Friday, October 12, 2007

Sonnet - 2

Comrades forever
Strange comrades make they, white death and black life -
In white absence does black be born. Yet they,
Under friendless-foeless Time's scathing knife
Lock palms, now right, now left, in silent sway.

Thus scurry my thoughts as I watch unmoved
Of one mate gone and the other arrived.
Where goes the pink, with life's music removed?
And the calm, with death's lissome shroud deprived?

Uneventful death is life's dreaded act
And lo! behold another falls. They cry
A desultory wail, spiting Fate's pact
To keep alive one's love till love shall dry.

Though scythes will fall on unshent and sinner
They will befriend the fearless and wiser.

4 comments:

  1. Parvati1:48 PM

    Oh no - not another serious sonnet! And that too about death and life?- I was recently going through the poems of Thomas Hardy, and find that he is a master of the subject of Death in poetry form, not to speak of Ghosts too. He makes very good reading as a poet - you should try him out :-)

    ------

    1. The first two lines are too close to one another to warrant a repetition of black and white so soon.

    Why is life black? I think red (or any one of its innumerable synony ms as in carmine, crimson, titian : my favourites)would better describe the vividness and dynamics/movements of what we call life, be it the torment and agitation of black pain and grey sorrow, or the green of joy and growth.

    The image of life and death in a slow dance under the knife of time (like damocles's sword hovering), is brilliant and behoves a greater poet than you, but then it makes you great too, doesnt it? :-D

    2. In a sense, one mate gone and the other arrived is not entirely true, of course when life leaves one person, death enters him, but the other is not true, death doesnt leave a body to make life enter it. Just a teensy weensy hairsplitting...- I think both life and death are always there simultaneously everywhere in this world.

    "Pink" shouldn't be there in serious poetry ever (I shall forgive the Aerosmiths for their lyrics of course, but not Eroteme ;-)) - "Where goes the f/blush, with life's music removed? " may be better, or you should think of something better than pink.

    Hmmm. Too much of obvious boring facts in this whole poem of course said in a captivating way - like, obviously the pink of life goes away when life goes away, your question is like asking "where is life when life goes away, or where is the calm of death when death is not there?" It is similar to saying blue is blue, red is red. I dont know whether I am able to convey my discontent at the idea and thought you are conveying here.

    3. We dont know that death is uneventful, I mean, if we study the various hindu-rituals when someone dies, the journey of death seems to be as eventful and jolly as a trek in the Valley of Flowers. But yes, I suppose a dead body's stillness is the only thing that we may say justifies this description of uneventful, but that is sort of a view of only the surface appearance.

    The last two lines of the third stanza are splendid! But again too simple, a statement of an obvious fact people weep at a death because of the loss they will feel and not for the dead persons condition, which anyway noone knows is for the better or for the worse.

    You write beautifully that those who weep at a death of a person, do so because of their avowed conviction that fate had a pact with them to keep whom they love alive until their own death/or until whatever love they hold for that person dies.

    Very intelligent though obvious. I really liked it.

    4. Unshent is a lovely word - and so appropriate for poetry on the eternal sublime subjects of life and death and love and god. I am reminded of the line "Death waited Nature's wont; Peace smiled unshent.."

    Ok - the scythes of death and life will indeed be impartial and all face them some time or the other;

    but hey, what is this last line? To say that 'A' befriends 'B' speaks of a conscious decisionmaking on the part of 'A' leading to positive actions done by/vibrations expressed towards the object 'B'; by that token, I dont think that the scythes of death and life ever befriend anyone at all - they harm all even the fearless and the wise (here again, wiser is grammatically wrong - it should be fearless and wise, but then it wont rhyme with sinner - see what you can do, if at all you think anything should be done)....

    You may most probably say that the fearless and the wise befriend them - as in death and life - through their detached and transcendental attitude of being above the harms inflicted on them by life and death.

    So the couplet is good poetically but bad in the logic of its thought.

    # All in all, this post is quite fulfilling in its poetry - I would say it is a good sonnet with a high poetic value - but not so happy is it in the incompleteness of its metaphysics. The logic is not logical at all.

    Of course your poet's sensibilities should be able to explain away most of my objections - awaiting them :-)

    # I read this on the way sonnets are written; you may find it useful. Seems to me that this particular strategy is a very smart method of giving a rich sonnet -
    " Shakespeare introduces an idea in the first quatrain, complicates it in the second, complicates it still further in the third, and resolves the whole thing in the final epigrammatic couplet (as in his sonnet no. 138)."

    ReplyDelete
  2. Dear P,
    A comment longer than the post! Surely carries your mark! ;-)

    White and black are used as colours in the first line and as descriptors in the next. Note that it is "white absence" and not "white's absence". But you might have a point. Maybe I should have worded the 2nd a little differently...

    Black is a colour that absorbs all colours and hence black suits Life more than just a single colour albeit any favourite of yours! ;-)

    Mate leaving and arriving is with respect to one individual. It is when death is not, that life can be. Death and life are always there around a conscious human being, but in him, they would not co-exist... or rather this sonnet only covers what is popularly believed! ;-)

    Aaah! It is uncommon to find a lady raise her dainty nose against the word "pink". But why, Wordsworth (whose worth is immeasurable) used it in Residence in London and so did Shelley in Prometheus Unbound (suffer me while I call a lyrical drama a poem) and so erred Keats before his editors changed his poem in "Ode to Psyche" (note his preference for "freckle pink"). So let me follow out of sheer lack of any greatness...

    I realise your discontent and I am sorry for not providing something more exciting...

    It appears that the logic of the couplet has missed you. Maybe I shall explain some other day...

    Thanks for sharing that last bit about sonnets!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Parvati4:49 PM

    Aha! Gotcha - I knew that you were going to rush to your only Guru in this whole wide world 'Google Search' , and look for all the poets that used PINK in their exalted poems. Poor Eroteme - to be so predictable is not worthy of a poet's perceived temperament of will o' the wispy ficklemindedness...:-D

    # You may also say White life, since white reflects all colours, and black because black absorbs all - my objection here is to the impression the colour used as an adjective to describe life gives, not about the scientific accuracy of black absorbing or white reflecting all colours. My poetic sense thinks even now ( after your kind explanation that would do a physicist proud), that the power and vitality of life and its vicissitudes and components deserve only red as its apt qualifier. I suppose here we should agree to disagree :-)

    # Aaaw - no enlightening explanation today on the couplet? :-(
    Let's see what you have to say about this later.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Darkness by Lord Byron
    http://www.strickling.net/byron_darkness.htm

    ReplyDelete