Hands

My boys and David holding things

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.

Juliet
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.
Romeo
Have not saints lips, and holy palmers too?
Juliet
Ay, pilgrim, lips that they must use in pray’r.
Romeo
O then, dear saint, let lips do what hands do,
They pray—grant thou, lest faith turn to despair.
Juliet
Saints do not move, though grant for prayers’ sake.
Romeo
Then move not while my prayer’s effect I take.
(Kisses her)
Thus from my lips, by thine, my sin is purg’d.
Juliet
Then have my lips the sin that they have took.
Romeo
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…

2 thoughts on “Hands

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s