WHEN THE BEAUTY FADES AWAY
Richards O. Silas "Talks"
When the sun ceases to shine on your beautiful face
And the birds of the sky cease to sing the eulogy of the beautiful one
When the rain washes off the smoothness of your face
I would still love you, even when the beauty fades away
When the eyes close up and the vision is dimmed
And everything around you appears like trees
And when the sickness of the aged grips the pretty face
I would still love you, even when the beauty fades away
When your beautiful voice disappears or becomes husky
And the speeches from thy lips are incoherent
When your 'thirty two' are gone or rotten
I would still love you, even when the beauty fades away
When your figure '8' turns waste and you have added weight
And your selfie hand sticks to a stick
When the roads become difficult to rove and your legs rocky
I would still love you even when the beauty fades away
When I'm gone to the land far away
Or you go before me
In my heart gallery, I would conserve your picture
Because I would still love you even when the beauty fades away
ANALYSIS OF 'WHEN THE BEAUTY FADES AWAY'
Abiodun Adelere Adesina
As with the specialness which each poem has, which each poet adorns each of their poems, the lord of this piece has given life to words in an arrangement not more than twenty lines of five equal verses. As the title speaks, the poem is a product of the poet's contemplation on what becomes of the story of love when the beauty of the persona receiving love fades away._ In each of the first four verses, the poet carefully chose unique qualities of beauty and essential determinants of enthralment; he then expressed his reflection on their passage which, conclusively, would not (rather, could not) alter the fire of love burning in the poet to the character. One beautiful style of this poetry is its unity in spite of its cline, its interlocking verses withal their singularities each. On the last part of the poem, the gravity of words, the implications of thought and the essence of the message not only serve as glue to the four verses afore but also work as the bottle holding the greatest force, even the very breath, of the poem. What and how the poet has engraved in this verse will soon be known in the subject matter analysis.
Beginning the poem is the title, WHEN THE BEAUTY FADES AWAY. A careful consideration of the title alone is revealing of the right attitude to the poem and of the reading of the poet's intents unbiasedly. First, it talks of a period which will become, a time which is anticipated, a moment of life that _the beauty_ should _fade away_. Then, it is specific of beauty. It is not just any spell, charm or allure of any human. It is _the_ beauty, not _a_ beauty (no, not one among many nor among several). It talks of the wear that becomes in time, the _depreciation_, so to say, of beauty, nay, _the beauty_, as it _fades away_ (wears and tears with time). From the title, it is clear the poet was not speaking of fantasies (as the essence of a passing time is attributable to this reality); he was not concerned with what another regards or attributes to beauty or beauty to, not with the objects of some beauty nor of the abstraction called beauty by humanity. He was mindful of the property of uniqueness borne by the beauty so referred to here. It was not distributed ambiguously; it was as to say, 'When that which I have known and identified only as beauty fades away. Thus, no manner of another man's judgement of what constitutes beauty can be imposed on the poem without a painful digression from the poet's true view, without an _unpardonable_ bias. Now, having the type of mind-set the poet would set his audience in, the type of ambience he designed for the flow, the content of the poem faces its examination.
The first verse has a single burden, the unique message that, when the beauty as embodied on your face should fail in time, I shall love you still.
Line 1: When the sun ceases to shine on your beautiful face First, there is a sense of time, of a coming moment in the future. It is not sure yet if the coming time is ephemeral; in fact, the words here chosen imply its persistence, nay, its everlastingness. The sun has a period of its 'ceasing' on the beautiful face, not as 'setting' to rise, but as stopping. It is a note of a timeless event. Now, the poet attributed a connection between the brightness of the sun and the face of the persona in this line. He authored the thought that the glory of the sun would be found on the visage of the persona, as its departure would become. In other words, 'when the sun that shines on you should fail lastly while it is fixed on you,' a note quite suggestive of some intimacy between the face and the sun. The poet has no intention (and it is clear from the words, _to shine on_) of saying the sun shone from her face. Nor does the poet intend that the sun gives her beauty. For, indeed, it is noted that the visage is a beautiful one. On this last note of this line one takes the import: 'The sun as shines on you shall cease one day. Your beauty on your face that its light reflects while it shines on you thus has its fading.'
