UKArchive ID: 36617elfstone
Originally published on June 13, 2016 in Poetry
We have only the choices Fate allows us ....
This price that's paid by you who are bereaved -
This aching of tear-laden, silent grief -
Is price well paid for all that is received
In gaining soul-deep love, however brief
The sharing years may seem in count of days,
Contrasting each long hour of Sorrow's deep;
While loneliness of Death's diverging ways
Consumes all but the memories you keep.
Would you forsake companionship's delight
For fear of all that losing it will bring,
Or drain the glass of happiness despite
Knowing a mourning bell may likely ring?
All those who that sweet choice have never known
Will tell how dull the empty years have flown.
© Elfstone 16/5/16
Archived comments for Sweet Choice
Mikeverdi on 13-06-2016
Better to ha e loved and lost, than never to have loved at all
I have always believed this. The feelings of grief can tear at your heart, memories will come in time to help. The pain however will never be far away.
It's the same with pets, although not everyone will agree with this.
Great writing on an emotive subject.
Thanks Mike. This was another prompted by my pal's death at the beginning of May. "Better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all"? yes, the older I get, the more I think that is very true.
You're right about pets — their loss can be devastating. Elfstone
sweetwater on 14-06-2016
I love the way you have captured so much emotion and heartbreak with such truly beautiful words. A stunning poem.
I know the devasting heartbreak of losing an animal, losing my beloved retriever Bracken eleven years ago runs a very close second to losing my mum whom I still haven't got over, twelve years previously, I still miss my whippet Tally, and that was even longer ago. Loving deeply whether human or animal, the pain of their loss knows no bounderies, and no end. Sue.
sweetwater - how on earth did I miss this comment? ! I'm so sorry! I'm becoming increasingly scatty these days 🙁
I'm very grateful for your kind words and you are right about pets. I still miss the dog I "grew up with", all these years later. Elf.
pdemitchell on 14-06-2016
Well thought and wrought tribute to a pal. Mitch
Many thanks Mitch - your good opinion is valued 🙂 Elf.
Ionicus on 15-06-2016
A skilfully crafted sonnet expressing grief and lost love.
Thank you Ionicus. 🙂 I don't often write sonnets, but they seem to be "right" for some situations. Elf.
gwirionedd on 01-07-2016
An excellent and poignant sonnet, spoiled only by the archaic syntax of the penultimate line. I think you should rethink the ending. Otherwise, very nice indeed!
gwirionedd, many thanks for leaving such a positive comment. 🙂
"spoiled only by the archaic syntax of the penultimate line. - interesting; I think sonnets are a bit archaic anyway and lend themselves to a slightly old fashioned style of language? I will give the last couplet some thought. Elfstone.
gwirionedd on 01-07-2016
Well, sonnets are just lines of metric verse, usually iambic pentameter, which do not necessarily lend themselves to the use of archaic language. It is simply that one is forced to rhyme at the end of the line which tempts poets into using unnatural word order and forced rhymes. I believe that a poet should resist this temptation, because it is the 21st century, and it clangs on the ear somewhat to read something written in 16th century syntax.
Poetry should replicate real, natural speech as much as possible. I mean, obviously you need to be inventive and imaginative with language, and possibly use rhyme and meter if you want, but other than that, it should sound like genuine English speech. Archaisms are false and lazy. Any guide on how to write poetry will tell you this.
I used to make the archaic syntax mistake quite often when I was younger, but now I've learned to avoid this like the plague.
My apologies for the delay in replying gwirionedd - it's been a frantic week for several reasons.
I love it when comments to a poem lead into this sort of discussion and I'm grateful to you for coming back with an explanation of your first post. I don't agree with some of what you've said, this for instance "Poetry should replicate real, natural speech as much as possible". I'm pretty sure that none of my poems would be described in that way - not saying that's good or bad, just the way I see poetry. "Archaisms are false and lazy" - not always. I think there is a place for them sometimes, depending on the poem.
" Any guide on how to write poetry will tell you this. " I have to confess I have never in my life read a guide on how to write poetry! Maybe I should some day ...
My thanks again gwirionedd. Elfstone
gwirionedd on 11-07-2016
Yes, you do have a point regarding experimental poetry, for example. Experimental poetry doesn't necessarily replicate real speech, or need to.
But with the majority of poetry, sonnets for example, it is necessary to do so - grammatically, I mean. Poetry should adhere to the same grammatical rules that normal spoken language does. Otherwise, it sounds very odd. If we were having a conversation together in the pub, and I started putting words in the wrong order, or using the grammatical tenses wrongly, I would sound very odd to you, as though English was not my native language. Well, the same is true for poetry.
When we read Shakespeare, it doesn't strike us as odd when, for example, he places a verb at the end of a sentence. This is because we are aware that he was writing in the 16th century and this was how people actually spoke back then!
At some point in the 17th century, Early Modern English became Modern English, and people stopped putting their verbs at the ends of sentences. Modern English has a very different character to Early Modern English, largely because of grammar and word order.
16th century syntax is not appropriate for a 21st century poem. It's like a newly-built mock-Tudor house. It's not genuine, it's fake. And you run the risk of sounding like Yoda from Star Wars.
It's OK if you're writing a poem where the action is set in the 16th century. If there is some kind of artistic and historical justification for it. But otherwise, to be frank, it sounds awful. The moment I see an example of it on this website, I usually immediately stop reading, and go and read something else instead.
Just to give you a new perspective on things...
Again my apologies for the tardiness of my reply. I find myself spending more and more time on the new site now.
I accept all that you say about the historical changes in English; of course all languages evolve. I don't however agree that we must use nothing but modern usage in our poetry, nor do we have to accept the ugliness of some modern parlance. One of the reasons that the King James bible is still much used and loved is that people like the beauty of that language style; likewise with Shakespeare and his contemporaries. I believe there are occasions where use of more archaic language is appropriate and acceptable; I think that we will just have to agree to disagree on that point. 🙂
I am moving over to the new version of UKA (http://writeandbedamned.com/) and if you haven't already had a look, I recommend it to you. I have enjoyed our debate and I hope there will be more on the new site. Elfstone