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As you can probably tell from previous posts on this blog such as this one, I am a kindled follower of Sweet Master William.

This year, the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust is commemorating Shakespeare’s birthday with big celebrations.  As part of this, they are inviting bloggers  to commemorate this giant literary figure by “posting during the week of April 23rd to tell the world how Shakespeare has impacted their lives.

My first ‘proper’ encounter with Shakespeare came at school at the annoyingly grand old age of 13. Yes, I’m aware this isn’t old old, but I do beg you dear Reader – if you’re a parent or teacher, or can influence what some child reads in any way, make sure they become acquainted with him earlier. Alack, my childhood was devoid of sword-wielding. 😦

Having said that, the sonnets are a really fun way of delving into his world…and that is how I first read him. Looking back, I’d say Sonnet 60 struck a chord with me at the time – even because (in typical Shakespearean fashion) it deals with the ‘dark’ topic of death in such a perpetually fresh and (ironically) ‘animated’ way.

As you can probably note, the “animated” qualities that make this  poem ‘real’ arise from the vivid imagery Shakespeare employs.  You can almost hear the rush of the waves as they “make towards” and hit the “pebbled shore”, see the lines concave and converge “in beauty’s brow”… I also love the final couplet which gives the sonnet its traditional ‘twist’. It’s very powerful and – judging by the fact that we’re celebrating his 448th birthday today – it’s also very true!

Our teacher had suggested we could paint something inspired by this sonnet. Admittedly, it’s no Caravaggio, but I enjoyed working on this task back in 2007:

Looks like the quotes on the white scrolls are rendered illegible on a photograph. You could try going through the poem and figuring out which bit goes where! There is an interactive game to be made to be made there I’m sure…

Hope you enjoyed reading about my first encounter with Shakespeare! How has the Bard affected your life?

I encourage you to comment below and participate in Blogging Shakespeare – there are still a few days left! You can view other stories on www.HappyBirthdayShakespeare.com.

…and have a Happy Bard-day! 😀