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February 19, 2004

Our fellow Americans.
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Let me not to the marriage of true minds

Admit impediments. Love is not love

Which alters when it alteration finds,

Or bends with the remover to remove;

O, no! it is an ever-fixed mark,

That looks on tempests and is never shaken;

It is the star to every wandering bark,

Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.

Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks

Within his bending sickle’s compass come;

Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,

But bears it out even to the edge of doom.

If this be error, and upon me prov’d,

I never writ, nor no man ever lov’d.


(From a comment by Rea, on Eschaton. Photos from “Justly Married”, at ephemera.org.)

[05:08 PM]
Welcome to Electrolite's comments section.
Hard-Hitting Moderator: Teresa Nielsen Hayden.

Comments on Our fellow Americans.:

Varia ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2004, 05:53 PM:

That's beautiful. Thank you.

Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2004, 05:53 PM:

Teary eyed and tight-chested.

Wish I'd thought of that.

Terry K

pericat ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2004, 06:03 PM:

Glad someone did! That is lovely. Just perfect.

(link for photos needs "herf" replaced with "href".)

Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2004, 06:03 PM:

Most of the credit should go to Rea, Atrios, ephemera.org, and Shakespeare, actually. I just realized that they belong together.

Chuck Nolan ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2004, 06:13 PM:

Was that Shakespeare? I thought you wrote that, Patrick.

Trinker ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2004, 06:19 PM:

What a lovely use of a sonnet that I'd started to feel was wearing thin.

janeyolen ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2004, 06:34 PM:

Nicely done, Patrick. Of all the rhetoric I have seen and heard, this said it most succintly and beautifully. Thank you Shakespeare, thank you photographers, thank you.

Jane

Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2004, 06:37 PM:

Tears in the eyes, second time today over this.

"Realizing they belong together" is pretty significant. Damn you're good.

I set that sonnet to music once. Badly, I'm afraid, but I picked it because I like it -- it was also the first sonnet I ever memorized.

Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2004, 06:52 PM:

Patrick, that realisation, "that they belong together," is what I wish I had seen.

I happen to like, a great deal, Sonnet 116, and a better use for it, I am hard pressed to think of.

Collage is art.

Terry K.

Stephanie Zvan ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2004, 06:55 PM:

I was thinking on my walk home about all the stories that are walking in and out of that building, and I was desperately hoping that someone would capture at least some of them competently. I expected to have to wait and watch the press to see if it would happen. I didn't dream of walking in the door to this.

Thank you, Patrick.

Lois Fundis ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2004, 07:07 PM:

I've also referred to this sonnet in relation to this topic, but it looks so much nicer with those photos!

ers ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2004, 07:44 PM:

What they all said. I'm very fond of that sonnet, and I appreciate the sensibility that said "these all go together." They do.

John Scalzi ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2004, 08:13 PM:

It's Shakespeare's Sonnet 116 -- which, I hasten to add, I had read at my own wedding, and therefore pleased to share with other marrieds.

Katherine ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2004, 08:44 PM:

When my mom--socially liberal, but not incredibly so--start sending me and my sisters pictures from these weddings in what is clearly meant to be a subliminal "grandchildren! now now now!" message--
something has changed.

It's so good to see things change for the better--it's happened rarely enough, these few years.

janeyolen ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2004, 08:50 PM:

In fact, this is a poem I wrote and read at Delia and Ellen's wedding some time ago. So we were really on the same wave length.

Impedimenta:
For Delia and Ellen

True minds, two minds,
to minds married
there is no impediment.
(Latin-- impedire, to ensnare.)
But have we got it wrong
all this time?
What is finer than to be
tangled in love's snares,
to be taken unawares
by long looks, dark hairs.
To climb the tower stairs
and see Rapunzel with the witch
breast to breast on the bed,
love to love,
tongue to tongue,
head to head.

True minds, two minds,
mind you, without impediment
become this day married.
(Latin, maritus, husband.)
But have we got it wrong
all this time?
What is truer than two,
coming in the ark,
coming in the dark,
and through till morning's single lark
sings lustily from the park
to waken Cinderella from
her sister's bed, breast to breast,
love to love,
tongue to tongue.
head to head.

Jane

Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2004, 09:20 PM:

Last night I went to an impromptu wedding reception for three couples, all friends. It was a huge thrill. Whatever happens in the courts, this spark isn't going out.

