November 18, 2016 · 6:37 am
Rabindranath Tagore: Poet and Painter
Mine eye hath play’d the painter and hath stell’d
Thy beauty’s form in table of my heart;
My body is the frame wherein ’tis held,
And perspective it is best painter’s art.
For through the painter must you see his skill,
To find where your true image pictur’d lies;
Which in my bosom’s shop is hanging still,
That hath his windows glazed with thine eyes.
Now see what good turns eyes for eyes have done:
Mine eyes have drawn thy shape, and thine for me
Are windows to my breast, where-through the sun
Delights to peep, to gaze therein on thee;
Yet eyes this cunning want to grace their art,
They draw but what they see, know not the heart.
I read this sonnet twice this morning and really connected with it.
The first thing that struck me was the contrast between visual art as expressed through painting and literary art as expressed through poetry. While Shakespeare acknowledges the virtue of painting, he feels that it does not adequately capture and express beauty the way poetry does, since poetry uses internal images to convey beauty. Essentially, a poet paints with words, and the mind is the canvass on which he paints. As someone who lacks even the most rudimentary drawing skills, I find this inspiring, that my words could conjure images as clear and as moving as any painter.
The other thing that resonated with me was the use of eyes as a metaphor for windows to the soul. It’s a phrase that has become somewhat hackneyed over the years, but it is still true. When you look deeply into a person’s eyes, you really do tap into the essence of who that person is. When two people look each other in the eye, a connection is made on an internal level, especially when that gaze is accompanied by feelings of love.
I hope you enjoyed this poem as much as I did, and as always, feel free to share your comments.
Filed under Literature
Tagged as analysis, art, beauty, criticism, emotion, English, essence, eyes, fair youth, imagery, literature, love, metaphor, painting, poems, poetry, poets, reading, renaissance, review, Shakespeare, sonnet, soul, symbol, symbolism, windows, writing
May 14, 2015 · 12:54 pm
Image Source: Wikipedia
Not from the stars do I my judgment pluck;
And yet methinks I have astronomy,
But not to tell of good or evil luck,
Of plagues, of dearths, or seasons’ quality;
Nor can I fortune to brief minutes tell,
Pointing to each his thunder, rain and wind,
Or say with princes if it shall go well,
By oft predict that I in heaven find:
But from thine eyes my knowledge I derive,
And, constant stars, in them I read such art
As truth and beauty shall together thrive,
If from thyself to store thou wouldst convert;
Or else of thee this I prognosticate:
Thy end is truth’s and beauty’s doom and date.
This is another one of the fair youth sonnets where Shakespeare entreats the young man to procreate. I really liked this one because of Shakespeare’s use of astrology and prognostication as metaphors.
Here the speaker claims to be able to see the future, although not from the conventional means of divination. The speaker claims to see the future reflected in the eyes of the fair youth, which are described as “constant stars.” The young man is the embodiment of truth and beauty in the poet’s opinion and the poet claims that if the young man would relent and accept his paternal responsibility of fathering children, then those children will also embody truth and beauty. Likewise, should the youth decide against having children, then the poet foresees an end to truth and beauty. It is almost an apocalyptic vision, where the phrase “doom and date” represents doomsday.
I have always been fascinated by the idea of the poet as a seer or visionary. I love that in this sonnet Shakespeare draws from this idea. I also find it interesting that emphasis is placed upon looking within a person, through the eyes which are the windows to the soul, in order to see a person’s future.
This poem works for me. The metaphors and symbolism are inspiring and the words themselves are very fluid and lyrical. It’s definitely one of my favorite fair youth sonnets.
Filed under Literature
Tagged as analysis, apocalypse, astrology, beauty, criticism, divination, doomsday, English, eyes, fair youth, literature, metaphor, poem, poet, poetry, procreation, prognostication, reading, renaissance, review, Shakespeare, sonnet, soul, stars, symbol, symbolism, truth, visions, writing
August 13, 2014 · 10:21 am
The other day I visited the local comic store and discovered the first three issues of Neil Gaiman’s latest Sandman series. I nearly swooned with excitement. I have to say that Gaiman is one of my favorite writers. I have loved everything that I have read by him. I immediately picked up the three issues and my friend at the checkout informed me that it is a short series with only three more issues due out. I plan on reading them all.
The writing and artwork in this first issue is other-worldly. It is like stepping into the surreal realm of dreams, where everything is alien and yet feels familiar, as if tapping into some primordial part of the psyche. As I read the pages and allowed the images to draw me in, I felt like I was slipping into a world of non-ordinary reality.
To briefly sum up the events that transpire, Dream is about to uncreate Corinthian, a bizarre being with sets of teeth instead of eyes who inhabits the subconscious but appears to have taken an interest in inflicting physical harm. I found the character to be very symbolic of using vision to consume images, ultimately digesting what we see around us and what we envision in our subconscious minds. But before Dream can uncreate Corinthian, he is summoned to another dimension at the far side of the universe, where he encounters a most unusual host. Corinthian, meanwhile, escapes with the intention of inflicting harm and then running from Dream to avoid his uncreation.
There is an amazing section where Destiny is depicted holding a large book that contains the secrets to all existence: past, present, and future. The text that accompanies the lush illustration is as evocative as the image itself.
Imagine a book.
Imagine a book that contains everything that is happening, everything that has happened, everything that will happen. There is nothing that exists that is not written in this book.
The book is heavy. It is bound in leather, made from the hide of a beast that has never existed.
The only eyes that read the book are blind. They see only darkness and the contents of the book.
The book is the universe, and only blind Destiny sees how the universe shapes itself into stories. Perhaps he is the only one who reads all the stories the universe forms.
I love the idea of stories shaping our reality. Stories connect us to the past, define our present, and allow us to glimpse our possible futures. The story is eternal and it is the foundation of our existence.
I am really, really excited about this series. As I said earlier, I already have issues 2 and 3, so you can expect my thoughts on those soon. Thanks for stopping by and allowing me to share my thoughts. Read on!!
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Tagged as art, books, comics, dark fantasy, destiny, dreams, existence, eyes, fantasy, graphic novel, illustration, images, Neil Gaiman, non-ordinary reality, occult, parallel universes, psyche, reading, reality, review, sandman, sci-fi, science fiction, secret, stories, subconscious, surrealism, symbol, writers, writing
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