Sonnet #2

When the leaves change to yellow and red,

and the trees branches become cold and bare.

When thoughts are no longer inside my head,

you will find darkness awaiting in there.

For time passes, no matter what you do,

Just as the seasons are going to change.

Night changes to day, darkness to light too,

As you can see there can be quite a range.

As time passes, it can be a real friend,

for it can truly cause for you to grow.

One certainty is time, you cannot bend,

and the future is always unknown.

As time can be but a friend or a foe,

you decide which when it’s your time to go.

Sonnet #1

Once again you have made me be a fool,

your lying words have left me in some pain.

Your actions are like a typical ghoul,

leaving me with some thoughts that are insane.

Your lies are darker than the souls of black,

that fill up the fiery gates of hell.

You say them with the meaning of attack,

and your virtue you are willing to sell.

But no matter what you do or you say,

I will preserver through all of the pain.

Peace I will feel while in my grave I lay,

for there is nothing else for me to gain.

So now that your threats damage me no more,

thats all I need to settle the score.

King Lear at Theatre Calgary

Wow, This was just amazing!

So last weekend on Saturday, April 4th I had gone to see King Lear at Theatre Calgary, and my what an experience. It was my first time seeing a Shakespeare play live, and my goodness, the production was excellent. I won’t elaborate too much since many others on the blog have posted similar thoughts on the play.

I will say though that, after watching the 2008 film with Ian McKellen, I somehow feel that this play did a better job telling a more cohesive story. The finer focus on the family relations, both in Lear’s family as well as between Gloucester and his sons, made the story all the more touching and dramatic. I will also say I came into the play thinking that the props and costumes would be minimal, with a focus on performance. Much to my surprise, I found the props to be fantastic, and the stage was flexible enough to convincingly transform into a new setting both efficiently and effectively. Of course the performances were also great, and every performer was able to not only hold their own, but contribute to the emotional weight of the story.

One of the scenes that stood out most to me was the one were Gloucester gets his eyes gouged out. The live visual effects were just gripping, with blood gushing out, and included the Duke of Cornwall dropping a fleshy prop eye on the ground and stepping on it. But perhaps my most favorite scenes were the ones that included the live sword battles, particularly when Edmund was on screen. I find these are quite effective and worth including in a production whenever possible since they really good at holding an audiences attention and provide a nice break from the more speech-y parts, keeping the audience interested and entertained. Obviously the best of these was the final showdown between Edmund and Edgar. I never though I could experience the same epic blockbuster action feeling from a live play, but I’m sure many would agree this was as good as it gets on stage.

If you haven’t seen it yet and are still thinking about it, I definitely recommend it.

My ticket:


-Ishmael Gowralli

Poetry 1: Love Sonnet

Yes… I suck at this. But it was worth a try.

You are like the sun and the moon to me.
For you are there imbedded in my heart,
There to complete the missing part of me.
I wish that we will never be apart.


Sometimes it is hard to look you in the eye,
For your loveliness outshines everything.
It is hard to describe what underlie,
Nor the joy your kind eyes, and sweet smiles bring.


Yet you do not believe that I love you,
For you do not see the love in my eyes.
This knowledge makes me very cold and blue.
Do you think I am wearing a disguise?


As long as I love you I will try hard,
So that you can at last see my love card.

cool neat artsy stuff

I worked very hard kissing pieces of paper to make these visual representations of Twelfth Night and Troilus and Cressida.

Basically my thought process is this: both of these plays deal with gender in one way or another. What’s more heavily gendered than lipstick? And how can I alter the appearance of a simple smooch to address some more themes in these plays?

So here they are:

genres and modes

Twelfth Night on left, Troilus and Cressida on right (in case the quotes weren’t obvious.)

Kisses are more popularly recognized as small acts of romance which is present in both of these plays, but as I said earlier, my goal here was to use one obvious symbol in different ways.

In the Twelfth Night piece, the lipstick represents makeup, costumes and disguise. One half of the mark is intact, representing Viola and her complete femininity, and the other half is smudged, representing Cesario and his apparent lackthereof.

In the Troilus and Cressida piece, the lipstick is lust and the sword is war. In our society, some women are seen as ‘false’ for wearing makeup, and this ties in as well. Not only does Cressida become false because of what she says to Troilus (with her lips, get it?) but for acting on the lust between herself and Diomedes. I drew the sword in because war is literally half of the plot, and I think it works to create a sinister contrast between something sexy and comfortable and something undesirable and dangerous.

