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Of the many poets who loved another of their own gender, the one who comes first to mind when I hear ranting about same-sex marriage on the religious right and the political right (is there a difference?) is William Shakespeare.
You know, the playwright who for 400 years has fascinated audiences and readers with the true-to-life characters he creates and the language he uses to explore the human spirit.
Shakespeare also wrote 154 sonnets, published perhaps without his authorization in 1609, most of which were addressed to a beautiful young man. And one of those sonnets I would like to put into the ear of every politician, U.S. Sen. Larry Craig included, who denies others the right to marry those they love. Sonnet 116 begins, ?Let me not to the marriage of true minds admit impediments.?
Although scholars debate whether the sonnets are in the order Shakespeare would have wanted, the series begins in a most peculiar way. The first dozen sonnets basically say, ?You are so incredibly beautiful, it would be a sin for you not to breed to make sons as beautiful as you.? The young man is the subject of the first 126 sonnets.
The sonnets reveal Shakespeare as utterly under the young man?s spell, the heartache from unfaithfulness, the rivalry with another poet who also writes poems to the young man, and a mysterious dark lady and the suggestion of a m?nage a trois.
Whether Shakespeare?s love for the young man was sexual has been much debated, but it was certainly erotic, and there are enough sexual references that I don?t see why people are still arguing about it. He reverses gender roles, makes elaborate puns about his erection and displays the gamut of emotions from delight to despair. The relationship sounds pretty realistic.
When most people quote the sonnets, they assume the poems are addressed to a woman. For example, ?Shall I compare thee to a summer?s day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate ?? might in our time, with persistent gender expectations, seem a more appropriate way of talking to a woman. Other famous openings include ?Being your slave, what should I do but tend upon the hours and times of your desire?? and ?Sweet love, renew thy force? and ?Farewell! Thou art too dear for my possessing? and ?Not marble, nor the gilded monuments/ of princes, shall outlive this powerful rhyme,/ but you shall shine more bright in these contents/ than unswept stone, besmeared with sluttish time.?
But Shakespeare is not ruled by conventional norms in these private poems he writes from his heart. So even though his language is dated and his turn of phrase antique, his spirit is advanced far beyond what Sen. Craig might heed or even understand. Shakespeare?s travail with love is a story that can help us understand our own.
One of the most poignant of the sonnets, 73, is also one of the most perfect in form. In his declining years, Shakespeare characterizes himself as autumn, as the setting sun, and as a dying fire, each image compacted in one of three four-line units, each with alternating end rhymes. The sonnet concludes with gratitude for the devotion of his young friend who realizes Shakespeare is approaching death, and therefore loves more intensely what is about to be lost. As with most poetry, these are words to be read aloud. The music of the language carries the pictures into our hearts.
That time of year thou mayst in me behold
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruined choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.
In me thou seest the twilight of such day
As after sunset fadeth in the west,
Which by and by black night doth take away,
Death?s second self that seals up all in rest.
In me thou see?st the glowing of such fire
That on the ashes of his youth doth lie,
As the death-bed whereon it must expire
Consumed with that which it was nourish?d by.
This thou perceivest, which makes thy love more strong,
To love that well which thou must leave ere long.
The Rev Vern Barnet, DMn., does consulting, teaching and writing for religious and educational organizations here. His Kansas City Star column appears each Wednesday.
After the last 2 years of dealing with the pandemic and packing on those COVID pounds here are some motivational quotes that can be the spark plugs to our wellness engines. You can have a full tank of gas, a clean carburetor, all the fluids topped off, and 300 horsepower of Detroit’s finest under the hood, but you’re going nowhere without that initial spark. In your quest for well-being, you need a catalyst to move you from idle to ideal. Here are some motivational jolts to inspire you to get your health and fitness vehicle moving.
Make time for exercise each dayPhoto by Victor Freitas on Unsplash
Thomas Paine said, “The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.” You will have conflicts with making time for exercise each day. The treadmill will conflict with your enjoyment of the living-room couch and its fluffy pillows. Your body will engage in conflict with dumbbells and exercise balls as it seeks better health. Embrace these conflicts with excitement, and walk through the smoke and fire. Triumph is waiting on the other side.
Marathon runnersPhoto by Miguel A. Amutio on Unsplash
John F. Kennedy said, “Things do not happen. Things are made to happen.” The firefighter’s 55-pound weight loss did not just happen one day on a call. The computer programmer’s success in the Chicago Marathon did not just happen on a Sunday in October. The 4th grade teacher’s significant drop in cholesterol level did not just happen the day before spring break. These people made things happen…and it took time.
