I’ll not lie, I studied him several semesters ago and, the poem that is obsessing my thoughts now (a highly charged and thinly veiled critique of the duplicity of the powers that be), its name I cannot recall; it is in here somewhere:
Reading is key…
…but that anthology’s at the house I dwell in and I am here on this hallowed campus, this poisoned chalice, where life’s been lived, where love was found and, alas, where love was lost. For now, for the right here and right now, I’ll post this (on love & loss):
❝ Farewell, false love, the oracle of lies,
A mortal foe and enemy to rest,
An envious boy, from whom all cares arise,
A bastard vile, a beast with rage possessed,
A way of error, a temple full of treason,
In all effects contrary unto reason. –
A poisoned serpent covered all with flowers,
Mother of sighs, and murderer of repose,
A sea of sorrows whence are drawn such showers
As moisture lend to every grief that grows;
A school of guile, a net of deep deceit,
A gilded hook that holds a poisoned bait. –
A fortress foiled, which reason did defend,
A siren song, a fever of the mind,
A maze wherein affection finds no end,
A raging cloud that runs before the wind,
A substance like the shadow of the sun,
A goal of grief for which the wisest run. –
A quenchless fire, a nurse of trembling fear,
A path that leads to peril and mishap,
A true retreat of sorrow and despair,
An idle boy that sleeps in pleasure’s lap,
A deep mistrust of that which certain seems,
A hope of that which reason doubtful deems. –
Sith then thy trains my younger years betrayed,
And for my faith ingratitude I find;
And sith repentance hath my wrongs bewrayed,
Whose course was ever contrary to kind:
False love, desire, and beauty frail, adieu.
Dead is the root whence all these fancies grew. ❞ — Sir Walter Ralegh
And this (on life & loss):
❝ Even such is time, which takes in trust
Our youth, our joys, and all we have,
And pays us nought but age and dust;
Which in the dark and silent grave,
When we have wandered all our ways,
Shuts up the story of our days!
And from which grave, and earth, and dust,
The Lord shall raise me up, I trust. ❞ — Sir Walter Ralegh
Dwell on his works awhile, they are profound and powerful. He was much more than a swashbuckling pirate with a crush on the virgin qween.
To engage in daring and romantic adventures with bravado or flamboyance. A swashbuckler is a heroic archetype in European adventure literature that is typified by the use of a sword, acrobatics and chivalric ideals.
❝ love is more thicker than forget
more thinner than recall
more seldom than a wave is wet
more frequent than to fail –
it is most mad and moonly
and less it shall unbe
than all the sea which only
is deeper than the sea –
love is less always than to win
less never than alive
less bigger than the least begin
less littler than forgive –
it is most sane and sunly
and more it cannot die
than all the sky which only
is higher than the sky ❞ — E. E. Cummings (1939)
What is love? Oh Jay. . . what you on about? Me! Well, I’ll tell you my precious pearl, my turtle dove, the tea leaf who has rendered me Radio Rental. I’m going on about love and according to my interpretation of the poem, love is in fact, utterly ev-re:think. Moreover, as is evidenced in life and the poem, love is an oxymoron (oh! Ox.).
love is more thicker than forget / more thinner than recall
❝ Love can make us higher than satellites in the sky, and lower than pressure pulverised submarines irretrievably sunk in the Romanche Trench (i.e., more than 25 thousand feet below sea level in the middle of the Mid-Atlantic Ocean Rift). ❞
Well, where to start? This poem, in essence, tells us how contrary, complex and all consuming love can be — I ain’t being an arrogant British man, And, I ain’t being a spoiled Kuwaiti princess, but I’ll say this: you’ll only get this poem’s import/message if you have actually lived through (or are living through) a painfully intense and incredibly fraught affair of love, and I’ll say this: the poem’s usage of opposite adjectives to describe love illustrates that love is concomitantly good and bad (for one’s mental state), love is pleasure and love is pain, love is bitter and love is sweet, love is rough and love is smooth.