She’s the Man versus Twelfth Night

Why don’t we rewind a little and go back to Twelfth Night. As many of you already know, She’s the Man is based on Twelfth Night. I’ll be honest; it took me until the second act to figure it out. When I finally did, I just sat stunned and amazed. I should probably let you know that I have seen She’s the Man more than I really care to admit. I used to love Amanda Bynes (pre-head shave). Any ways, I wanted to share with you the similarities and differences I noticed with this adaptation.

The most prominent difference is that in She’s the Man Viola intentionally disguises herself as her brother (there is no mere coincidence that her and Sebastian look the same). However, Viola in the play and movie decide “such disguise” “become[s] the form of [their] intent.” (1.2.55-6).

Only the main characters are the same in both. Viola and Sebastian are twins in both as well. There is no Andrew-Toby-Maria subplot in the movie because it is centered on Viola, Duke, Olivia and Sebastian. Viola by far is the main character though. Orsino (the Duke) in the play is represented by a gentleman named Duke Orsino- as in Duke is his first name. Genius right? Sebastian, Olivia and Viola are all represented by characters of the same name. Malvolio is represented by a character named Malcolm. Similarly to Malvolio in the play, Malcolm has a creepy infatuation with Olivia although she shows no interest. Malcolm is also similar to Sir Andrew in his repeated attempts to court Olivia and his contempt for Viola as Sebastian. Ironically (well not so ironically actually), Malcolm has a tarantula named Malvolio!

In the movie Viola disguises herself as Sebastian (who is in London playing music) to prove that girls can play soccer as well as guys. This attempt to prove that as a woman she can play soccer as well as the guys allows for several gender references in the movie. Examples such as extensive negative emphasis on Viola’s similarities to Sebastian, a soccer coach saying “girls can’t play soccer” and Viola’s mother encouraging her to become a debutante (class reference!) exemplify perceived roles of women in She’s the Man. Both Violas use their disguise to “allow [them] very worth” (1.2.60) the things women are denied.

The basic Viola-Orsino-Olivia love triangle from the play remains in the movie. Duke is interested in Olivia (whom is pretty and popular) but she expresses her interest in Viola as Sebastian and Viola/Sebastian falls in love with Duke. As in Twelfth Night, Duke requires Viola’s assistance with courting Olivia. The setting of Illyria is similar as well. The school that Sebastian (or Viola as Sebastian) goes to is called Illyria. Lines in the movie are even the same as in the play. The lines “be not afraid of greatness. Some are born great, some achieve/ greatness and some have greatness thrust upon ‘em.” (2.5.129-31) are spoken in both.  Near the end of the movie, Duke delivers the lines to the soccer team and Viola and Malvolio reads them aloud from the letter in the play. She’s the Man and Twelfth Night both end with the formation of relationships. In the play everybody gets married and in the movie there is a debutante ball to which everybody has an escort.

As I read Twelfth Night, I struggled with thinking about and comparing it to She’s the Man. Perhaps, after reading this, you will too (if not you should at least watch the movie). If you live under a rock and have no clue what She’s the Man is, you can watch the trailer here: I also thought I would let you know that the Roger Ebert movie even compares She’s the Man to Twelfth night (or at least makes references)! You can read that here: Lastly, I came across this comparison of She’s the Man and Twelfth night I thought might be interesting: Enjoy!

Ashley Anderson



  • Ebert, R. “She’s the Man.” com. Ebert Digital LLC, 16 Mar. 2006. Web. 9 Apr. 2015.
  • Gounder, V. “Comparison of Twelfth Night and She’s the Man”. Prezi. Prezi Inc, 4 Dec. 2013. Web. 9 Apr. 2015.
  • Paramount Movies. “She’s The Man Trailer.” Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 21 Oct. 2013. Web. 9 Apr. 2015.
  • Shakespeare, William. Twelfth Night. Ed. David Carnegie and Mark Houlahan. Peterborough: Broadview Press/ Internet Shakespeare Editions, 2014. Print.
  • She’s the Man. Dir. Andy Fickman. Perf. Amanda Bynes, Channing Tatum, Laura Ramsey, Vinnie Jones, David Cross. DreamWorks, 2006. DVD.

Argument Badge – 2 Sources

Why was Shakespeare Obsessed with Time?

This entry investigates how Shakespeare uses time in his sonnets to express the frenzied cycle of carpe diem and futility associated with humanity. I will two sources, along with my close reading of sonnet 12 and sonnet 60, to elaborate my statement.

