Sunday, December 24, 2006

100 Freedom

The toil of the slave, brings great distress,
The honor of the brave, does rise as one,
The man of God, on freedom doth digress,
We, free to nod, accept the Holy Son.
Yet slaves decide, their masters to obey,
The brave, described, are known by glorious deeds,
The Holy fathers here, from truth do sway,
For in our present fear, are sown the seeds!
In lands pre’su’med free, men are enslaved,
Forever bend the knee, to selfish greed,
And now the free, those known to us enslaved,
Have choice indeed, to follow or to lead.
Autonomy, known not or by the few,
Who are the free, the all, or never true?
© Jerusalemrising (Tyler O’Neil)
Written October 16, 2006


Sonnet Boy said...

Okay, JerusalemRising, here's that criticism you asked for! :)

I can see what you're trying for here, but the commas seem a bit over-used and break up the flow of the lines. In lines 1-3 I would take out the mid-verse commas completely, as well as in lines 5, 7, 8, and 10.

I like how you set up the contrast of "what we think" in the first quatrain to "how it is" in the second, though the line about "the brave" seems not to have the same thesis. ("Slaves choose their slavery," "Holy men aren't truthful" show definitions turned topsy turvy, but "brave men are known by great deeds" just seems a statement of accepted definition.)

And I admit I had trouble puzzling out the meaning of the concluding couplet by its structure. I get the sense of it, but more from context than from the thing itself. "Autonomy, known not or by the few" is a qualifying phrase that seems abandoned in the next line, which is a unit to itself, and a rhetorical question. Maybe make the first line a complete sentence: "Autonomy's not known, or known by few;/ Who are the free: the all- or never-true?"

Is that close? Or did I butcher it? :) Keep it up...

Jerusalemrising said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jerusalemrising said...

My other comment is embedded in here, I forgot to address all that you spoke of before in the first one, so I made a second one.
Well, I think perhaps you're right about the commas, but I used them overmuch to illustrate the caesuras in the lines. This was the first work of mine to use caesuras, and as such, I wanted to make sure that they were obvious.
About the brave, it may seem sketchy, but what I mean is that the brave perform glorious deeds and that makes them the brave... you see, the brave can't not to glorious deeds, because then they wouldn't be brave, and thus they have no freedom to decide for or against glorious deeds, if they are brave. The whole point, I suppose, is to confuse the reader, and make them question about the very nature of freedom itself, to open their minds to new possibilities, that perhaps, they are not as free as they suppose themselves to be.
I forgot to address the concluding couplet. I understand what you mean, but my point in this sonnet is also to add caesuras and link the lines themselves together with rhyme at the end of the caesuras. "Autonomy (the first two iambs of the line)" rhymes with "who are the free(the first two iambs of the next line)" perhaps the grammar's sketchy, and I'll work on it, thanks for the suggestion, but something different will have to work.
Thanks for the criticism =)

Sonnet Boy said...

I see what you mean about the caesuras, but it seems to me the challenge in that case is to make the pauses occur naturally in the line's stride rather than forcing a stutter-step with an ungrammatical comma. I think the internal rhyme you pointed out might help you there, as it delineates a unit of sound--esp. when read out loud.

Not to beat the "brave" horse to death, but I think what you said just reiterates what I said--the brave are by definition not un-brave, so the line is a straight definition of "the brave." My point was that this is in thematic contrast to the rest of the quatrain, which seems to show things in opposition to their presumed definitions (holy men lie, slaves don't want to be free, free lands still contain slaves). One of these themes is not like the others. :)

And for the record, in my version the "Autonomy/Who are the free" rhyme would still be there, and the comma and colon would mark the caesuras. :) But you're the builder here.