Shades of Sadness
At least half, if not more, of all of the poems ever written could probably be considered "sad." Elegiacism, melancholy, ennui, mourning, loss, nostalgia, unrequited love, blocked ambitions, political disillusionment, dishonor, and death are some of the subjects commonly associated with sadness in poetry, but the list is comet-tail long.
Some poets, like Plath, or Poe, or Baudelaire are so well known for grappling with sadness that they are most often conceptualized wearing black, looking crestfallen, and writing by candlelight in a cobwebby room.
The question is: is the pallor that punctuates poetry as obvious and complete as it seems, or is there room for new shades of sadness?
The fragility and melancholic music of Tennyson's "Tears Idle Tears" may be the correct match for our autumnal empire, but our phone-locked minds no longer respond to such delicacies.
The brooding, unrelenting mourning of "The Raven" may have been our cultural heart beat all along, but most of us are inured to such Gothic brooding and would feel quite cozy under Pallas's raven-topped bust.
We may be living in the "the worst of times" or "the best of times" but it seems to me that our age invites new colors of sadness and mourning.
We've all colored with the black crayon so much it's just a stub now.
Maybe it's time to find new colors of sadness by mixing new pigments.
And I'll start talking about how I think we can do that in the next post!
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