First, it is important to note that Shakespeare’s sonnets were not categorized to reference the calendar. Time is an “abstract category” rather than playing an integral, direct role in each of Shakespeare’s sonnets (Callaghan 115). To further explain this, time has a very fluid, subtle quality in the sonnets, due to it being presented in seasons, age, beauty, and clocks, as I will further explain at the bottom of this entry. That being said, interestingly, Dympna Callaghan argues, “Notably, two of the poems most keenly concerned with time in Shakespeare’s sonnets are given symbolically significant numbers: Sonnet 12 is about the twelve hours on the clock face, while sonnet 60 reflects ‘our minutes’” (109). At first, I did not understand what Callaghan was trying to prove until I compared sonnet 12 and sonnet 60 together by underlining few important words that evoke time imagery.

When I do count the clock that tells the time,
And see the brave day sunk in hideous night;
When I behold the violet past prime,
And sable curls all silver’d o’er with white;
When lofty trees I see barren of leaves
Which erst from heat did canopy the herd,
And summer’s green all girded up in sheaves
Borne on the bier with white and bristly beard,
Then of thy beauty do I question make,
That thou among the wastes of time must go,
Since sweets and beauties do themselves forsake
And die as fast as they see others grow;
And nothing ‘gainst Time’s scythe can make defence
Save breed, to brave him when he takes thee hence (12. 1-14).

As you can see from what I have underlined in sonnet 12, the speaker literally counts the hours on the clock (12.1), which support Callaghan’s stated argument above. The imagery of the “brave day sunk in hideous night” suggests to the audience that a day —or, the 24-hour cycle on the clock— has passed (12.2). Interestingly, the images of nature and a man’s beard are assorted in different layers of each line. First, the speaker notes that the violets are wilting (12.3), and that the black curls of a man’s beard are now extremely white to suggest that death is near and inevitable for all living elements and creatures (12.4). The speaker then skips again back to nature imagery, where leafless trees no longer provide shades for herds, to signify that summer has passed (12.5-6).

The next line’s tone becomes darker, as the speaker notes that the summer’s crops are tied up in bundles, and carried off like the corpse of an old man (12.7-8). The speaker in last quatrain then doubts his beloved’s beauty, since even beauty in nature flees quickly in due time (12.9-12). The couplet informs his beloved the statement of leaving heirs since he cannot defend himself against “Time’s scythe” (12.13), or literally death (12.14). Overall, sonnet 12 is a poem about humanity’s futility against time, and that the only salvation against the inevitable death is through having children.

Like as the waves make towards the pebbled shore,
So do our minutes hasten to their end;
Each changing place with that which goes before,
In sequent toil all forwards do contend.
Nativity, once in the main of light,
Crawls to maturity, wherewith being crown’d,
Crooked eclipses ‘gainst his glory fight,
And Time, that gave, doth now his gift confound.
Time doth transfix the flourish set on youth,
And delves the parallels in beauty’s brow,
Feeds on the rarities of nature’s truth,
And nothing stands but for his scythe to mow.
And yet to times in hope my verse shall stand,
Praising thy worth, despite his cruel hand (60. 1-14).

Sonnet 60, as Callaghan argues above, reflects the minutes of the speaker and his beloved’s lives inching toward death in languid motion, contributed by the subtle imagery of “the waves [making way] towards the pebbled shore” (60.1-2). The words “changing place” and “sequent toil” all suggest that time is never constant, but progressively moving forward with arduous fervor, which strangely and strongly contrast with the calm tone of the first two lines (60.3-4). The speaker recalls the languid tone of the first lines by tying it with “nativity” —that is, babies— and “light” (60.5). However, the innocence of “nativity” is lost as they crawl toward maturity, or fight in the real world for glory and fame as represented by the crown imagery (60.6). I suppose that from the first and second quatrain, Shakespeare sort of hints the futility of humanity and all its hard work through the cyclical nature of life and death. This is further supported in the third quatrain, where the speaker tells his beloved that Time can give and take away beauty and youth any day with his “scythe to mow,” which gives us the impression that Time is ruthless and not empathetic toward humanity (60.9-12). Yet, Shakespeare ends this sonnet with some positivity in his couplet, chiming carpe diem in hopes that his poem will stand against time and continue to praise his beloved’s worth (60. 13-14).

Why was Shakespeare obsessed with time in his sonnets? Georgia Brown argues that perhaps it was due to the pre- and post-lapsarian narratives that were prevalent in Elizabethan times (237). For example, Brown refers back to Milton’s Paradise Lost, where “love-making is leisured and unhurried” before the Fall (237). Adam and Eve lived in the Garden of Eden, which was a paradise where they could both live in languid pleasure. However, the post-lapsarian experience that extends to all humankind destroys leisured love that Adam and Eve once shared. Post-lapsarian love, as Brown argues, is “hurried, desperate, passionate, and impelled by restlessness, ” and that “the apprehension of time’s restless pressure introduces the mode of carpe diem” (238). This is clearly evident in my close reading of sonnet 12 and 60, which both reveal the anguish that the speaker feels due to the cutthroat, cyclic nature of life and death. Both sonnet 12 and 60 reflect on seizing any opportunity to leave mementos, such as heirs or works of art, to remember the beloved’s worth on earth. Shakespeare’s sonnet 12 and 60 reveal how precious time is to all inhabitants of earth, whether they are plants, animals, waves, stones, or humans, since nothing lasts forever.

