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Odd Sonnet
Posted by: Hugh Clary (192.168.128.---)
Date: January 19, 2006 01:42PM

I will leave this one without the Title, thinking it might be an interesting riddle to solve. See if you can guess the solution without looking it up on the internet.

Bartleby shows the two stanzas as a sextet on top, octave below, but I will leave it as I found it, with the apparent rhyme scheme as abba bbcb bdb dcc.

Bartleby also shows it completely in quotes, so I will include them, although they do not appear in all copies on the web.

"Master of human destinies am I;
Fame, love, and fortune on my footsteps wait,
Cities and fields I walk; I penetrate
Deserts and seas remote, and passing by
Hovel and mart and palace, soon or late
I knock unbidden once at every gate;
If sleeping wake -- if feasting, rise before
I turn away. It is the hour of fate,
And they who follow me reach every state
Mortals desire and conquer every foe
Save death; but those who doubt or hesitate,
Condemned to failure, penury, and woe,
Seek me in vain and uselessly implore --
I answer not and I return no more."
--John J. Ingalls (1833-1900)

Re: Odd Sonnet
Posted by: PamAdams (192.168.128.---)
Date: January 19, 2006 02:01PM



Re: Odd Sonnet
Posted by: IanB (192.168.128.---)
Date: January 19, 2006 06:12PM


Guessing without Googling.

Re: Odd Sonnet
Posted by: lg (Moderator)
Date: January 20, 2006 01:29AM



Re: Odd Sonnet
Posted by: Hugh Clary (192.168.128.---)
Date: January 20, 2006 12:46PM

As the ad for the piano repairperson said, Opporknockety Tunes.

Re: Odd Sonnet
Posted by: lg (Moderator)
Date: January 20, 2006 12:53PM

You can tune a piano, but you can't tuna fish.


Re: Odd Sonnet
Posted by: Veronika (192.168.128.---)
Date: January 20, 2006 10:16PM

Off the top of my head I would say chance.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/20/2006 10:55PM by Veronika.

Re: Odd Sonnet
Posted by: marian2 (192.168.128.---)
Date: January 23, 2006 07:01PM

Luck is my guess

Re: Odd Sonnet
Posted by: Marty (192.168.128.---)
Date: January 23, 2006 11:55PM

Opportunity knocks, but only once? How bout that song....knock three times on the ceiling if you want me....
I've bumped into some opportunities that I'm so glad I didn't take.


Re: Odd Sonnet
Posted by: Elliot (192.168.128.---)
Date: January 29, 2006 01:05AM


Re: Odd Sonnet
Posted by: Marty (192.168.128.---)
Date: January 29, 2006 11:37AM

It is the hour of fate,

So it isn't a riddle afterall?

Re: Odd Sonnet
Posted by: Hugh Clary (192.168.128.---)
Date: January 30, 2006 11:40AM

Sorry I didn't clarify before. The title is Opportunity:

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Speaking of riddles, though, I wonder if this one by Adrian Mitchell (b. 1932) is one:


Their tongues are knives, their forks are hands and feet.
They feed each other through their skins and eat
Religiously the spiced, symbolic meat.
The loving oven cooks them in its heat --
Two curried lovers on a rice-white sheet.

Re: Odd Sonnet
Posted by: Hugh Clary (192.168.128.---)
Date: January 31, 2006 02:43PM

The rice-white sheet could be a bedsheet, no? The loving oven I will leave for those with more ribald imaginations, but a possible solution could be two lovers, who devour each other passionately?

Here is another curious sonnet, by James Merrill:

One afternoon, red, satyr-thighed
Michael, the Irish setter, head
Passionately lowered, led
The child I was to a shut door. Inside,

Blinds beat sun from the bed.
The green-gold room throbbed like a bruise.
Under a sheet, clad in taboos
Lay whom we sought, her hair undone, outspread,

And of a blackness found, if ever now, in old
Engravings where the acid bit.
I must have needed to touch it
Or the whiteness - was she dead?
Her eyes flew open, startled strange and cold.
The dog slumped to the floor. She reached for me. I fled.

I get an erie feeling reading this one, reminding me of the dead lady in Wallace Stevens's Emperor of Ice Cream and the death in the opposite house Emily Dickinson described. I especially like the old lady being 'clad in taboos'; one can almost hear her pontificating an endless list of rules about what is not allowed. I infer the figure in bed is the author's mother.

What makes it erie? The consonants and vowels chosen? The unusual meter? Note the alexandrine last line, a wounded snake that drags its slow length along.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/31/2006 02:45PM by Hugh Clary.

Re: Odd Sonnet
Posted by: JohnnySansCulo (192.168.128.---)
Date: January 31, 2006 03:44PM

i shoulda put it here:


Re: Odd Sonnet
Posted by: PamAdams (192.168.128.---)
Date: January 31, 2006 07:15PM

I don't see the woman as old- if the author is a child, the mother could be in her twenties.

I think the eerieness is partly in the choice of language- 'satyr-thighed' for a dog,- not how I would refer to an Irish setter; The room throbbing 'like a bruise'; blackness from acid; blinds 'beat' sun;- with all that, you're expecting a death. Actually, I think that the woman has just had an orgasm. (Maybe that's where the dog's satyr-thighs come from.......)

Also the lines are tricky- the mid-line breaks make you pause- perhaps like a child afraid to open a door?


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