Sonnet VII: Despair

Beyond too joyous hope to hope to fall
From grace, beyond the reach Thy creeping call
Would trace, beyond the eve that would deceive
Our life and love to misery’s enthral:

Away, we run and hide from Thy dispelled
Enchant, a way to slip away Thy held
Incant, away! ’til we’ve some scant reprieve
Some innocence of that our lives were felled.

Depart our path! so might we live anon
Past night; depart! or join us now upon
Our flight; for we perceive that Thou wouldst grieve
Would we depart without Thee, and were gone.

But still… our love would try… to still goodbye,
To stay our leave… and hesitate to die.

This sonnet is part of a short sequence; click here to read it all:

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23 responses to “Sonnet VII: Despair

    • This is most kind. It has been brought to my attention that, perhaps because of my hard science background and deficit in the humanities, my site reads like a course in sonnet writing.

      In any case, I am moved by such comments (as well as their opposite : ) to write all the more.

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    • Rather than a course on composing sonnets, your site feels like an anchor. Poetry in general often seems to steer into the direction of completely breaking itself, for the sake of evolution. As interesting as this is, it’s also annoying at times, considering that it invalidates the notion of having any sort of form at all. Your entries appear to stay within reasonable borders, while still mixing in progressive ideas, so I think they act reaffirming.

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    • I agree wholeheartedly with everything you here state. Although I suppose it might be true that I tend to teach as I learn or discover or invent. I often offer up lengthy explanations in the comment section when asked : )

      As far as modern poetry destroying itself, this has been going on since about 1914 or so. And… the era of poetry wherein people think of as producing modern, post-modern and/or avant-garde work, is actually quite stagnant ironically. As a young boy I referred to this type of poetry as “dead-leaf” poetry, and the same may be said of all forms of art. Heh…

      I myself have a number of reasons for writing sonnets. In large part it is because of love, and my desire to delight my sweetheart who IS quite the humanities “nerd.” This is the same reason I often use King James era English. But also, in large part, I enjoy the challenge of difficult form. So much so, in fact that I regularly add additional constraints to the form. The more the merrier.

      But it is also true that while I am a romantic, or romanticist, or romantic realist, or what have you, I am not truly a traditionalist–as you correctly point out. I often devise new sonnet-like forms, but very often they are more constrained than the familiar forms–although I do enjoy those as well.

      Art, should and does progress, but for at least 70 years or so it has in many circles devolved into a contest to discern who can be the most meaningless and ugly. It is a very dull contest with very, very predictable results. And… it is a direction toward which I find neither challenge nor enjoyment.

      Thank you so much for your thoughtful and insightful comments.

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    • I appreciate the lenghty response sprinkled with facts. It’s delightful, because I’m usually in the position of giving a plethora of information myself.

      The observation of stagnancy in avant-garde fields in the arts appears to hold truth, even just vaguely thinking about any sort of recent development. As someone who is making an effort to learn to express beauty in the shape of images (now even extending to words), I agree on the popular vision of “art” on the forefront being crude and predictable in its trend. Be it fashion, modern painting or even contemporary interior design – it lacks the substance only time and refinement can give.

      As opposed to that, traditionalism cages itself by cutting out peripheral vision. I believe the best course of action, regardless of field, is to build on classic elegance and put one’s own spin on it, as contradictory as that sounds.

      Counting myself among the ranks of romanticists too, I like to think of the notion as independant, though. Romanticism, to me, is about keeping purity of thought alive and well, drawing upon it to channel conviction.

      I’m looking forward to reading your future sonnet variations. Hope that dame of yours enjoys your poetry!

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    • Well expressed, Sir! Yes, she is the reason I write sonnets or anything else I may write, or play or do. When I was very young, poetry seemed to be the “gateway,” if you will, into the humanities. A way I could learn about her world, so very different from mine. It also seemed logical at the time to my more scientifically centred mind. Poetry is (mostly) short; so it can be a gateway to history, philosophy, &c. I encountered sonnets very early in my inquiry, and began writing them myself after a few days of reading some of the better known works. Shakespeare, Coleridge, Millay, the Brownings, &c. So I just kept following my heart in that way–letting my love be my guide, and applying whatever ideas my mind could synthesize.

      And… wow, what a dame! She is amazing to me; and still makes my heart race when I think about her, or see her, or hear the sound of her voice.

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    • Wow, I’m envious. It’s been a long time since I’ve had those feelings of love. Looking at poetry as a gateway is very interesting. First time I’ve thought about it in that light. To me, it’s more a method of expression than a way of learning. Which doesn’t mean I don’t learn anything – just researching composition, rhythm patterns and tonal systems took my mind to all sorts of places. I’ve got to say, while I really enjoy the storytelling and rhythmic aspect of sonnets – which I’ve still only written a single one of (not counting the canzone, a variation, or even archetype) – I find myself intrigued by the more pictorial poetry forms woven of the Chinese, Japanese and such, woven around conveying feelings or mood. I still love the lyrical sonnets and variations, so that list of authors you just gave me will be useful, thanks! Hope you enjoy the holidays with your lady.

