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I suppose, when at a loss for something to say it never hurts to return to gratitude. A refrain keeps going through my mind, these days, of Shakespeare’s sonnet #29. It starts with  “When in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes”.

I learned it years ago for a breath control exercise in a drama course. The idea is to be able to say the first four lines in a sonnet out loud in one breath while doing sit-ups…And it should be a smooth, even delivery. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

The entire sonnet is, of course, beautiful but, then again, I love anything Bill wrote (with the possible exception of Titus Andronicus but I’m not exactly sure why). What comes back to me, repeatedly, are these lines,

Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,
Haply I think on thee, and then my state, 
Like to the lark at break of day arising 
From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven’s gate

That is gratitude. It may be a meditation on secular love but the sublime nature of these words captures it all so much better than I could ever say. So I’ll stop now before I make it worse.

Just in case you’re interested, here is Rufus Wainwright version, just the words and music…

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