So where does sonnet 12 and sonnet 60 exactly stand regarding hope and despair that time brings to everyone? Through my comparison of both poems, I believe that sonnet 12 is ‘macroscopic,’ while sonnet 60 is ‘microscopic’ in terms of how we can all view life. What I mean by macroscopic and microscopic is that macroscopic is more of a worldly view, which can be somewhat cynical. Microscopic reveals the speaker’s intimate thoughts, which can be hopeful or cynical. I argue that sonnet 12 is macroscopic since Shakespeare writes about the passage of life in more wholesome view through his incorporation of seasons, dying plants, death in old age, and leaving heirs on earth to carry on your spirit. Sonnet 60 seems macroscopic too, due to nature and ‘cradle to grave’ imagery. However, the couplet of sonnet 60 is actually microscopic because it peers through the intimate, inner desires of the speaker, which is to have his testimony of praising his beloved stand against the conventional time.

In conclusion, Shakespeare’s obsession with time highlights the powerlessness and futility of humanity against time, no matter how much  effort we put into glory and fame. However, it is also important to note that it is not such a bad idea to perhaps leave mementos — such as a collection of poems— for your beloved ones and the future generations to read, meditate upon how precious time is for all earth’s inhabitants, and gain inspiration to write more sonnets.


Works Cited

Brown, Georgia. “Time and the Nature of Sequence in Shakespeare’s Sonnets: “In sequent toil all forwards do contend.”” How To Do Things With Shakespeare: New Approaches, New Essays. Ed. Laurie Maguire. Hoboken: Wiley-Blackwell, 2008. 236-254. Print.

Callaghan, Dympna. “Confounded by Winter: Speeding Time in Shakespeare’s Sonnets.” A Companion to Shakespeare’s Sonnets. Ed. Michael Schoenfeldt. Hoboken: Wiley-Blackwell, 2007. 104-118. Print.

Shakespeare, William. “Sonnet 12.” The Oxford Shakespeare: The Complete Sonnets and Poems. Ed. Colin Burrow. New York: Oxford University Press Inc., 2002. 405. Print.

Shakespeare, William. “Sonnet 60.” The Oxford Shakespeare: The Complete Sonnets and Poems. Ed. Colin Burrow. New York: Oxford University Press Inc., 2002. 501. Print.


writing badge: poetry

i definitely have a lot more respect for his talents know . hear’s my sonnet, or my attempt on a sonnet.


The point of no return is where we head

When life’s never ending challenges did

Beset I promise, my love, we will dread

Every decision we made but, chide

Not our love for it yields our happiness

Don’t remember our torrid days that were

Filled with endless fights; for its mere madness

To forget the love we share, if it were

Up to me, I will mend those hateful things

I said by making every word I utter hence

Twice as joyous as the harsh words that sting

And I promise to adhere to such a sense.

For your love imbues my desire to change

And get back to our former serene exchange.

Soldier’s Homecoming -Sonnet

I wrote this sonnet for my best friend as we were visiting our boyfriends on an army base in (basically) the middle of nowhere. We were stranded for an extra day as weather made it dangerous to drive; she was sad and didn’t want to leave. I, on the other hand, was about to go insane because I had no WiFi or cell reception. So naturally, I ended up doing Shakespeare homework.

This sonnet is inspired by the theme of war explored in Troilus and Cressida. I tried to put myself in the position of the wives and mothers who had to send their husbands and sons to battle. All they could do was wait for the day when the men would come home. Although I haven’t experienced this first hand, I cannot imagine the pain and worry that goes through the minds of those with loved ones currently in battle overseas.

I also apologize for my sorry attempt at writing in iambic pentameter. I tried. 🙂


My love, duty-bound to serve your country;

Rugged and fearless, yet gentle and sweet.

My brave knight in green, marching forward humbly;

It is danger and war you willingly greet.

Not wound nor death may break your composure.

An honorable man you are, a hero of peace;

You are my hero, my knight, my soldier.

Yet I want nothing more than the war to cease.

I patiently wait for the day you come home

As I spend night after night in bed all alone.

I dream of the barren and bloody fields you roam;

When news of battle arrives, I fear the unknown.

I long to have you in my arms again;

This love for my soldier, words cannot explain.