Friday, February 02, 2007

"A Midsummer Night's Dream"'s most obvious plot is about four lovers, two men and two women, trying to get into happy alignment. The ideal is two couples, one man and woman in each, and the two love each other.

It takes the whole five act play by Shakespeare to get there. That's partly because at the beginning one of the guys, Demetrius, has fallen out of love with the woman who loves him. The other two are okay and in alignment at the beginning, but that changes fast as the night of wandering around in the dark, in the woods, among the magical wood folk progresses.

I have a hard time telling the four lovers apart. I was helped much by a note on the play I read someplace that says, "That's the point." Shakespeare is saying, "What difference does it make?" The people inside these relationships get all bent out of shape, but they are much the same. It's the opposite of what "Romeo and Juliet," as a play says. That play says it has got to be these two and if not, death makes sense.

What I notice most about reading "A Midsummer Night's Dream" is not after reading it, for a few days, I see the plants I walk past in the city in a more intense way. I can almost hear them doing some kind of singing. Corporate plants around corporate headquarters downtown still have their real plant bodies like the bodies of the plants Shakespeare grew up with in rural England.

He loved them. They loved him. I think his opinions about humans in couples changed depending on how things were going with him. The hidden love poem to plants in "A Midsummer Night's Dream"--I feel like that connection didn't change for him

I say the love poem to plants is hidden because when I read "A Midsummer Night's Dream," I don't look out for the plant imagery. I'm very human focussed. What I'm conscious of when reading the play is following the amusing from the outside trials of the humans. So I get done doing that. And take some usual urban walk.

And the plants are unusually there.

The present of presence. Conveyed by words across centuries.