Line 2: And the birds of the sky cease to sing the eulogy of the beautiful one As observed in the first line, the poet clearly had no intention that these objects of beauty are themselves the beauty of the persona; but rather, they profess it. Like the sun, the birds of the sky have a time their songs will not be heard again, even their songs of praises which declare the beauty of the persona. Beneath the thought of this day coming is the acceptance of the invaluable beauty the persona possesses.
Line 3: When the rain washes off the smoothness of your face Of the smoothness of the face have I to write first: now, including the brightness the beautiful face has (line 1) and the beauty that transforms into tunes for songbirds (line 2), the persona's face has room for smoothness, too. Now, making room for the whole line, this smoothness will be washed away when the time is due. It is important to note the agent active in this process: the rain. It is not a job of ordinary things. It is a deed achievable by persistent things, yea, persistent and natural. It is not soap nor is it sponge, but rain. The choice is not mistaken, as it had been 'heavenly things' that professed the beauty from the start. (Note that the ran had not been attributed to profess anything of the beauty; this is for the cause of a climax reached here, as briefly explained in Line 4 below).
Line 4: I would still love you, even when the beauty fades away A critical reason why I said earlier, 'its unity in spite of its cline is because each verse seems a story of its own, with its sequence of events through the climax to the resolution. Yet, each verse is an element in a story in sequence. Now, from here, this notice is evident. The poet reached a climax of the story in the first verse in the third line and made his resolution here. _...even when the beauty fades away_, i.e. even at that time of your face's beauty's passage; 'I would still love you...,' i.e. my love for you will remain intact. It is not sure the poet's choice of 'would'. Nevertheless, 'would' fits well to speak as though the poet already had the feeling of the future in this present, as if 'he has the empathy of that time from now'.
This verse reads its own tale thus: 'When sight or light is gone for age, my love shall not depart from you.'
Line 5: When the eyes close up and the vision is dimmed. Here, an awareness is created for the persona, 'Your sight is a part of your beauty.' There comes a period, as has been affirmed previously, when this sight will be lost with the eyes closing up and the vision loosing to a perpetual nighting of light.
Line 6: And everything around you appears like trees. As a consequence of the loss of sight in line 5, the persona is bound to misperceive things. This thought is profound and the insight is beyond playful reasoning. Is it untrue that one of such things as characterises the beauty of a human is the ability to grasp light, to identify glorious things. It is no great deal in our reckoning of beauty, I perceive. However, it is of a weighty matter in this author's contemplation. Now, the warning of the right mind-set, for that it is 'the beauty' (which is sounded from analysing the title) becomes of great use. The reader can only reason along. Greatly considering the implications from this line, there is no doubt beauty in the property of sight. For eyes that have seen before, dimness casts fear and shadows are frights. The strength of standing alone by the virtue of proper identification is stolen; and the dependence on another may weary, may alone shun the beholding eyes from beauty (note that this last note, 'may alone...', is not the necessary import of the line). Much more, eyes that are 'closed up' have successfully hidden a part of the making of the face, where the poet has greatly dwelt so far. A great burden underlying the thought of this line is, 'The beauty cannot be complete in the absence of its perception by its owner,' while things appear like trees.
Line 7: And when the sickness of the aged grips the pretty face. To grip is to hold firmly. Clearly, the poet chose these words for he conceived wrinkles, an inescapable sickness of the aged. It [wrinkles] holds the skin of the aged firmly and without release. Now, this line complements, but not contains the previous lines. Thus, in no way should lines 5 and 6 be interpreted in its light; it is not that the sickness in line 7 is the blindness in lines 5 and 6. Its own import is wrinkles; their import both is blindness. The poet also made this evident enough in the initial words of the line, And when, as against And in the sixth line. Thus, both wrinkles and blindness will distort (or take away) the beauty of the character when the time is due. Note again that the face has its inherent beauty before these events promise to unfold, as it is 'pretty'.
