Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Mutability

I just came across a PB Shelley poem called "Mutability." It has some pretty strong themes that still hold true today. Take a look.

Mutability -- Percy Shelley

We are as clouds that veil the midnight moon;
How restlessly they speed, and gleam, and quiver,
Streaking the darkness radiantly!—yet soon
Night closes round, and they are lost for ever.

Or like forgotten lyres, whose dissonant strings
Give various response to each varying blast,
To whose frail frame no second motion brings
One mood or modulation like the last.

We rest. – A dream has power to poison sleep;
We rise. –One wandering thought pollutes the day;
We feel, conceive or reason, laugh or weep;
Embrace fond woe, or cast our cares away:

It is the same! –For, be it joy or sorrow,
The path of its departure still is free:
Man’s yesterday may ne’er be like his morrow;
Nought may endure but Mutability.

We are temporary, even though we might consider ourselves ostentatious and the thought of us actually dying is never that real to us. We are all mortal, and we eventually shall pass along. We think we are more important than we really are, when in the end, we will eventually be forgotten.

Shelley uses some excellent similes to drive this point home. First he uses the image of the cloud passing over the dark moon at midnight, and then we have the forgotten music lyrics. Like these things, we will eventually pass too and will be soon forgotten.

Life is in a state of mutability, constant change and alteration. The only thing we can count on is for life to be constantly changing. Every day will be different than the next, and that is the only positive thing to take from life. We will have our moments of sorrow and woes, but life changes. We can do what we will with our joys and sorrows, and tomorrow is a new day. Every day starts over fresh; revel in that.

I could comment more on sounds, alliterations, uses of imagery and other literary elements, but that's just boring. I just wanted to give some quick thoughts to share and perhaps hear a bit in return.

What do you think of PB Shelley's "Mutability?"

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