Did you know there’s a secret sonnet hidden in Romeo and Juliet? In the magical moment when they first meet, despite the fact that she’s 13 and he’s probably not much older, they are somehow savvy enough, whilst falling madly in love, to communicate via perfect Shakespearian sonnet.
Good pilgrim, you do wrong your hand too much,
Which mannerly devotion shows in this:
For saints have hands that pilgrims’ hands do touch,
And palm to palm is holy palmers’ kiss.
Have not saints lips, and holy palmers too?
Ay, pilgrim, lips that they must use in pray’r.
O then, dear saint, let lips do what hands do,
They pray—grant thou, lest faith turn to despair.
Saints do not move, though grant for prayers’ sake.
Then move not while my prayer’s effect I take.
Thus from my lips, by thine, my sin is purg’d.
Then have my lips the sin that they have took.
Sin from my lips? O trespass sweetly urg’d!
If you watch most versions of the play, it starts with hands touching, in a kind of dance, and ends with kissing. Hands touching must have once been very forward and shocking human contact, and, strangely the pandemic has made it so again.
I have long been fascinated with the motion of human hands. Gesture is one of my favorite languages. If you watch silent films, gesture and expression are everything.
Muybridge did studies of the motion of hand gestures, and they’re very beautiful:
I love the gestures of football (soccer) players holding their hands up in prayer and thanks. I love the gestures of people everywhere signaling that they’re happy or upset or angry or thankful. It does seem that the more international online language is, the more important gestures become.
I love this Instagram account I just discovered Subway Hands. Just very beautiful.
And of course I love this…