Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Bright star, would I were stedfast as thou art

 I just finished watching Bright Star, a movie about the poet John Keats and the love that inspired one of his most famous poems, his love with Fanny Brawne.
I've seen the movie before, it is one of my favorites, but, without spoiling too much of the ending, I will just say that it is a movie that always makes me cry. This makes me wonder or really want to ask, why do we watch movies that we know are going to make us sad? Or maybe I'm alone in this, but I do know that there are at least a few movies that I know the ending is going to be sad, and yet, I watch anyway. And I guess this could just as easily apply to books. Granted there are also several movies that I know end in a way I don't like, and that I refuse to see to the end. But, knowing how Bright Star ends, I still wanted to watch it anyway. And I count it among the story lines that are completely hopeless, and yet....
Perhaps I'm just digging for a profound answer or something psychological to explain away these actions, but truly, within myself, whether within movies or books, what causes me to walk down such a road? I think a lot of human nature can be observed in this, again, at least in my case. I find myself taking certain paths in life that I also feel I already know the ending and it is not what I would prefer. Is it hope? Hope for a different ending. Hope for a better ending. Hope for a change. Hope that maybe this time, John Keats will return to London in the Spring. Hope that love will conquer all.
Maybe Hope is what motivates the creative spirit that fails many more times than succeeds. Maybe Hope is what motivates the Romantic to open her heart again knowing the hurt has hit more times than healing can catch up or more times than wholeness or acceptance happens. Hope is what believes. Hope gives the heart reason to thrive.
Or, maybe the reason we walk into such an existing dilemma is that we find anything is worth the joy of that one moment- the moment when all is well, everything is as it should be. We hold that moment like a treasure buried away, locked inside, hidden within our hearts. These moments see us through the sad days, through the storms, and through the silences. Such moments are worth ten thousand heartaches, if that is the price that should be paid.

And maybe what is more, all of the pieces of moments make up the daily living of our lives. The sadness lets us know we are still human, that the others that surround us share in this experience also. They can feel the dripping rain making our bones heavy with drenching wet clothes sticking on our skin. Yet they too can feel the rays of warmth in a cloudless day, our eyes blinking to take in the brightness and the light, eyelashes fluttering like butterfly wings. The cold drizzly rainy days are embraced all the more as they heighten the joy of shimmery clouds like organza flitting across a sunny day. We want to feel every muscle tense alongside these characters, hear hearts pounding in our ears and the small catch of breath, for then we too may better embrace our own heart's love, burning like the brightest star.

"Bright star, would I were stedfast as thou art--
Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night
And watching, with eternal lids apart,
Like nature's patient, sleepless Eremite,
The moving waters at their priestlike task
Of pure ablution round earth's human shores,
Or gazing on the new soft-fallen mask
Of snow upon the mountains and the moors--
No--yet still stedfast, still unchangeable,
Pillow'd upon my fair love's ripening breast,
To feel for ever its soft fall and swell,
Awake for ever in a sweet unrest,
Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,
And so live ever--or else swoon to death."

John Keats

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