the lunatic ravings of Macbeth) and I have, indeed, remembered my Shakespeare.

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Hi P.L. - I hope all that you've said in your intro/authors notes re: grades etc or indeed any form of successful endeavour - are true... some people are checking up you know ;p

Ahh but this delight you've penned for the eyes and the heart on your own personal Jesus - sorry Shakespeare - I like this very muchly. Will, the inventor of the 'Knock Knock' joke - the smasher and welder of words and the man who twisted my melon as a yoof. I grew to love his writing not at the desk but when the school bell was a long-distant echo and the teacher who placed the seed of the Bard in my mind I have oft tried to trace to deeply thank.

Perhaps remembering is enough...
Bravo dear friend

Posted 10 Months Ago

A amazing story shared my friend.
"Silly woman. No matter how hard you love everyone else, no matter what amount of good you for them, no matter how hard you try to make things better for them... your love and effort stays with them. You can love the apple and hope the orange appreciates it. You cannot love all else and expect that you will come to love yourself simply for your efforts. Love doesn't work like that."
I enjoyed the complete tale and the above lines stood out to me. Nice description for the word "Love". Shakespeare was difficult when I was young. Old age made his work more interesting. Thank you for sharing the amazing story.

Posted 10 Months Ago

The man was indeed brilliant. Doodley said much of what I would say. He plays had so many topics relevant even today, and his characters are some of the most memorable, and sometimes confusing, in the history of literature (I'm looking at you, Iago). His influence has drastically changed our English language. Well done in learning from and paying tribute to this wonderful man.

Posted 10 Months Ago

Wonderful musings of self revelation!

Having endured my own time being taught the beauty and wisdom of Shakespeare, (though certainly not to your extent!) I certainly can relate to this write. The beauty of the Bard's work remains as potent as ever in this day and age, and as you have written in this piece, it was those little,almost aside, lines of wisdom in his plays that one always discovers on rereading his works. The man was simply ahead of his time, not just in literary skill, but in his ability to give the reader the wisdom to living life in just the simplest line.

For me it was always the fate of Hamlet that taught me wisdom and the fickleness of the World and those who dwell on it. It is his defining work in my opinion.

This is a well written piece. So honest and detailed in true heart on the sleeve style. And i appreciated your Author's note just as much.

I think we all do need to remember our Shakespeare. Especially if we dare to call ourselves writers and poets. Fine, fine writing.

Posted 10 Months Ago

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4 Reviews
Added on November 2, 2017
Last Updated on November 2, 2017


Poetic License
Poetic License

St. Louis, MO

There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed. - Hemingway Fyrene ond fæhðe fela missera, singale sæce, sibbe ne wolde wið manna hwone m&ae.. more..


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