The title is inspired by John Milton’s sonnet ‘On his arriving at the age of twenty three’, where the poet analyses as to where he stands on his twenty third birthday. The poem is written in the form of a sonnet. Twenty-three was then a age when men would want to look back and believe that they have achieved something or are now established in a good profession, after completing their education. Milton here takes a very critical look at what he has done so far in the Octet and later turns optimistic and hopes for a better future.
So, what inspired me to pen this post was my very good friend’s (D’s) birthday and she has now arrived in her twenty-seventh year. We met up with one another along with another close friend C and had a long, relaxing, talkative lunch, after a long time. Times have changed since we first met in 1997 and we have also changed with time. It was particularly interesting to note our transformations especially since our college days. C and I had a long chat upon that, prior to the arrival of our budday girl.
At one point there was a concern as to how would life go on, if D was not around and I couldn’t even imagine shopping – ever – without her. They say time takes care of all. Whoever they are, they happen to be right. Our worries of then, seem very trivial now and we move on, with new relations forming in our lives. Some new people who enter and change the course of our existing flow. I suppose it is good, else am sure I would be bored with the monotony.
Every stage is a learning and if you feel you haven’t done enough so far, then its time you start doing that something now, as the future awaits you like a black board.
So, once again a lovely birthday and year ahead for my dear D.
For those who might be interested to read Milton’s sonnet, here you go:
How soon hath Time, the subtle thief of youth,
Stol’n on his wing my three-and-twentieth year!
My hasting days fly on with full career,
But my late spring no bud or blossom shew’th.
Perhaps my semblance might deceive the truth
That I to manhood am arrived so near;
And inward ripeness doth much less appear,
That some more timely-happy spirits endu’th.
Yet be it less or more, or soon or slow,
It shall be still in strictest measure even
To that same lot, however mean or high,
Toward which Time leads me, and the will of
All is, if I have grace to use it so,
As ever in my great Task-Master’s eye.
And a sonnet is:
A sonnet is a fourteen-line poem in iambic pentameter with a carefully patterned rhyme scheme. Other strict, short poetic forms occur in English poetry (the sestina, the villanelle, and the haiku, for example), but none has been used so successfully by so many different poets. The Italian, or Petrarchan sonnet, named after Francesco Petrarch (1304-1374), the Italian poet, was introduced into English poetry in the early 16th century by Sir Thomas Wyatt (1503-1542). Its fourteen lines break into an octave (or octet), which usually rhymes abbaabba, but which may sometimes be abbacddc or even (rarely) abababab; and asestet, which may rhyme xyzxyz or xyxyxy, or any of the multiple variations possible using only two or three rhyme-sounds. The English or Shakespearean sonnet, developed first by Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey (1517-1547), consists of three quatrains and a couplet–that is, it rhymes abab cdcd efef gg.
The form into which a poet puts his or her words is always something of which the reader ought to take conscious note. And when poets have chosen to work within such a strict form, that form and its strictures make up part of what they want to say. In other words, the poet is using the structure of the poem as part of the language act: we will find the “meaning” not only in the words, but partly in their pattern as well.