Tag Archives: grave

Mother & the Stolen Roses…Friday Fictioneers.

“Put those flowers back you dirty, little thief!” screeched the elderly widow, praying at her husband’s grave. “Nothing’s sacred. Little guttersnipe stealing from the dead! Where are her parents?”

I ran as fast as my little legs would go, clutching the porcelain roses close to my chest determined they wouldn’t break. We couldn’t even afford a stone for Mother’s grave, and father had made the wooden cross himself. Yet, Mother deserved the very best, and I fully intended to give her a proper stone etched with all our love when I grew up.

Meanwhile, the stolen roses were it.

….

This has been another contribution to Friday Fictioneers hosted by Rochelle Wishoff-Fields, where we write up to 100 words to a provided photo prompt.PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.

Best wishes,

Rowena

 

S- Shakespeare Time Travels Four Hundred Years 1616-2016 #atozchallenge

Good Friend, for Jesus’ sake forbear
To dig the dust enclosed here:
Blessed be the man that spares these stones,
And curst be he that moves my bones.

Saturday 23rd April, 2016…NOT…1616!

Shakespeare! Shakespeare! Where for art thou, Shakespeare?

What a coincidence that I am writing to you on the 400th Anniversary of your death. Should I be wishing you a Happy Death Day? My apologies if that offends. Prior to writing this series: Letters to Dead Poets, I never had to think about such things. Indeed, it’s been quite awhile since I’ve written much of a letter at all, since we now have much faster forms of communication, which I don’t have time to explain.

Anyway, I’ve brought you a cup of tea and a piece of cake so you don’t miss out on your celebrations entirely while we chat. You can even blow out the candle.

Click here to view London in 1616 at the time of Shakespeare’s Death.

While others are coming here thinking about 400 hundred years ago, I’m here to ask you about love. I don’t know whether you are the ultimate authority on love but you’ve certainly been much quoted on the subject. Indeed, 400 years later after you died, you’re still famed for your sonnets on love, which have definitely stood the test of time.

SONNET 18

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 dimm’d;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature’s changing course, untrimm’d;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st;
Nor shall Death brag thou wander’st 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.

William Shakespeare

Many would say this opportunity has been wasted on me. That there’s a plethora of Shakespearean scholars and experts who would “die” to have just five minutes with you and are far more deserving. They could finally quiz you about the “Forgotten Years” and have all their conspiracy theories answered. I also wouldn’t mind having a bit of a look at now and then, exploring London 1616 and now. However, unfortunately this tour is well beyond my capabilities as I live on the other side of the globe. By that, I don’t mean the Globe Theatre, Rather, I live in Australia on the other side of the Earth. Rewinding the clock 400 years, this won’t mean a thing to you. However, you might have heard of The Great South Land or Terra Australis. Indeed, for all I know, you might believe the Earth is flat.

By the way, you’d be incredible surprised to know people have actually landed on the moon and there’s currently a telescope zooming beyond the outer reaches of our solar system.  Of course, it will never reach a star but we’ve been getting some magnificent photos.

Anyway, I digress.

Returning to your views on love, my husband and I had Sonnet 116: recited at our wedding:

Us-crop2

Our Wedding Day….The Happiest Day of My Life. I smiled so much, my face hurt!

Let Me Not To The Marriage of True Minds.

 Let me not to the marriage of true minds

Admit impediments. Love is not love

Which alters when it alteration finds,

Or bends with the remover to remove.

O no! it is an ever-fixed mark

That looks on tempests and is never shaken;

It is the star to every wand’ring bark,

Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.

Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks

Within his bending sickle’s compass come;

Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,

But bears it out even to the edge of doom.

If this be error and upon me prov’d,

I never writ, nor no man ever lov’d.

 William Shakespeare

As time’s gone by, these words have gained a deeper resonance and meaning. After all, it’s all very well to fall madly and deeply in love with a mirage. However, what is the secret to staying in love as the image fades and reality sets in? Nobody is perfect and so often opposites attract, just as surely as opposites repel. Why engaged couples might feel overwhelmed planning a wedding and financially crippled by the expense, that’s nothing compared to what lies ahead when those two separate lanes merge. Oh boy! That’s one very bumpy road through unchartered terrain. So, perhaps, we should stop asking why marriage fails and start asking how it’s survived?

