Thursday, July 27, 2006

"The ocean of night"     [sonnet of surfeit]

How many words are needed to reach a landing?
the river of words the mountain of words the sea
of maundering words the clouds of words grandstanding
and all the memento mori conturbat me
How many words must an eye read? how many must
a thin tongue produce for to float upon neighborly breath?
say how many bones must molder to make some more dust?
and how many times must the soul do the drill of death?
O how many drills? how many bits? pray how
many times will the latest-yet sun arise in an east?
and the questions! how many questions to wrinkle a brow?
and the smiles and sighs! and the tears! Might you at least
call a truce to the unending endlessness   we must swim in?
the ocean of night our poor lights gleam   and dim in?

memento mori conturbat me: (loosely translated) "recalling my mortality is really messing me up"; see, e.g., memento mori. My line in fact messes up (or mixes) this "memento mori" phrase with the refrain to William Dunbar's classic poem "Lamenet for the Makers" (see poem #24) -- said refrain being "Timor Mortis conturbat me". [Whether my hybrid line reads with grammatical correctness in Latin, I don't (at the moment) know for sure.]

A listing of earlier blogged sonnets (and sonnet sequences) is seen here


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