Thursday, October 8, 2015

reading aloud

You’ve Lived

All through the play, Hamlet’s
Looking for some hold in the world.
All through it, he’s searching for something in life
To bear the weight of his being.

And neither his father’s murder,
The adultery of his mother
Nor Ophelia’s love --
Things shattering enough
One would have thought --
Is sufficient to root him
In the rank, unweeded garden
Which was what he called life.
He was here without an anchor
In a fruitless sea of being.
And he never evolved an interest
(As we say) ‘to keep him going’ --
He, with his wayward life; he, the lost one.

So take comfort --
Even if you only grow onions,
Breed rabbits or put ships in bottles,
If that grips you, you are one of the saved,
The light shines on you, you can fear death,
Go in dread of the end.
That is to say, you’ve lived.

Gwyn Thomas


A suggestion:
If poetry does not "speak" to you, try reading it aloud.
Simple. Magic.



  1. I read aloud while feeding my babies, late at night, years ago. It works! Happy Thursday, Quinn - XOXOXO

  2. Good post with good words.
    Hamlet is a thorn for me as a memory of the one C in a literature class because, I firmly believe, the professor, a Shakespearean, didn't like that I argued for another perspective on a scene from Hamlet. (Okay so there were other differing view points.) I should have protested the grade, and was encouraged to by some classmates. Ah, a lesson learned is made sweet by knowing for the opposition, being unfair to a student that dares to think, is the bitter of it. Long post, but hey, you brought up Hamlet. :)

    1. Maybe give the ol' Prince of Denmark another go? Could be a fresh start that will pull the thorn at last!
      Honestly, the first time I saw Hamlet after a decades-long hiatus, I was astonished at how much "it" had changed. And I thought I knew those people! ;)

  3. I must admit that I'm so sadly lacking in my education because I never studied Shakespeare in school. I know I'm missing something, but have never sat down and spent any time reading his words.

    1. I honestly can't remember the last time I read a play by Shakespeare, and doubt that I would do it now. But I deeply miss seeing live performances.
      Still, how LUCKY we are that we can see recorded performances on DVD or online! You might like to try the recent Royal Shakespeare Co. production of Hamlet - starring David Tennant - the stage production was also specially produced in video format. It's currently (but temporarily) available on PBS, I think. To steal half a line from Hamlet, "The play's the thing"!

  4. You gave me goosebumps. I do struggle with whether I'm doing "enough" with my life. I try to tell myself that finding a way to be happy and trying to help others to also be happy is "enough". I still wonder... The poem hit the nail on the head. The last stanza truly spoke to me.

    1. Thank you, KB - I'm always struck by this poem, no matter how many times I've read it. And I've made a few people listen to me read it to them ;)

  5. I can vouch that reading poetry (or Shakespeare) aloud works! It's amazing how it aids comprehension. My favorite version of Hamlet is the one with Mel Gibson.

    1. Oddly enough, Hamlet was my first introduction to Mel Gibson, followed by Gallipoli. This influenced my opinion of Gibson's acting for many, many years!

  6. Quinn, I have LIVED! I'm proud to say...and am learning to live again. This poem is wonderful and I totally agree. Doesn't matter what you do as long as you do it with passion and love.


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