Highlighting love’s complexity is the continual usage of juxtaposition throughout the poem. The most notable juxtaposition in the poem is referring to love as both “most sane and sunly” and “most mad and moonly.” This emphasises love’s naturalness (to humankind only?) and at the same time its utter irrationality (we don’t need love to reproduce and rear do we?). Love is every-FUCKING-thing. It can make us more alive than any-FUCKING-thing else. It can make us deader than dead and number (nummber not numBer 😉) than numb in the merest of instances. It is: the be all. It is: the end all. Love can indeed circumference the spectrum of human expression: “fleeting (rare), yet common (everywhere).” As exemplified in the poem:
mad as the moon / sane as the sun
Like all works of literature, imagery is key in seeking to create a palpable connection in the reader’s mind’s eye to what the author is seeking to articulate and convey. Does what she’s banging on about (does what he’s harping on about) strike a chord with you (dear reader)?
The poem is written in four quatrains, making it iambic tetrameter (thus a balad?). It has (I think) the following rhyme scheme A B A B C D C D E F E F C G C G. This gives the poem precise rhythm. Furthermore, all of the independent clauses are connected to the first word: “Love.” Finally, in terms of rhyme and repetition, you’ll note that every other one rhymes at the end.
it is most sane and sunly / and more it cannot die / than all the sky which only / is higher than the sky
— The use of the letter “m” in “it is most mad and moonly”, using the letter “L” in the third verse, and the letter “s” in the last verse are all examples of alliterations. In stanza one, we’ve three lines starting with ‘more’ and in the third stanza, three lines starting with ‘less’ this too gives the poem precise rhythm.
Imagery 01. The Sea — Love has a greater depth than the ocean, a natural element of Earth that is literally so deep humans only know only a small fraction of it — we can’t really fathom its vastness. We might then say, referencing the sea makes the reader associate love with such limitless depths and expanses.
02. The Sky (and the sun and the moon) — Cummings expresses love’s infinitude by stating that it is “higher than the sky.” Again this reinforces the extent to which love’s power and gravitational pull can be limitless.
— This poem has many metaphors; arguably the whole poem is a metaphor. “Love is more thicker than forget” is a metaphor and so is, “it is most sane and sunly.”
— Love lightens one’s mood, love darkens one’s mood; we’ve sunny days, we’ve moonlit nights. So the poem’s mood is both upbeat and downcast; excepting of fate and fighting fate. It is then — in my own view — heavy; a mood that’s ultimately heavy on the soul.
I just love his full name: Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde… Anyhow, he was a poet and a writer who — because of his sexuality — faced various problems and even had to spend a period of time in prison. This is one of my favorite of his observations:
We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.
(( WOLO ))
And this, this is what I want to convey today to you:
You don’t love someone for their looks, or their clothes or their fancy car, but because they sing a song only you can hear.
(The only song I hear is the one sung by you.)
The Ballad of Reading Gaol and Other Poems
This poem — originally published anonymously, written after Wilde’s two year’s hard labour in Reading prison — is the tale of a man who has been sentenced to hang for the murder of the woman he loved. The Ballad of Reading Gaol follows the inmate through his final three weeks, as he stares at the sky and silently drinks his beer ration. Heart-wrenching and eye-opening, the ballad also expresses perfectly Wilde’s belief that humanity is made up only of offenders, each of us deserving a greater charity for the severity of our crimes.
The Canterville Ghost
A collection of stories, including two of Wilde’s most famous: “The Canterville Ghost,” in which a young American girl helps to free the tormented spirit that haunts an old English castle and “The Happy Prince,” who was not as happy as he seemed. Often whimsical and sometimes sad, they all shine with poetry and magic.
