Guest poem sent in by Kamalika Chowdhury
(Poem #1668) Aedh Laments the Loss of Love
(or The Lover Mourns for the Loss of Love) Pale brows, still hands and dim hair, I had a beautiful friend And dreamed that the old despair Would end in love in the end: She looked in my heart one day And saw your image was there; She has gone weeping away.
On reading the recent Yeats poem (Poem #1657 - "The Rose of the World"), I was reminded that the minstrels does not yet have two of my favourite poems by Yeats. This gem of a poem, from "The Wind Among the Reeds" (1899), is one of them. The poignancy of loss of love has seldom been better expressed in the English language. Yet the spell of this poem goes beyond that perfect execution, and into the intriguingly complex play of time and emotion captured in these few short, heart-stopping lines. No words are wasted here. Even as the gentle, patient cadence of the opening lines sets the scene, the powerful simplicity of the final image brings a sudden and immense sense of permanence. In the end one is left with a picture far wider than the title promised. Which was the real loss? Whence the haunting despair, and how deep love's lament? Beautiful. Kamalika [Martin adds] I also love the way the closing "she has gone weeping away" plays against the incompleteness of the "missing" eighth line. The poem ends on a brief, expectant pause, a held breath, perhaps a hope that this is not then end of the story. And then the realisation that the poem has indeed come to an end surges back, and the reader is almost compelled to silently reread the last line, both to lay to rest the feeling that the poem should continue a line more, and by the very repetition perhaps to supply that closure. (And yet, in the end, I am unable to read finality into the last line; the more I look at it, the more I feel the promise of a second chance. And that, too, is perhaps as it should be.) martin