Line 8: I would still love you, even when the beauty fades away. In spite of the blindness and the wrinkles, the character would not be less loved by the poet in those days of dimness. (See the analysis of Line 4).
In this verse, it is summed: 'When your speech and its relations are departed from your beauty, I shall still remain by you'.
Line 9: When your beautiful voice disappears or becomes husky. The poet have spoken deeply and in an encompassing manner on the face and sight (Verses One and Two). Now, he speaks of speech. First, he admits there is 'the beauty' possessed by the character in voice. It is 'beautiful voice'. Then, the same passage is impressed on this beauty. It is bound to disappear. If not, it will become husky. First, it is not that both will co-occur. It is either the voice disappears or becomes husky (or how can a disappeared voice be husky, seeing that it is not there again in the first place?). It is either the sweetness of the character's sound is totally lost or is turned sorely sour. Either way, it is essentially the passage of beauty. (See also Line 10.)
Line 10: And the speeches from thy lips are incoherent. The comorbid event, of course, with failing or failed voice is the loss of fluency, of grace in speech, of eloquence and meaning in expression. The poet admitted the coming of this event, too. Note that they are 'speeches', and as thus, the contents of things or the particular talks themselves, but not the talking. This illuminates the thought of Line 9: the poet does not speak of the total inability of the character to express, to utter words. However, the sounds may be so empty that a thin tango of the air breaks the hard-breathed words into futility, thus, properly qualified as disappearing. In the other vein, that which is husky is not pleasant again. For a person used already (before the time predicted in 'when') to some mellifluous voice, huskiness is both that which is harsh and harsh change in the communication. It brings with it, too, a severing of communication, of the grace of speech. Thus, 'incoherence' is not only the meaningfulness of speech, but also the gracefulness of it. Both are beautiful; and their absence are not.
Line 11: When your 'thirty two' are gone or rotten. Exclusively (note the pattern of use of _and/when_, comparing to the second verse), the teeth, metonymed in 'thirty two', is either removed or rotten by this time. It is not to say the direct import is that this leads to the situation in ll 9 and 10. Rather, it co-occurs. Now, nothing stops this from causing or intensifying the situations in ll 9 to 10 (in fact, the indirect consequence of the verse naturally imposes this thought). However, the direct implication in the line is not so. Simply, at the moment you've lost the beauty of your teeth, is the message of this line. At the moment you've lost the beauty of your speech in your lost teeth is a consequence of the verse on this line.
Line 12: I would still love you, even when the beauty fades away. Again, like a pledge, the poet recited the relentlessness of his love in those days. This is the simple cause. (See again Line 4.)
In this verse, the sentiment of the poet is that regardless of the loss of attractive bodily shape and strength of the persona, love will not cease to be shared between them.
Line 13: When your figure '8' turns waste and you have added weight. The expression 'figure 8' is descriptive of the buxomness of a lady. Here, the poet refers to the curvaceousness of the lady (this line suffices to identify the persona as a lady, whereas this has been implicit so far). Now, the poet referred to this feature, and its time of desolation. In the period when the voluptuous figure of the lady should vanish, the lady would have added 'weight'. Here is a sense of the 'taste', so to say, of the poet. He liked not the 'weight', for he spoke of it in contrast to _what is beautiful, a curvy figure_. Now, the time is bound to arrive when the beauty in the shape of the character will be lost.
Line 14: And your selfie hand sticks to a stick. In addition to adding weight and losing a perfect stature, the persona will become unable to walk by herself. Here, the very hand that has held up for seconds or minutes at once will have no energy except that needed to rest on a stick. The poet is identifying strength as one of the virtues of 'the beauty'.
