Eye of the Paradox

December 30, 2004


The eye of the paradox –
The heart of the fire.
The lull of the ocean waves –
The strum of the lyre.

The evanescence of the candle flame –
The warmth of the sun.
The earth is an oriflamme –
A symbol undone.

And we are a paradox –
We love yet we kill.
Our passion, our power –
They lead us to ill.

The eye of the hurricane –
The heat of the fire.
The crash of the ocean waves –
The scream of the lyre.

One of my earliest poems, and also one that, at the time, seemed particularly focused on one issue — that of the potential for nuclear holocaust.  Reading it now, though, it seems to have many more applications.  By the way, oriflamme means “An inspiring standard or symbol” and evanescence is “To dissipate or disappear like vapor”.  Guess I was showing off my SAT prep vocabulary at the time (I was 13).

I like the repeated montage in the opening and closing stanzas but I don’t know about the middle two stanzas.  Do they work for you?  Is this all too pretentious?


  1. This comment moved from the old blog site — original date lost

    I agree with your thoughts on the “repeated montage” in the first and last stanzas; it reminds me of a poem I read a few weeks ago, but I can’t place my finger on it at the moment.

    I love the way you seem to attempt to portray so much emotion in your poetry — I feel as if I can actually see and experience the actual events described. In this poem, I especially liked the third and fourth stanzas. The third seems to really capture the meaning of the work, and the fourth creates a vivid description.

  2. This comment moved from the old blog site — original date lost.

    I definitely stumble over the word “evanescence,” not in terms of meaning but in terms of rythym. It’s like everything slows down for a bit while I’m reading that word. Not sure that’s the kind of effect you want.

    I agree that stanzas 1 and 4 are the best. Stanza 2 suffers from what I mentioned before (and perhaps that few people will know what oriflamme means) but is otherwise fine. Stanza 3 seems…immature? I don’t think that’s any defect in the stanza, but rather a symptom of stanza 3 being the center of the poem’s message.

    Perhaps because this was written at such a young age, the message seems slightly youngish. I can’t name anything to you that does this, it’s just a feeling I get. I think I recognize the same attitude as in some of my earliest poetry. Is it trying to educate? Does it feel condescending? I’m not sure.

    If it were me, I might try chucking stanza 3, and coming up with a more mature message to go with the powerful description in stanza 1 and 4.

    Something humourous just struck me—I’m critiqueing a poem that was written before I was born!

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