The Picture of Dorian Gray
Enthralled by his own exquisite portrait, Dorian Gray exchanges his soul for eternal youth and beauty. Influenced by his friend Lord Henry Wotton, he is drawn into a corrupt double life; indulging his desires in secret while remaining a gentleman in the eyes of polite society. Only his portrait bears the traces of his decadence. The novel was a succès de scandale and the book was later used as evidence against Wilde at the Old Bailey in 1895. It has lost none of its power to fascinate and disturb. Influenced by his friend Lord Henry Wotton, he is drawn into a corrupt double life; indulging his desires in secret while remaining a gentleman in the eyes of polite society. Only his portrait bears the traces of his decadence. The novel was a succès de scandale and the book was later used as evidence against Wilde at the Old Bailey in 1895. It has lost none of its power to fascinate and disturb.”
(The Silence of Love)
As oftentimes the too resplendent sun
Hurries the pallid and reluctant moon
Back to her sombre cave, ere she hath won
A single ballad from the nightingale,
So doth thy Beauty make my lips to fail,
And all my sweetest singing out of tune.
And as at dawn across the level mead
On wings impetuous some wind will come,
And with its too harsh kisses break the reed
Which was its only instrument of song,
So my too stormy passions work me wrong,
And for excess of Love my Love is dumb.
But surely unto Thee mine eyes did show
Why I am silent, and my lute unstrung;
Else it were better we should part, and go,
Thou to some lips of sweeter melody,
And I to nurse the barren memory
Of unkissed kisses, and songs never sung.
“Love, bittersweet and inescapable, creeps up on me and grabs me once again”
Such heartfelt words expressing personal emotion by the Greek poet Sappho led to a mode of poetry in addition to the histrionic and impersonal epic: a focus on the self. The power of the words used by Roman poet Catullus to describe his heartfelt longing and love (and obsession?) are palpable:-
“…as many as the stars, when night is still,
gazing down on secret human desires:
as many of your kisses kissed
are enough, and more, for mad Catullus”
Together, Catullus and Sappho provide the inspiration for many of the articulations on, and metaphors for, love that have been seen time and again in prose and poetry throughout the ensuing centuries, by way of Shakespeare and Spenser et al., to the present day (e.g., Sergei Yesenin and E. E. Cummings).
In the audio file below (lasting around 28 minutes), academics discuss Greek and Roman love poetry, focusing on Sappho and her erotic descriptions of romance on Lesbos and, the love-hate poems of Catullus.
Greek & Roman Love Poetry In Our Time, BBC (2007):
1. (of a feeling or atmosphere) so intense as to seem almost tangible. — “A palpable sense of loss.”
2. Able to be touched or felt.
Perceptible by touch. — “The atmosphere of neglect and abandonment was almost tangible.”
Something that is unable to be touched; not having physical presence. — “The rose symbolised something intangible about their relationship.”
you might not have been my first love
but you were the love that made
all the other loves
— Oh Jay! This is true, it is so, so very true.
Milk and Honey (2014) is a collection of poetry and prose by Rupi Kaur. It is divided into four chapters, with each chapter serving a different purpose. Violence, abuse, love, loss and femininity are prevalent themes.
Critics have called Kaur’s work instapoetry (“instapoets” are poets who have risen to fame by using social media to leverage their work). It has also been described as easy and simply constructed. However, she has been credited with changing people’s views of poetry, by this simplistic style and telling things as they are. Moreover, and of critical import to the world of poems and poetry, John Maher, of Publishers Weekly, stated that while a 2015 survey reported a drop in poetry reading between 1992 and 2012, poetry sales figures doubled in 2017, in the years after Milk and Honey was published. As of 2019, 2.5 million copies have been sold and it was listed on The New York Times Best Seller list for more than 77 weeks.
people go but how they left always stays
— I am beseeching you.
i am hopelessly
a lover and
a dreamer and
that will be the
death of me
— This is me, this is so, so very me.
I shall end with the beginning:
why is it that when the story ends,
we begin to feel all of it