I'm going to try to get a pick-up ensemble together and go down to City Hall to provide some wedding music.

Maureen Kincaid Speller ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2004, 01:12 AM:

Nicely done; and about time that sonnet had new life breathed into it.

Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2004, 01:37 AM:

Awww. That's so nice -- Jane's poem, and Shakespeare's sonnet, and Tim's music (whatever sort it is), and everyone's flowers, and all those radiantly happy people like a cloudburst of love and luck and good will on the steps of City Hall.

Who, seeing those pictures, could miss the message that marriage is a good and joyful and important thing?

Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2004, 02:01 AM:

Normally I do experimental electronic music, but I wasn't planning to inflict that on those nice couples. I was thinking Baroque (I'm also a recorder player).

But I pulled out some sheet music and discovered that, while I can still play thanks to a weekly sword-dance gig, my sightreading is... well... maybe they'd prefer silence.

Jo Walton ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2004, 07:57 AM:

Aww, those two old guys in suits. That's so sweet. Thank you.

Oh, and Xopher, you can sing it to "Stairway to Heaven", the first four lines to the verse, the next eight to the bridge, and the couplet to the last slow bit. There are a couple of bits where it needs a little dexterity, so practice first, but I just tried it and it worked. (Yes, it's eight o'clock in the morning.)

Sasha discovered that most sonnets can be sung to that a few years ago when he was going through a phase of wanting to sing everything. Only _Kubla Khan_ defeated him.

Jim Henley ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2004, 11:50 AM:

Has anyone else mentioned Berlin 1989? (I am so often behind on these things.) There's no reason to think a genuine social revolution won't happen all at once. There seems to be something of the same incongruously sober party atmosphere that attended the smashing of that physical wall 15 years ago.

Chuck Nolan ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2004, 12:03 PM:

Jane, I emailed a properly credited copy of your poem to my wife of four months, Hope you don't mind. It's just lovely, and she cried when she read it.

Barry ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2004, 12:12 PM:

Nice.

A sweet note of spring, in a cold, grey, dirty winter.

janeyolen ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2004, 12:19 PM:

Chuck--I am honored. And the poem has been published (though I forget just where as I am not in my office where ALL things are labeled.)

Jo-- tell Sasha to try Kublah Kahn to "Hernando's Hideaway." I especially like the little frill on "sun....less sea." (Ole!)

Jane

Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2004, 12:36 PM:

"Because I Could Not Stop For Death" goes very nicely to "The Yellow Rose of Texas," and "Jabberwocky" fairly well to "Greensleeves."

Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2004, 01:16 PM:

Of course, all online discussions of poetry eventually devolve to the fact that one can indeed sing "Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening" to "Hernando's Hideaway."

We won't even get into putting Virgil's Aeneid to "The Stars and Stripes Forever."

Varia ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2004, 01:36 PM:

Is that the Nielsen Hayden Godwin corollary?

Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2004, 01:36 PM:

We won't even get into putting Virgil's Aeneid to "The Stars and Stripes Forever."

And it's probably descending deep into trivia to observe that one can sing Anglo-Saxon four-stress alliterative measure to "Haul on the Bowline."

Jeremy Osner ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2004, 03:41 PM:

It's happening all over! Here is the latest from Bernalillo, New Mexico, courtesy of Atrios.

Paul ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2004, 04:35 PM:

Has anyone else mentioned Berlin 1989?

I thought of that too.

Don't you know me Kansas City,
I'm the new Berlin wall
Try and tear me down.
Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2004, 04:54 PM:

Jo: I'd bet Kubla Khan could be sung to some hymn tune or other. That's the kind of music I immediately heard when I thought about it.

MKK

Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2004, 04:56 PM:

Patrick: I hadn't realized you're a romantic. This whole thing has made me have my first real regret about leaving the Bay Area. I can't say I live where this immoderately wonderful and cool thing is happening.

MKK

Ambar ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2004, 06:56 PM:

If looking at those photos doesn't make you choke up, you are dead and should cease walking around and using up oxygen.

That's wonderful. Thank you for the pointer.

Kip ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2004, 09:23 PM:

New Mexico's attorney general just told the clerk to stoppit. "Some Gay Couples Marry," says the AP headline. The governor's Scott McClellan says this:

"The governor has always been a champion for human rights. He supports equal rights and opposes all forms of discrimination. However, he is opposed to same-sex marriage."

