MUSIC, when soft voices die,
Vibrates in the memory-
Odors, when sweet violets sicken,
Live within the sense they quicken.
Rose leaves, when the rose is dead,
Are heaped for the beloved’s bed;
And so thy thoughts, when thou art gone,
Love itself shall slumber on.
Topic of the poem I selected is To —— by Percy Bysshe Shelley, the well known English poet. The topic leaves you guessing, sort of intrigued about what is coming and you read the poem with a great sense of expectancy.
The theme of this little ode is the ephemeral, fleeting character of things – be it a touching tune of music, violets, roses or even thoughts. All these have their moments when they uplift those around ere they fade away into memory.
The speaker obviously is the poet himself – pouring his heart out remembering the little, few things he loved and remembered. He is almost speaking to himself even as he shares these emotions with those that may chance to read his poem.
The tone of the poem is sad in a nostalgic, remembering way. It is sad and reflective – almost verging on philosophical. There is magnanimity for he in his memory is not just remembering but recounting the love, joy, happiness and value these brought into the lives of the onlooker. The tone is appreciative lingering memory.
Imagery is realistic that borders on imaginative – in fact the boundaries are blurred between the two. Real also turns imaginary as it passes into memory. What remains is the thought, the written word, the rhyme that seems to come so naturally, almost rhythmically as it tickles your memory to the imaginative world of felt experience – real, yet, not capable of being held on!
Memories are recalling feelings, experiences that once we lived through. The soft sounds that fade away and yet linger on in our minds; ringing, mildly echoing like a subsuming, lilting tune of a half forgotten song – that is music, an un-struck melody, as if drifting across oceans and hills and strange, unseen, unknown lands.
In a like manner even as violets wither away they induce in us a feeling of great beauty, a deep sense of joyousness, lingering like the waft of cool breeze as it touches our cheeks and gently ruffles some locks of hair, known only at seeing a thing that somehow is seen and yet remains unseen, tucked away in the inner recesses of our being, like the perfume among ruffled sheets.
Oh for those buds on the bed – the patterns they make as they gently glide and slide as the sheet is moved. Those petals once made a lovely blossom. But then is it not so wonderful that even after the bud has lost its being, its sense of togetherness that gives it its sense of identity, its wholeness, its very existence – the petals spreading and randomly rolling as the sheets turn are still living out another incarnation of bringing joy, shared love.
Thus when we are gone our little acts, gentle words, kindly nudges live on in many memories that may have been touched. We do not know who would they be but the lingering thoughts would come to some as they do to us about those who have gone or events since forgotten and evoke nostalgia, sometimes longing and yet other times an aching feeling of love, not quite understood, but not forgotten – within the recesses of our warped minds! May be reliving life in thoughts, memories, remembrances is the real living – reality is only understood when we are removed from it – may be?