Sir Patrick Stewart has been reading a sonnet a day on Twitter.
Opinion: Often when the world learns of a movie star or musician from England being knighted, it takes little notice because most of these “Knights” are not given the title for heroic deeds. In most cases, these knights are given titles because of their star status and perhaps some charity work. While the world has been battling COVID-19, many of these knights have given money and support to the cause, but perhaps none of them have given as much as Sir Patrick Stewart. Yes, we are talking about “Captain Picard” from the famous series and movies in the Star Trek family, but Stewart rose above the fictional exploits of his Picard character with his actions during COVID-19.
When COVID-19 first struck, the word from officials and leaders worldwide was “Stay Home!” This narrative, whether you agree with it or not, was pushed by governments, leaders, society, and even businesses. From mid-March, and still in some places, through roughly late May it seemed like the world came to a halt. The “Essential” businesses were allowed to stay open in most areas, while other areas suffered. It was at this time that Stewart came up with an idea to contribute during those secluded, often lonely and uncertain, days. He decided he would read a sonnet each day on Twitter. He would read the sonnets, not for money, further fame, or personal gain, but to lend his acting voice, his familiar face, and his message to the world with an optimistic hope in a simple sonnet.
For many people, those daily sonnets became an anticipated moment in an otherwise long day. They provided a break from working at home, watching television, surfing the Internet, or playing board games with your family. For those home alone, the sonnets provided a fresh face, an opportunity to feel as if Stewart was talking and having a private reading for just that person. Stewart, the man who brought life to Picard, the one-person Scrooge plays, and so many other outstanding characters would spend a few short minutes each day giving those secluded a bit of hope from some of the greatest literary works of all times. It cost the viewer nothing – no subscription, no royalties, no ticket to see…just a few minutes to connect, hear, enjoy, and know that none of us faced this COVID Pandemic alone.
Stewart’s Picard did many heroic things on the screen, but that was all fiction. What Stewart did was truly worthy of his title as a knight. One of the knight’s codes from the middle ages is to “fight for the welfare of all.” By doing these daily sonnet readings, Sir Stewart rose and simply fulfilled a small part of 2020 history by providing comfort, reassurance, and a sonnet a day. He did this for 154 days. Yesterday, Saturday, October 3, 2020, he performed the last sonnet. Sitting in his home and in a black Tuxedo, he thanked and toasted “everyone who has been so kindly watching and listening to these sonnets.” Because of Sir Stewart, many people had brighter days, happier moments, and a break from the worries of COVID-19. For 154 days, Stewart gave the world a free show, free reading, and hope. No, his tweet thanked us for listening, but we are the ones indebted to him. History will keep a record, and the gift of “A Sonnet-A-Day” from one of the great actors of our time will be remembered for years to come.
If you missed Sir Patrick Stewart’s #ASonnetADay, you may find it by searching Twitter @SirPatStew (Patrick Stewart). All 154 sonnets are online and free.