I suffer with depression. Many themes in this sonnet relate to some important ideas that I needed to help me when I was languishing at the bottom of that angst ridden pit. A lot of the negative emotions sprang from worrying about how I would be perceived by others. Would they see me as weak, stupid or a waste of space? The shame of being depressed compounded the problem. My desire to present myself as being “OK” was precariously held together by lies and a false smile.

Shakespeare’s sonnet urges us to let go of our ego driven need to look good according to the standards of others. Boasting and adorning ourselves with trinkets is a hollow and endless rat race. We need to nurture our souls and take care of our inner selves. Why compete with others when it is their love that you wish to attain? You do not need to be better than someone in order to gain their friendship. We need to help each other navigate the ups and downs of this troublesome thing called life.

I have recently looked back at some of my old poetry attempts and found a few relevant to what we are studying. This one I found was written while I was in the middle of a very bad episode. I find it fascinating to read now and can see many similarities with Sonnet 146. There is nothing like a severe bout of depression to teach you humility and get you searching for what is really important in life. I was in a very bad way so please excuse the language.

MY HOUSE

 

The walls are cracking.

I can see the gaps opening.

All the lavish extensions falling away.

They amount to nothing.

A futile attempt to cover the truth.

The substructure is fucked.

 

My house will crumble.

There is no stopping this.

I have built a mansion

On foundations of shit.

And no matter what I attach to the exterior,

The base support is disintegrating.

 

I fought it long and hard.

Desperately trying to conceal the feeble foundations.

But there is no escaping the simple truth.

I must let it fall.

I must start again.

I will rebuild a new and reliable structure.

 

One that is grounded in truth.

flower-on-concrete1

6 thoughts on “Week 8: Connecting with Shakespeare’s Sonnet 146

  1. Hi Nigel,

    I must admit you are braver then me to express yourself so personally in regards to one of the topics this week, but I commend you for doing it with such sophistication and genuine feeling.

    This may be an impertinent suggestion, but have you ever considered revisiting your old poems, and writing a response to them from where you are now? Maybe engage in a dialogue with your own thoughts to see how much has changed since you wrote them?

    Again, thank you for sharing your thoughts in this fashion.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hey Nigel! Wow! I enjoyed the ideas which you unveiled in your blog this week. Your poem really emphasises what you expressed in your introduction of it, the way in which you analysed Sonnet 146 and how you related it to the problems you were facing, so I think you’re very brave in that respect. For someone to reveal such personal struggles, just goes to show how strong they really are. I find that there are many similarities through your poem and sonnet 146, especially after reading your story. The worries you have, the way in which we as human beings function, all comes to nothing if our souls are not looked after. I also question why we as a society need to constantly compete with each other and step on one another in order to gain something. I just have to note, or more so question if you would change anything to what you have written if you were to write it again (as you posted your old poetry which related to what we are studying). I wonder if this would change the way in which you look at life in comparison to your old self. I find myself reading your poem and wondering what you meant in certain parts, like what you mean as “truth”, because we all have our own version of what is true, whether finding this truth is possible for any one of us, or whether we are all in constant search for this truth. I look forward to reading more of your blogs as this one was very insightful in my understanding of the sonnet.

    Keep up what you’re doing and stay awesome

    -Christina

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hey Nigel,
    I don’t really know where to start, to be honest. I was so moved by your truthfulness and your ability to relate so deeply and clearly with Shakespeare’s sonnet. A person really close to me has depression also, and he tells me all the time the shame and embarrassment he feels when he has to admit that to people. I feel like, from your blog and understanding of sonnet 146, that I am now able to better understand where my friend comes from. I know I will never truly understand the anguish that comes with such a poisonous disease, because who really can?
    What I also found really interesting, was even at your darkest time, you were still able to see some sort of light in letting the walls crash in order to rebuild yourself. I think that Shakespeare hints at this too, in his sonnet. He gives us a way out, to give up on those things that keep weighing us down. Which you perfectly summarised.
    Really great blog Nigel. I really really commend you on your effort.
    Annie

    Liked by 1 person

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