Mr Ripley ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2004, 11:18 PM:

Another profoundly moving blogentry. Wow. Hey, most of Dickinson (some with a little tweaking of the tune) can and should be sung to "Which Side Are You On?"

Scott ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2004, 01:23 AM:

I loved this sonnet so much it was read at my wedding . I thought it was just perfect then, and even more lovely now against the backdrop of events in San Francisco.

Good work as always, Patrick.

Elizabeth ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2004, 10:00 AM:

the eightysomething monarch of Cambodia, after seeing the images from San Francisco, has come out in favor of gay marriage:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/3505915.stm

Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2004, 10:28 PM:

IJWTS that Teresa and I were ourselves married in San Francisco, in our back yard on March 23, 1979, and we don't see why our friends of the same-sex persuasion should be denied this privilege.

The minister who performed the marriage is now the official biographer of Robert A. Heinlein. Several people who were present at the ceremony are regulars or semi-regulars in our weblog comment sections. Dying young is strange; getting old is stranger.

Avram ::: (view all by) ::: February 21, 2004, 10:53 PM:

Getting back to 1979 should be the hardest part.

Ray Radlein ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2004, 12:11 AM:

Getting back to 1979 should be the hardest part.

Not for a Heinlein biographer; although he'd have to be very careful to avoid marrying his own mother.

Saheli ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2004, 03:17 AM:

I have to say, that's one of the most striking convergences of blog, comment, photo, history, shakespeare . .well,wow, just about everything. It's so now. Thanks.

LauraJMixon ::: (view all by) ::: February 22, 2004, 11:27 AM:

Jesus, Jane. You are such a writer.

There is something deeply moving about the SF weddings. I'm always impressed at people who have the courage to declare their love under so much pressure to deny it.


-l.

Karen Underwood ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2004, 12:07 PM:

Yaaaaaaayyyyy!!

Beautiful! Thanks so much!!

Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: February 23, 2004, 06:55 PM:

Is it just me, or does the guy in the third picture look like James Coburn?

Terry

Ray Radlein ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2004, 03:33 AM:

I noticed that in your sidebar, you linked to Mike Luckovich's wonderful cartoon from Tuesday's Atlanta Journal-Constitution. I thought you might appreciate the header on the corresponding "Letters to the Editor" column:

"Editor's note: On Wednesday, we received no letters in support of President Bush's proposed gay marriage ban amendment."

(!)

Lois Fundis ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2004, 03:29 PM:

More on the mayors' revolution:

Right there in New York State, the mayor of New Paltz has "mayor performed wedding ceremonies for at least 20 same-sex couples" today.

"The Village of New Paltz's Web site called the ceremonies 'gender-neutral' marriages. And a lawyer for the mayor ... contended that under New York State domestic law, a marriage is valid once it is solemnized by an official or judge."

Reported in, among other places, the New York Times [whence the above quotations], Associated Press, and my LiveJournal.

Kate Yule ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2004, 03:32 PM:

Wooohooo! And Portland joins the party! If David and I weren't already married, I swear we'd do it now out of sheer solidarity.

I did stop by San Francisco City Hall ten days ago when I was in Oakland for a knitting convention. Hung out, talked to people, got misty-eyed, soaked up some history-in-the-making. It is a lot like the Wall coming down: sudden, inconceivable, right.

Btw, the county in question is Multnomah -- three syllables, just like it's spelled -- not "Multinomah". Even CNN keeps blowing it.

Ray Radlein ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2004, 04:06 PM:

From the Portland Oregonian, I found an "Our Fellow Americans" moment that just tickled me immensely:

Others weren't as sure about marriage. One couple hung out on the sidewalk, mulling whether they wanted to "sell out" and marry after 12 years together without legal recognition. As they waited, they asked a protester holding a "Repent pervert, trust Jesus" sign to snap their picture.


God Bless America.


Yonmei ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2004, 07:39 PM:

Thanks, John and Terry - I was wondering what everyone else was on about, until I realised that the unreadable text overlaying the unreadable text to the right of the comments thread was indeed Sonnet 116:

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come:
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

Civil partnership is what we're working towards in the UK - next autumn as ever is, if all goes well.