But soft!


Are there any more beautiful words in English literature than these: “But soft! What light through yonder window breaks?”

These are Romeo’s words when he gazes at Juliet above on the balcony, but what if we were to bring these words into our everyday encounters?

But soft! Listen to the hush here, the rapt attention, all of his focus on her, just her. What if we were to whisper these words to ourselves before we talk with someone? But soft! The world fades, the focus sharpens, all of our attention is on that person. But soft! reminds us not just to be calm and attentive, but also to be gentle and reverent. Wouldn’t any conversation shift if it were preceded by such a lovely call to silence? Wouldn’t But soft! be a perfect pairing of words to bring back into common usage?

“What light through yonder window breaks?” Again, what if we were to look at each other this way? As light, as beings capable of making the world a brighter place. Even those with much of darkness about them have an inner light, a spark of good. What if we were to ignore the dark and focus on the light in each other? What a compliment it is to be called a light! Wouldn’t someone noticing our light make each of us want to shine ever more brightly? And wouldn’t that, accordingly, make the world an ever brighter place?

Look around. Someone wants your attention.

But soft! What light through yonder window breaks?