Naturally, I started to wonder about your love sonnets. So full of love, surely there had been some incredible romance worthy to also inspire what must be the greatest love story of all time: Romeo & Juliet.

Shakespeare's_family_circle

Shakespeare with his family circle.

Unfortunately, my search came up rather short. Although you married Anne Hathaway and had a family, that marriage seemingly lacks the spark to light the fire. After all, when it came to your Last Will and Testament all you left her was your “second best bed”

So, were these sonnets simply made up and make believe? Something you conspired to put bread on the table and pay a few bills? Or, like so many of your plays, did they take their lead from someone else and the flame burned in another writer’s heart?  No matter which way I look, you remain a mystery.

That said, apparently you did write this for Anne:

Sonnet 145 Those lips that Love’s own hand did make

Breathed forth the sound that said ‘I hate’
To me that languish’d for her sake;
But when she saw my woeful state
Straight in her heart did mercy come,
Chiding that tongue that ever sweet
Was used in giving gentle doom,
And taught it thus anew to greet:
‘I hate’ she alter’d with an end,
That follow’d it as gentle day
Doth follow night, who like a fiend
From heaven to hell is flown away;
‘I hate’ from hate away she threw,
And saved my life, saying ‘not you.’

William Shakespeare.

So, once again writing these letters to dead poets has become complicated, confusing and yet again, I am finding that the  more I discover, the less I know. As Shelley wrote:

“The more we study, the more we discover our ignorance”
― Percy Bysshe Shelley

However, Shakespeare, when you leave people in the dark and play so hard to get, when you emerge you might find, that there’s no one left.

Mind you, your mystique has hardly impinged on your fame. Indeed, all these conspiracy theories have kept you alive.

Anyway, on that note, I must bid you adieu. Unfortunately, question time is over and my train’s about to leave.

Yours sincerely,

Rowena

PS: Do you know what happened to your head? Apparently, recent scans have shown that it’s no longer in your grave. Do you have any idea where it went? No doubt, you’re even haunting the thief in death!

Further Reading:

To find out about Shakepeare’s:  400 Year Celebrations

Shakespeare’s Missing Head: http://www.theguardian.com/culture/2016/mar/23/shakespeare-stolen-skull-grave-robbing-tale-true

 

 

 

A Letter From a Dead Poet! #atozchallenge

Before I launch into my series Letters to Dead Poets, I just wanted to share a surprise letter I received from a dead poet.

Perhaps, I was naive to think that just because these poets were dead, that they wouldn’t reply to my letters. Silly me! When you receive a letter, of course, you reply…especially these days when the art of letter writing is all but dead. Letters are rare and so special, especially when they’ve been written from the heart and are seeking answers to some of life’s toughest questions. Those questions which are so stubbornly impossible to answer, that they’re considered “rhetorical”.

Anyway, given how rarely anyone receives a personal letter these days let alone a dead poet, I guess I should’ve expected some sort of reply. That they’d go well and truly out of their way and over and beyond the call of duty to get in touch.

And so it was…

Dear Rowena,

A dear friend and fellow poet asked me to send you this and I can assure you that we’re very much alive…at least in spirit!

Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sun on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there; I did not die.

Love & Best wishes,

Mary Elizabeth Frye

Well, this really does complicate matters! If these poets who have inspired me aren’t dead, what am I supposed to call them? I don’t know but I will definitely try to tread more gently, being more sensitive and aware of their perspective. That just because they died, it might not mean they’re dead. Not dead dead, anyway.

Don’t things have a habit of getting complicated once you lift off the lid? That’s why I never lift the bonnet of my car and stay well away from the engine. Somehow that car seems to run quite well by itself. Or, could it possibly have a guardian angel called Geoff?

So, before I delve any further into the semantics of it all, I’m going to exit stage left and introduce you to our first “dead” poet.

xx Rowena