Line 15: When the roads become difficult to rove and your legs rocky. So lost will be the beauty of the persona that there will be no grace to walk elegantly, the legs that once 'carried the figure' now becoming rocky, irregular and unstable, that is. There is a great grasp of the constituents of beauty by the poet, that it is not only that which the lies on the face, but also that which lies on the body. However, the time comes when all this shall pass away.
Line 16: I would still love you even when the beauty fades away. Despite the failing strength and wasted alluring shape, the poet has no altering in the pledge has made to stay with the persona forever.
This verse sums it all up: 'Whatever befalls me, in death or in this life, I will love you eternally.'
Line 17: When I'm gone to the land far away. The land far away is symbolic of the rest the dead take when they lie. The poet speaks of his departure from this present world, nay of the time of it.
Line 18: Or you go before me. It is possible that the poet departs first; there is no chance however that the persona does not go before. Thus, the poet concisely captures either case. 'It may be that I die before you, or that you die before I do.'
Line 19: In my heart gallery, I would conserve your picture. The poet expressed that he would not have her forgotten, be it alive or dead. He would preserve 'her picture' not on walls built by hands, but on the heart, nay, in the heart's gallery. It was a solemn promise not to let his memories of her decay nor wash off as the beauty does. That beauty which is on the face he cannot embalm; that beauty which he has engraved as art on his heart, verily her beauty, he can keep forever. Indeed, he promises to keep it forever.
Line 20: Because I would still love you even when the beauty fades away. The very reason why this will become is his love for her. 'Because' is significant in this text. Unlike other verses where the pledge to remain in love with the persona comes in the last line, the pledge comes in the penultimate line here. The cause of the pledge in Line 19 (and, without doubt, of the repeated pledge in previous verses) is the content of the last line. It is not a promise to love; it is an explanation of the sureness of that promise, a simple argument of the perpetuity of affection. The poet says to her: 'Let the beauty fade away when it will; I shall conserve you within me: because I shall love you even then.'
In the poem, certain ideas serve as the base of thought, as the underlying principles that bind the poem into a unified whole. These thought-provoking principles are as follows.
1. Love Does Not Depend on Physical Beauty: In fact, this idea with (2) are the bone of the poem. The poem reflects that love, when it is love indeed, does not depend on the presence of physical beauty, does not change when it changes and does not die with it. In other words, the presence or absence of physical beauty should not influence the degree of love. Indeed, if humanity embraces this totally, no love-sorrow will occur in relationships after the passage of time.
2. Love Remains Unchanged in Time: There is nothing that becomes of the persona in the poem which will alter the poet's love to her. There is no extent of years (which have become and have even made her physical structures worn) that will wear his abiding love. Such is the case of love when it is truly love. Such love is also not impossible on this planet, if people truly desire it.
3. Youthful Beauty Withers: Like flower, the poet themed that the beauty which one has in the youthful days, inclusive of the strength and the respledence, vanishes over time. It wears, like clothes that are used relentlessly. They get destroyed; it becomes vanity in the end of days.
4. Death Is Inevitable: Death is inescapable for any human. We may not all share houses, cars and other valuables. We may not all possess them while we live. Yet, we will all share of the cup of death; of his wine must every man drink at the right time.
5. Even in Death, Love Does Not Cease: Yes, while one lies in the position of the dead, the living should not stop to have the lovely memories of the gone. This is a show of love unto the silenced. While death keeps away the physical contact between two people, they can always be connected by their preserving of the other's memories.
Overall, words that are characteristic of the poem are everyday words. Regardless, there are words attributing to certain registers in the poem. 'Selfie' is suggestive of a 'modern' love story. The words particularly employed in description are words that attribute to the quality of beauty and to the body of the human. In all, there is no use that deviates from daily English vocabulary.