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    • Quite a lot here. My thanks for your well wishes. Most people do prefer the freer forms–whether reading or writing, and many of these are quite lovely. But I find that the more restrictions I place on myself, the more challenge I give myself, the more enjoyable. With restrictions one has to stretch. I spent a few hours looking for a Greek Goddess whose name began with “I”, for example, and, for the sake of metaphor, whose adjectival form had three syllables and was iambic (accent on the second syllable. This yielded up very few candidates but one of them was “Ioke,” the goddess of pursuit in battle, one of Athena’s servants, or hand maidens, or generals, I cannot quite remember now. But this was a perfect metaphor. I then researched the adjectival form and even consulted an ancient Greek scholar on what the proper spelling might be. Off hand, he said it would be “Iokan” rather than “Ioken” but then went back to his library and returned later to tell me it was most likely “Iokean” Which gives more like three and a half syllables, but the diphthong is acceptable. And it was the perfect metaphor, as well! And, you see, if I did not have this restriction, I would not have learned that bit of Greek mythology.

      https://davidemeron.com/?p=195&preview=true

      This is why I often refer to sonnet writing as a gateway drug to the humanities : )

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    • To your story about immersing oneself in detail and striving for those last steps towards momentary perfection, I can relate. Thanks for sharing that. When it comes to knowledge and information, even the seemingly trivial variety, I feel a slight addiction. Like you, I highly appreciate the things I learn in my quest for better understanding, because they help expand my horizon. On the topic of iambic pentameter, I have a question; do you define pentameter by the number of syllables or feet? I’ve found that there’s quite a bit of leeway here when it comes to the “rules”. For example, using a dactyl for variation and stylistic purposes, while still trying to maintain iambic pentameter, would make for lines that are hendecasyllable, which conflicts the isosyllabic quality, which I thought was crucial for classical English sonnets. It doesn’t help that Shakespeare’s sonnets feature so much variation that it’s difficult to derive any set of actual rules from those. There’s also the question of when verse really can’t be called iambic anymore…

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    • Hmm… well, Shakespeare, as you point out does not consistently follow these rules, but in most of his lines, you will see Mostly iambic feet. And if not, then ten syllables with dactyl or trocee type rhythm flips… and, if not that then you will at the very least see five beats in the line.

      If you practice strict pentameter you will find you acquire an arsenal of means to express various thoughts in many many ways in order to do this. Then the rhythm flips, if deliberate, are enhancing rather than detracting.

      A few notes re iambic pentameter:

      Diphthong words (such as “fire”) can be taken as one or two syllables as needed. Words with extra syllables in terminating rhymes can roll over, sound-wise onto the next line. So, line 1 for example ends with “mind” and then line 4 ends with “finding” such that the “ing” is actually the first syllable of line 5, sound-wise, even though it is still present in line 4. Or another way to put it is that line four is 11 syllables and line 5 has only nine. Hope this helps.

      Also I find that forcing myself into an organisation or even more strict restraints than I mentioned produces interesting results; because one has to think more in order to keep to the form one has set out for oneself.

      More pressure, more diamonds! : )

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    • And… Once again the sonnet of which you made mention a few days ago has reposted. Sorry for the confusion. I do indulge in this reposting for a variety of reasons. In this case it has been done because the many entries to this sequence had been spread across a number of weeks (owing to the fact that it is still a work in progress) and I feel it is beneficial to aggregate the work so far on succeeding days.

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    • That’s great, thanks for giving the heads-up! It would be a shame for any of your work to be lost. I do understand the notion of wanting your series to be an actual succession of postings.

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    • Yes. I have actually thought it might be interesting if… when I decided to do this clean-up/reposting… if I were a (more extensive) paying customer of wordpress.com, and I had CSS and script access, I could write a little shell script to do this rotation/reposting on the fly. In this way no entry would be missing for more than a few seconds, give or take.

      I have not yet investigated the possibilities therein. I do know that if I decide to self-host (i.e. use wordpress.ORG on a third-party server) I would be able to do just about anything. Of course, thereupon, this site would completely take over my life, as it were. (even more than it already has : )

      Still I do feel as though I should contact wordpress.com’s engineering staff to ascertain the scope of possibilities.

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    • Paying for CSS access, or even just hosting the site yourself, not to mention the corresponding trouble that brings, would be overkill, I believe. Especially considering the form of your content. Have you tried just changing the publishing date of the postings you want properly aligned? That’s what I’d attempt to do.

      By the way – you expressed your favour of King James’ era English earlier. In the course of writing my last sonnet, I’ve been forced to think about the English I use and that varying styles of different periods might read weird. Did you study literature of the era to be able to replicate the language so well?

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    • My answer: Not very diligently.

      My knowledge of grammar of any period is mainly “monkey see, monkey do.”

      I have studied other languages to one extent or another, as I mentioned in a previous reply, and that also has helped with the conceptualisation of language structure. Still… I have a “this is a bunch of chaff” kind of reaction to the whole of the humanities that I have never been able to shake completely : ) and this has caused me to be much less diligent in my linguistic endeavours.

