Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Thank You

Thank you, everyone, for your thoughts and words and music suggestions in the last post. It really meant a lot to me. (And you know what really made me cry -- aside from the Pastry Pirate's personal remembrance -- and Wiseass's over at her blog, too -- is that "Geoffrey Chaucer" gave condolences in modern English. It's weird what gets to you sometimes.) Anyway some of your music suggestions made it to the final disc, by the way, so thanks especially for helping out there. The final mix included classical music as well -- Mom had eclectic tastes -- and you might be surprised to learn that Yo-Yo Ma's performance of Bach's Cello Suite #1 in G Major follows Guns n Roses' "Paradise City" quite nicely.

By the way, I noticed something cool about that Rosetti sonnet a couple of days later. It's really deceptively simple, and my Mom may never have noticed this, but she would've appreciated it if someone pointed it out to her. It's a Petrarchan/Italian sonnet with the usual "volta" or turn in the conventional place, at the beginning of the sestet: "Yet if you should forget me for a while..." But in the fourth line, in what would be the end of a quatrain in an English sonnet, there's a false volta, a kind of fake-out, just as Rosetti writes: "Nor I half turn to go, yet turning stay." Clever Rosetti! The sonnet itself "half turn[s]" and "yet turning stay[s]" as well! So while the poem may be simple and direct in its diction and expression, unornamented by metaphor or complex figurative language, it nevertheless does that sonnet thing of self-consciously playing with the form. Wonderful!

And you know what else? That's also the point in the poem, if you're reading it aloud at a memorial, when you begin to cry, and you want to "stay" in the sense of stop, but you go on, just as it does. Or at least that's what happened to me. It's both wonderful and weird how manipulative -- in a neutral sense -- literature can be, how it can make you react in rhythm with it, not just by what it says (after all, that sonnet isn't particularly deep) but by how it says it. The sonnet is one of my favorite genres for that effect -- the force of the logical structure often just carries you forward nearly against your will.

Part of me wants to connect that last remark to grief and love, but my brain's too dull and it's all coming out in my head sounding hopelessly Romantic. So I'll end here by saying, again, thank you for all your kind words, thoughts, and prayers.

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