SCANSION AND STYLE
The poem is written in five verses consisting of four lines each. The lines are not regularly rhythmic in relation to each other. Where - stands for a stressed syllable and ` for unstressed, the first verse runs thus:
- ` - -` ` ` -`` -
` ` - ` ` - - ` - ` -`` ` ` -`` -
- ` - -` ` ` -` ` ` -
` ` - - ` -` - ` -` - `-
Now, checking the pattern of the second, the following is produced:
- ` - -` ` ` -`` -
` -`` `- ` `- - -
` - ` -` ` ` -` - ` -` -
` ` - - ` -` - ` -` - `-
The third is patterned:
- ` -`` - ``- ` `- -`
` ` -` ` ` - ` ``-`
- ` -`` ` - ` -`
` ` - - ` -` - ` -` - `-
- ` -` - - - ` ` ` -` -
` ` -` - - ` ` -
- ` - `- -`` ` - ` ` - -`
` ` - - ` -` - ` -` - `-
The fifth verse has the following arrangement:
- ` - ` ` - - `-
` ` - `- `
` ` - -`` ` ` `- ` -`
`- ` ` - - ` -` - ` -` - `-
A careful look at the arrangements above reveals that there is no consistent pattern in the rhythm of the poem.
Now, the rhyme scheme of the poem is as follows: abac deac fghc ijfc clmc. There is no regular rhyming of the piece, too. Since there is no regular pattern in its rhyme and rhythm, the work is a free verse. (*The rhyming is considered on the basis of at least two equal and equally arranged phonemes occurring in the end syllables of the words.)
The author employed the following literary devices in the poem.
1. Alliteration: The alliterative use of /s/ in line 1, _sun ceases_ and of /s/ in line 2, _sky cease to sing_; of /ə/ in line 6, _around you appears_, /r/ in lines
2. Enjambment: In each verse, the lines run on to each other until the last line of each verse, e.g. lines 3 and 4 are enjamed thus: 'When the rain washes off the smoothness of your face/I would still love you, even when the beauty fades away'.
3. Simile: The comparing of _everything_ around to _trees_ in line 6
4. Personification: The quality of gripping attributed to sickness in line 7 and the ability of birds to sing 'eulogy' in line 2
5. Metaphor: The comparison of the persona's bodily shape to a figure in line 13
6. Metonym: The use of thirty-two to represent teeth in line 11.
7. Symbol: The use of 'thirty-two' to represent teeth in line 11
8. Objectification: The representation of the abstract place of the dead as 'the land far away' in line 17
9. Antanaclasis: The play on the word 'stick' in line 13.
10. Epimone: The persistent repetition of the consistency of love at the end of the verses
11. Repetition: The repetition of 'when' in the verses, e.g. the initial words of lines 1 and 3, of 9 and 11, etc.
12. Imagery: The various pictures in the poem, for instance, the picture of agedness in lines 13 to 16 for instance, with descriptions such as 'adding weight', using 'stick', etc.
13. Alleotheta: The substitution of 'would' for 'shall' in the lines 4, 8, 12, 16 and 20
14. Consonance: The repetition of the sound /eĭt/ in '8' and _weight_ of line 13
15. Pun: The play on words in line 17, _'8', waste_ and _weight_
In the ambience of solemnity created by the poet, there is the tone of commitment, of unfailing dedication to the persona. In the poet's attitude is immense depiction of loyalty.
The aura the persona is disposed to, i.e. the feeling distributed in having the warmth of the poet's commitment is assurance, a deep sense of sureness that can trust and love in return.
Richards Oritseseun Silas, popularly known as Silas Talks, is the second child and first son of Mr and Mrs Mofe Richards. He attended St. Anthony Nursery and Primary School and then proceeded to Tai Solarin Secondary School. He later moved on to Vineyard College. He is currently a final year student of the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Ibadan. He started writing poetry when he aged 16 years. He has been a lover of arts; and this love has been his drive into the heart of poetry.
In the contemporary world of this 21st century, where people get married in the morning but divorced by evening, there is no greater insecurity and distrust that could have happened in ages past than the one occurring in relationships today. The poet recognised this, and the need to constantly assure a lady whom the poet loves greatly, Peniel, of his unfailing love for her. It is in a bid to affirm this trust that the poet wrote WHEN THE BEAUTY FADES AWAY, having the Peniel in heart and in his poetry.
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