Ok, my regular readers I think are following this story. I've taken to singing Sonnet 18 to my girls, 5 and 3, as a lullaby. They seem to dig it, and the other day my 5yr old even said, "Daddy I'm not remembering the words because we don't sing it enough." Fair enough!
So tonight I'm putting them to bed, I sing them the song, and in she starts with the questions. "Why did Shakespeare write this?"
"Well, he was writing it for someone who he thought was just the most perfect angel he had ever seen, you see, and he was trying to think of something that he could write about that was as beautiful as this person."
"Because he loved her."
"Absolutely, he loved her more than you can imagine."
(It is worth noting here, for the curious, that my 3yr old decided to lick my arm. "Why are you doing that?" I ask her. "You don't lick people, you give people kisses."
"I'm a llama!" she said.
"Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't realize you were being a llama. Do llama's lick people?"
"Got it. Continue.")
"What was her name?" asked my 5yr old, more on topic.
"It's a mystery, nobody knows! He never says her name in the poem, so we don't know what her name was."
"What's it about?"
"Well, you know how sunny summer days are just the most awesome, happy thing in the whole world? He thinks, hmmm, maybe I should compare her to a summer day. But then he thinks, well you know, sometimes it's cloudy outside, and that's no fun, and sometimes even when the sun is out sometimes it's too too hot, and that's no fun either, so maybe comparing her to a summer day isn't such a good idea after all, because she's better than that."
"Maybe he could compare her to a flower?"
Pause. "You know, that's a very good question. He actually wrote a lot of these poems, you know. This is just one. He wrote over a hundred and fifty of them. And I'll bet that in one of them he compared her to a flower. I'll find out, ok?"
"I know you are, Daddy."
And, here we are. My 5 yr old has put the question to me, did Shakespeare write any sonnets comparing his beloved to a flower? I'm not versed enough in all 154 to know the answer off the top of my head. Help?
(To truly appreciate these stories, oh new readers, you have to dig the scene. We're in the bedroom of my 3yr old. Who is named Elizabeth, who I tend to call Elizabethan because I think it's cool. For her first birthday I actually wrote her her own sonnet, which is framed and hanging on her wall. She has no idea what it is, which I'm cool with. Right now she's pretending to be a llama. But one day she'll understand this whole Shakespeare / sonnet thing, and I'll point it out to her and she'll be able to say, "I have my own?")