Sunday, January 15, 2006

Rupert Brooke

Back in college, I read a book which used the poem "The Call" by Rupert Brooke. Romantic that I was, I was inspired to check out a book of Brooke's poetry and in the front page was this photograph. I fell in crush, mesmerized by this beautiful man with a tragic story. Here's the beautiful poem that inspired me to read more.

The Call

Out of the nothingness of sleep,
The slow dreams of Eternity,
There was a thunder on the deep:
I came, because you called to me.

I broke the Night's primeval bars,
I dared the old abysmal curse,
And flashed through ranks of frightened stars
Suddenly on the universe!

The eternal silences were broken;
Hell became Heaven as I passed.
--What shall I give you as a token,
A sign that we have met, at last?

I'll break and forge the stars anew,
Shatter the heavens with a song;
Immortal in my love for you,
Because I love you, very strong.

Your mouth shall mock the old and wise,
Your laugh shall fill the world with flame,
I'll write upon the shrinking skies
The scarlet splendour of your name,

Till Heaven cracks, and Hell thereunder
Dies in her ultimate mad fire,
And darkness falls, with scornful thunder,
On dreams of men and men's desire.

Then only in the empty spaces,
Death, walking very silently,
Shall fear the glory of our faces
Through all the dark infinity.

So, clothed about with perfect love,
The eternal end shall find us one,
Alone above the Night, above
The dust of the dead gods, alone.

I've always seen this as the ultimate love poem. Over the top in its imagery. I can't imagine that you could read this to a lover nowadays, because it would seem too much...something. I read Brooke's biography, more than one actually, trying to figure out who he wrote the poem for--what great love. The answer to the mystery was a little freaky because apparently, Brooke wrote it about a brother who had died. Is it just me? Does that seem normal? It was the turn of the century but still...


nina said...

I find it breathtakingly beautiful especially because it was for his dead brother.

My adult daughters are the best of friends. If one died, I would only wish that the other had the poetic skills to express her sorrow in this way.

Robin said...

I do still find the poem powerful and moving, I regret though, that my first exposure left me with the impression that it was about a romantic connection. The lines "I'll break and forge the stars anew, shatter the heavens with a song, immortal in my love for you, because I love you very strong." are so rich with purpose. There's nothing the writer wouldn't do for the loved one. I wish my understanding of the poem hadn't been shaped by the wrong context.