      Although… I have spent some time recently with Shakespeare’s sonnets due to a project of mine, ongoing; and that… has both helped and confused.

      What I have found is that even though the style of language at the time of Shakespeare had many more levels of complexity and various forms of formal address, Shakespeare himself, used and/or brought into use completely familiar forms of address –those we would consider to be modern verb conjugations, tenses, &c. As… evidently these were just coming into use at the time (or Will Shakespeare and others were bringing them into being–I am not entirely sure)

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    • And yes, that in essence is what I do: Either use the quick edit interface and as quickly as possible change the posting dates; or… I use the full edit if I wish to make sure the entries are formatted, tagged, punctuated, &c. as I wish them to be. I have been trying, when I do this reposting, to bring all entries into a proper homogeneous post format. Still, script access would be nice : ) Also… when I use the full edit interface, I can make sure the “publicize links are as refreshed as they can be–although… I am not quite sure why I do this. Just general “Nerdiness,” I suppose. I really do nothing with my twitter, facebook, or google+ accounts other than these automatic postings.

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    • Perfectionism, rather than nerdiness, I’m sure. Many of us are guilty of it. I’d do the reposting the exact same way and would probably just stick to that routine or change up my posting habits. But then again, I’m a penniless student, so purchase never made it to serious consideration. It’s up to your financial liberty, I suppose.

      For not being very diligent in your studies, you sure have command of the language. I think I will just stick to modern English for the time being and brush up on structure and rhythm. Using archaic terms once in a while ought to be enough for what I have in mind anyway.

      Interesting discovery you’ve made there. Suggests that focusing on fresh, state-of-the-art linguistic etiquette, and what might even reach past that, might prove more fruitful than indulging in past manners. Would a contemporary Shakespeare be classified an avant-gardist, even by standards of our modernity? I wonder.

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    • I shall address your paragraphs in reverse order:

      What if he were alive today? Who can say? My guess is that he might be making huge blockbuster movies now. Just as I would imagine Beethoven might be a virtuoso “head-banger” or “shredder,” ala, Steve Vai. Revered artists are seldom as we think them to be. And, truth be told, even now, academicians are often most disappointed when they actually find themselves able to interview one personally.

      As far as literature goes–the “chaffy” kind–I studied mainly poetry. This was (and is) because it is much easier and faster to study something short than something like a novel. But I do have some old-world favourites. Many, you will not have heard of, I would venture. Mrs. Emeron and I do enjoy reading novels aloud to each other. And this is where I have gained most of my exposure to the classics–whether well-known or otherwise.

      On the nerdy front. I have recently done some research into higher levels of participation (paid) in wordpress. I do not believe that, at the current time, any of the current levels of pay (even the “enterprise” level) would grant me the script access I desire. And… as it turns out, it would be much cheaper to self-host, if that were my true desire. wordpress.org’s software is open-source and nowadays, hosting is cheap. Also, and I believe this is a relatively new feature. One can integrate ones self-hosted site with wordpress.com much more tightly now. For example, the like and follow features and various other associative networking which works nicely inside wordpress.com can also work for self-hosted sites. I believe this even includes the login and extended functions: For example, Dear, Mrs. Emeron is listed as an editor of my site (because this allows her to read posts that are not yet live, either from links I send her or from the “posts” interface) and she can do so using her existing wordpress.com account–and if I self-hosted, I believe she could still do so without creating an additional account on my local wordpress.org site. But then… I have not fully investigated this yet, so my information might be a bit sketchy.

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    • David, sorry for the late response – there are a lot of things on my plate right now and everything social and creative is taking a backseat… to my dismay.

      About speculating what classical masters would be doing in present times; I’ve actually thought quite a bit about mastery of the arts in general and what it means. The only conclusion I’ve come to looking at things from a high-angle, trying to dismember them, is, that everything truly great is always more than the sum of its parts and unlocking that mystery component X is a matter of how (strongly) you feel about what you do.

      I must admit, I’m not too knowledgeable about literature, but won’t argue that it’s most likely the best way to expose yourself to a variety of styles and perspectives. It is high on my list of interests, but so are a lot of other things. I wish we all would be given more time. Reading novels to each other sounds very sweet. Consider yourself fortunate.

      Hope you managed to work out a plan regarding the technicalities of your blogging!

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    • Enough said….

      I am still looking into self-hosting this blog. I believe I have found a solution which will enable me to remain connected with my current array of followers. I am very busy now with a family emergency/issue which will prevent me from doing this any time soon, but I believe that once I am done with my duties here, I will be able to self-host and have a much greater latitude to enact some of the scripting/automatic things I have wanted to try.

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  1. Ah, my darling, Mr. Browning and I agree that this is not merely an etude. Although your use of sound in this is au fait the tears that are falling were not inspired only by sound.

    Depart our path so might we live anon
    Past night; depart, or join us now upon
    Our flight; for we perceive that Thou wouldst grieve
    Would we depart without Thee, and were gone,

    Simply stunning, my dear – and so evocative.

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