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Silent Noon (Sonnet XIX) -- Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Guest poem sent in by
(Poem #1388) Silent Noon (Sonnet XIX)
 Your hands lie open in the long fresh grass,-
 The finger-points look through, like rosy blooms:
 Your eyes smile peace.  The pasture gleams and glooms
 'Neath billowing skies that scatter and amass.
 All round our nest far, as the eye can pass
 Are golden kingcup fields with silver edge
 Where the cow-parsley skirts the hawthorn-hedge
 'Tis visible silence, still as the hour-glass.

 Deep in the sun searched groves, a dragon-fly
 Hangs, like a blue thread loosened from the sky:-
 So this winged hour is dropt to us from above.
 Oh! clasp we to our hearts, for deathless dower
 This close-companioned inarticulate hour
 When twofold silence was the song of love.
-- Dante Gabriel Rossetti
          (from 'The House of Life')

[Comments]

A previous posting (Poem #715) has many links to various biogs of D G
Rossetti, so I won't go into much detail, save to say that whatever you
think of his poetry, the deep passion and commitment of the man always is
apparent.  Whilst undoubtedly a deeply troubled person, his poetic spirit
seems largely romantic and hopeful. His voice reaches far beyond the
romanticism of his pre-Raphaelite age on which modernism so rapidly turned
its back: acknowledgements of his influence from Frost, Pound and Yeats
cement his place in posterity, already secured by the quality of the very
best of his work.

Whether this particular sonnet - from his tour-de-force of 101 Sonnets: The
House of Life - is indeed his best work is hard for me to be objective
about.  I first heard this in the musical setting by Ralph Vaughan Williams
and it had a profound effect on me both lyrically and musically. Its
evocation of an English summer day with clouds and sunshine is perfect and
within its span, of two people whose very silence encapsulates their love is
so accurate.

Technically, its sonnet form is unusual (abbaacca ddeffe) and perhaps looser
than some classical forms.  One might also quibble with some of the metrical
precision.  Neither of these facts detract, for me, from the overall effect
and the last two lines in particular which never fail to summon memories of
my own experiences of silence and love.

61 comments: ( or Leave a comment )

Yasmin Chinoy said...

D G Rosetti's "Silent Noon" reminds me of -

"Though nothing can bring back the hour
Of splendour in the grass or glory in the flower
Grieve not, rather find
Strength in what remains behind"

I cannot recall who wrote these lines or the poem they form part of - sorry!

Anonymous said...

the person who wrote

"Though nothing can bring back the hour
Of splendour in the grass or glory in the flower
Grieve not, rather find
Strength in what remains behind"
is William Wordsworth "Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood"

Anonymous said...

sorry to anonymous 1+2 but what exactly has that got to do with the poem SILENT NOON?!?!?!?!?!

ALSO THAT WAS A REALLY POINTLESS ANALYSIS BECAUSE YOU DONT IDENTIFY ANYTHING ABOUT THE POEM NOR DO YOU ANALYSE IT!!!

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