Friday, November 12, 2021

Sestina: Teaching Romeo and Juliet

It’s about love. First love. Young first love, young  first love at first sight. But most  of all it’s about lovers kept apart: their parents, their families, everyone trying to stop them from being together.

But is it? The students look up together, eyes blinking questions, first puzzled, then intrigued. Well, everyone is wrong. They are young, yes, but they aren’t kept apart by anyone. At most,

two people know, Nurse and Friar, and most of the time they do more harm, bringing the lovers together, than good. As for their parents keeping them apart, nope, not even close. First of all, their parents aren't aware these two young people even know each other. Everyone

knows about the families’ feud, sure, but everyone in town, Prince to servants, lusts for blood, almost praying for a chance to kill or be killed. Young love has no chance in such an altogether destructive world. So their first impulse is to be a part

of it. That’s our first impulse, too, to play a part in the drama. It’s something everyone has in common, perhaps, as humans. First and foremost what we crave most is belonging to something bigger than ourselves. Together we join in this mad yearning, young

and old alike. So it isn’t about young people being kept apart so much as it is about how, together, in love and in hate, everyone enjoys a good drama. Most of us don’t believe in love at first

sight, but most everyone agrees: it’s about young first love. Such sweetness together. Such sorrow apart.