Ralph Marston of The Daily Motivator website, wrote, “What you do today can improve all your tomorrows.” Let today be the first day in 28 years without a cigarette. Stay an extra five minutes on the recumbent bike at the gym today. Start training today for the three-day breast cancer walk that is scheduled for the fall. Tomorrow is always waiting to see what you put in your piggy bank today. Invest wisely and watch the dividends grow.
Full MoonPhoto by CHUTTERSNAP on Unsplash
Jill McLemore once said, “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you will land amongst the stars.” Set that goal to trim 75 pounds from your body. Only losing 42 pounds puts you way out there with the North Star. Aim to run 750 miles this year. Coming up 68 miles short will still put you past that former planet Pluto and on your way to the Orion constellation. Dropping eight waist sizes by Christmas instead of the projected 10 will let you glow with the luminescence of several brilliant wonders in the sky. By the way, I think there’s a full moon tonight!
Zig Ziglar stated, “You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.” Tom Cruise was another aspiring pretty face in Hollywood about 30 years ago before starting to audition for parts in TV shows. Jared Fogle was a morbidly obese college student at Indiana University in the 1990s before beginning his Subway diet. Mark Zuckerberg was just another starry-eyed Ivy Leaguer until he began to implement a social network idea. They all have that common bond: They started something.
These motivational quotes should help get your wellness engine running and once your car is started there’s no telling where your health and fitness can go. Don't forget to end me a postcard when you get there!
This health and fitness article is brought to you by that guy who’s sneaky like a black hole and bright like a nebula. My name is Ron Blake and I can be found playing with my telescope at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Stay safe and get tested!
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Is there any cost?
Regarding the tests, there is no out of pocket cost to the individual. Through the CARES act, all individuals with health insurance will be covered for a COVID-19 test. No one is ever charged a copay or deductible.
For uninsured individuals, they are covered under the HRSA fund under the CARES act. Curative will never send a bill to any individual getting a COVID-19 test through any of our testing sites.
How soon do I get the results?
Curative provides results within 24 hours of arrival at our lab (if not sooner). We pride ourselves on our ability to distribute tests rapidly, test patients easily, and send them their results quickly. Other highlights include:
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Please visit curative.com to schedule your no-cost appointment TODAY at a site nearest to you. Together we can end this pandemic!
Curative believes that communal well-being is fundamental to individual health.
Curative is building infrastructure to make essential health services easier to access for everyone. Their infrastructure is designed to change as the world does—offering nearby access, affordable services, and science-based guidance.
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“I wish I could work out, too, but I just don’t have the motivation!”
Give me a dollar for every time I’ve heard that and I’d be in Cabo San Lucas with an umbrella drink right now. Let’s identify a few of your motivations to get you on the right path. They are there … you just need to realize them so you can make it a great 2022.
How about getting healthy so you can be at that Christmas celebration in 30 years with all the family gathered around and exchanging presents? There will be nieces, nephews, brothers, sisters, children and maybe some grandchildren, all enjoying the sounds and sights of the season. That would be amazing!
How about being healthy so you can watch the first man land on Mars in 2030? You hear all the talk about preparing for a mission to Mars, but it will be a long time in coming. Just think if you were alive and well to see it happen!
How about being healthy so you can attend that 60-year class reunion? It might even be nice to walk into the function with a spring in your step and a glow of health about you! Many of your classmates will have walked past St. Peter and those pearly gates by that time, but you can give yourself a chance to stay here with some proactive measures.
How about being healthy so you can spend more time being relaxed and retired? It would be awesome to just not have to do anything you didn’t want to do! Get up every day and use that watch they gave you as a fashion accessory only. With a healthy body, you can spend ample time in the lap of leisure well into your 90s.
How about being healthy so you can walk your dog with your grandkids or great-nephews after that Thanksgiving meal many years down the road? It will be so cool to have that turkey dinner with all the relatives, but it’ll be even more fun to be able to move around without having to catch your breath between steps.
How about being healthy so you can continue to enjoy vibrant sunsets, thrilling football games, colorful leaves in the fall, summer barbecues, or birthday cards in the mail?
Everyone can find the motivation to work out! You just have to identify which motivation will get you to your starting line each day and which will help you get to your daily finish line.
There are plenty of great things to enjoy in life. Find your motivation and start earning your frequent flyer miles for your healthy life. Then soar into the future with excitement about what will be!
This article of motivation is brought to you by a guy who knows a good thing when he sees it. That guy of good vision is Ron Blake, and he can be spotted on that bright horizon at email@example.com.