Posting this on Martin's behalf:
(Poem #1047) Oh! Death Will Find Me, Long Before I Tire
Oh! Death will find me, long before I tire Of watching you; and swing me suddenly Into the shade and loneliness and mire Of the last land! There, waiting patiently, One day, I think, I'll feel a cool wind blowing, See a slow light across the Stygian tide, And hear the Dead about me stir, unknowing, And tremble. And I shall know that you have died, And watch you, a broad-browed and smiling dream, Pass, light as ever, through the lightless host, Quietly ponder, start, and sway, and gleam -- Most individual and bewildering ghost! -- And turn, and toss your brown delightful head Amusedly, among the ancient Dead.
Brooke is usually a pleasure to read, and today's playfully romantic poem is no exception. At first glance, this seems like your average Shakespearean sonnet - Shakespearean in form, and Shakespearean in its return to the timeworn themes of love and death. However, the solemnity of the opening line is quickly and increasingly lightened as the poem progresses - lightened, too, without ever tipping over the line into frivolity or wit. For unlike, say, the explicitly humorous 'Sonnet Reversed', this is definitely a 'serious' poem. It is merely not a *solemn* one - the tone it chooses to address its subject in is refreshingly different from your average grinding of Shakespeare's bones for yet another tired loaf of bread. Despite the poem's apparently morbid theme, the impression the reader is left with is one of life and laughter - one is reminded, almost, of Shakespeare's Cleopatra, but without the grandeur - "most individual and bewildering", as Brooke puts it. The imagery and the word-choices are handled very well indeed; the narrator's sense of delight in his beloved sparkles through every verse. The final couplet shifts the focus fully from the narrator to his subject, providing the reader with a vivid and strongly visual image that wraps the poem up nicely. martin. Links: Biography: http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Delphi/7086/brookebionote.htm Brooke poems on Minstrels: Poem #514, "The Chilterns" Poem #280, "The Soldier" Poem #589, "Sonnet Reversed" Poem #847, "On the Death of Smet-Smet, the Hippopotamus-Goddess" Poem #972, "The Beginning"