TWO SONNETS

Whoever labours to be Pindars’ equal,

Iulus, mounts on wings that are fastened with wax,

Daedalus-fashion, and will give his name to

glittering water.

Horace, Ode IV.2

 

And again an essay in companion poetry, odes last time, sonnets this time, risking the whip of Horace…:

I

Keats, 1818

WHEN I HAVE FEARS THAT I MAY CEASE TO BE

When I have fears that I may cease to be

Before my pen has gleaned my teeming brain,

Before high-pilèd books, in charactery,

Hold like rich garners the full ripened grain;

When I behold, upon the night’s starred face,

Huge cloudy symbols of a high romance,

And think that I may never live to trace

Their shadows with the magic hand of chance;

And when I feel, fair creature of an hour,

That I shall never look upon thee more,

Never have relish in the faery power

Of unreflecting love—then on the shore

Of the wide world I stand alone, and think

Till love and fame to nothingness do sink.

 

______________

 

II

WHEN I AM CERTAIN OF MY LIFE TO CEASE

When I am certain of my life to cease

And count the blessings of its miserable gains,

Fruit of my loom, once published and released

From private meditation and its mental pains;

When I recall how soon our love decreased,

Receding like a wave from Paradise’s shore;

How high romance first faded, then deceased,

Leaving the poet’s soul and venture sour;

When I feel darker shadows of our past,

Yet know now that I will not meet her ever,

Never feel again that fear inspiring blast

Of a love lost, — then, however sad, I sever

The poorer self from both this world and thee,

Letting the things that were and are – just be.

 

Sierksma, La Roche 13.9/2016

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Author: rjsiersk

contact: rjsiersk@xs4all.nl Sierksma was born in Friesland, a 'county' in the northern part of the Netherlands with its own language which he does not speak and with an obstinate population to which he both belongs and does not belong. A retired Professor of Social Philosophy and Aesthetics, as a Harkness fellow he taught at Rutgers and Berkeley Universities in the USA, and at GUAmsterdam and TUDelft in the Netherlands. In 1991 he was awarded his PhD from Leiden University on the subject of 'Surveillance and Task: Labour Discipline between Utilitarianism and Pragmatism'. His books include Minima Memoria (1993), Lost View (2002 with Jan van Geest), and Litter Scent (2013). He has published poems and articles in Te Elfder Ure, Nynade, Oasis and the Architectural Annual. Half the year he lives in Haarlem, the other half he spends in la France Profonde, living ‘in his own words’ as the house out there was bought with the winnings from his essay Eternal Sin, written for the ECI Essay Prize (1993). In this blog, Sierksma's Sequences, written in English, he is peeping round his own and other people’s perspectives. Not easily satisfied with answers nor with questions, he turns his wry wit to a number of philosophical and historical issues. His aim in writing: to make parts of the world light up in his perspective - not my will, thine! Not being a thief, he has no cook, one wife, some children, one lover and three cats. He would not ind being a cat.

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