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Palilicium (Version Two)

by LawsonJ

My ship went astray when the cold day died

And I was glad to see my reflection

Fade as my guilt was taken by the tide.

For I detested that false complexion -

The one who let his vessel drift forlorn

And lost each move to steer a course to port,

Instead by will of sensual winds long bourne,

Ropes helpless to bring wandering sails in.

Then sprang forth Palilicium on high!

Heavenly Jove has placed Europa there.

Let Venus send her boyish butterfly -

I place myself forever in her care.

My world of sea I now have will to shun.

How fair to make this star on high my Sun.

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1313 Reviews

Points: 23286
Reviews: 1313

Sat Feb 02, 2013 12:53 pm
Hannah wrote a review...

So, at first I really, really hated the attempts at references. I think you'll get that from anyone who doesn't understand them easily. Just be aware of the audience you cut off when you make references and if that's what you want to do, because it's often rather easy to, with a little effort, make it so a much larger audience can get your message.

But, in the end, I think that if you can somehow give just ONE hint that the "boyish butterfly" is a star, we can understand that you're not trying to refer to the personalities behind these names, but just the heavenly bodies, which is what's really necessary in the poem.

Okay, on to the meat:

My ship went astray when the cold day died

And I was glad to see my reflection

Fade as my guilt was taken by the tide.

For I detested that false complexion -

This is awkward, hard to follow, and the rhymes sound forced. It's not a good way to open a poem that has the potential to be really great with a little work. I love the topic, the idea, and the hopeless, endlessness of it. It's timeless, so it can be lasting in the minds of the readers, too, but not if you open with forced rhymes that make them want to not read it at all.

I do like the ambiguous enjambment between reflection and fade, though. We think first he's happy to see the reflection, and then he's happy to see it leave. But the rest? Complexion? The reason it sounds forced is because you know you meant a different word, but you had to change it to complexion to rhyme. Many words sound easier there. I hated that false face, that false smile, those false eyes. Complexion usually talks about the skin tone, which is not what he detests, is it?

Instead by will of sensual winds long bourne,

Okay, you had to fill the space to keep the meter, but what do you mean by sensual? And what does it say of winds to be long bourne? That's not a word, by the way. Born is what I think you're looking for. Does it mean they came from far away? There needs to be an origination point mentioned in the sentence for that phrasing to make sense.

My world of sea I now have will to shun.

Last, I like the meaning of this line (especially because it's necessary for the gorgeousness that is the last line to really work -- this changing of allegiances), but "I now will have to shun" is very awkward. I understand you want to change sentence structure to sound more old-timey or whatever, but there are ways to do it gracefully. Work on it a little more.

Stick to your vision and bring it all in tight.

PM me if you have any questions, as I don't receive notifications for replies to reviews, and thus won't see it if you answer me here.

Good luck, and keep writing!

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1220 Reviews

Points: 72525
Reviews: 1220

Fri Jan 18, 2013 2:53 am
Kale wrote a review...

Oooh! A sonnet! I haven't seen a sonnet in a long while.

With that said, right now, the lines are all spaced out, so you might want to consider editing the line spacing to fix that. Ctrl + Enter should work.

There were also a couple of lines where your meter faltered, such as this one:

Fade as my guilt was taken by the tide.

And this line wound up with eleven syllables instead of ten:
Instead by will of sensual winds long bourne,

You also broke the form with this line:
Ropes helpless to bring wandering sails in.

With that said, the end of your poem falls apart the moment you start introducing the mythological references. The connection between Palilicium, Jove, and Europa is a bit tenuous since your phrasing implies that Jove placed Europa in the constellation Taurus as Palilicium when (from what I recall) the constellation and Europa were always two separate entities. You then refer to Venus and "her boyish butterfly", which I am assuming is supposed to be either Cupid or Psyche, which left me wondering why they were even referred to. The line "I place myself forever in her care." then had me wondering which "her" you were referring to: Europa, Venus, or Psyche.

Basically, what I'm saying is that your references don't add anything to this piece as far as I can see, and in fact, they wind up confusing things more than helping, especially since they don't explain why the narrator must now shun the sea in order to glorify Palilicium/Europa as the Sun. I'd recommend stripping out the references to Venus and her boyish butterfly and reworking the Jove-Europa-Palilicium reference so it's a bit less obscure and tenuous.

LawsonJ says...

Thanks for the review. I shall adjust the faulty meter. You are correct that Europa is separate to Taurus, but as Palilicium is the brightest star of the constellation, and Europa is normally depicted riding on the back of Jupiter in the form of a bull, I thought the link worked. You've come suprising close to getting the 'boyish butterfly' reference, which is actually Anteros. The 'her' is deliberately ambiguous. I will consider reworking the mythological references.

It usually takes more than three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech.
— Mark Twain