When I was a Freshman in college, I came across a poem that might as well have climbed out of Norton’s Anthology of English Literature, fully garbed in nineteenth century attire and recited itself to me, so great was the impact it had on me. I was to realise over two decades later that there was a twist to this beautiful piece almost as mystical as the poem itself. First of all here’s Sudden Light by Dante Gabriel Rossetti.
I have been here before….
But when or how I cannot tell:
I know the grass beyond the door
The sweet, keen smell
The sighing sound, the lights around the shore
You have been mine before
How long ago I may not know
Yet, just when at the swallow’s soar
Your neck turn’d so ….
Some veil did fall, I knew it all of yore
Though age, faith or creed
May keep us apart now
One travels the hill, the other the lake
I claim you still for my own love’s sake
Delayed though it may be for more lives yet
Much is to learn, much to forget
‘Ere the time be come for taking you
But the time will come…oh yes!
The time will come.
Beautiful, right? Now here’s the interesting part. I can’t seem to remember where I originally came across it. Equally intriguing is the fact that I never wondered who wrote it or even what it was called. About a year ago I saw it again in one of my old diaries and for the first time I wanted to know who the poet was. I went to our latter day oracle, Google, to gain some insight. It turns out that in this version the last verse isn’t even written by Dante. It may have been penned by Linda Goodman, astrologer extraordinaire.
What I love about this is that Life communicates with us through many voices and sometimes the conversation can become both deeply personal and universal at the same time.
Is there a song, a book, a piece of art, a place or a meeting that has stopped you in your tracks and made you feel as if it were looking deep into your eyes and speaking directly to you, so intense was the sense of familiarity with it? I would love to hear from you!
The starry night- Vincent Van Gogh
… Well, I did happen to come across this one gorgeous landscape , beautifully captured in oil, by our very famous artist, Shahid Jalal. From the very moment I saw the work , I fell in love with it !
It took me into a world of memories, memories that I shall forever hold dear in my heart . For these involve , some beautiful , precious , priceless moments shared with none other than the first love of my life , my very dear and precious, baba .
This painting took me into another world , a place where ‘now’ did not exist, a place where I was a child once again , clueless to the pain and suffering that comes with this life . Those carefree days of walking on the path , amidst the beautiful forests on the mountains of Nathiagali , with him …..
I feel very blessed and lucky to have had the opportunity and pleasure of owning this gorgeous piece . This piece which is more than just a beautiful piece of art to me , but a memory captured in oil , displayed on my wall today and etched on my heart forever !!
With love and fondest wishes
I don’t know if this comment page is still active but I’m completely stunned by what your experience with the poem Sudden Light was because it so closely mirrors mine. I too found the longer version in an old diary today and googled it. And found you. Strange…