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Icarus - Valentin Iremonger - Commentary

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Icarus Valentin Iremonger The 15th commandment in chapter 5 of Deuteronomy states "Honour thy father and thy mother, as the lord thy God commanded thee; that thy days may be long, and that it may go well with thee, upon the land which the lord thy God giveth thee"1. This is an ordinary mandate that is repeated over and over by the elders who concern our lives. The poem 'Icarus' by Valentin Iremonger is a modern adaptation of the story of Icarus and Daedalus written in the form of a poem to give a modern metaphorical reference to this commandment. Written in the 20th century, the poet exhibits an increasing interest in deepening a psychological portrait in an attempt to capture the essence of human experience more authentically. The irony of the poem is captured through the experiences of Icarus, where he disobeys his father's cautions in order to experience the joy of flying. The poem contains one of the typical 'stumbling blocks' outlined in lives, i.e. the characteristics of a high flyer who avoids possible consequences before acting hastily. This contemporary poem presents a form that became predominant in the twentieth century- free verse. The poem presents irregular lines of unequal lengths; and obsolete ideas about meter that are done away with altogether. ...read more.


close to the sun in the lines "Head butting down, skidding along the light-shafts Back, over the tones of the sea-waves and the slipstream, heard..." Such lines display images where the poet uses the setting to demonstrate the bathos of the situation. Aural imagery is presented enabling the reader to 'hear' what is being described. In the poem we find the phrase: "The gravel-voiced, stuttering trumpets of his heart. Sennet among the crumbling court-yards of his brain the mistake" Here, the use of the word 'gravel-voiced' indicates a grating, vexed voice that alarms him frequently of his mistake. This aural imagery is expressed further through the 'stuttering trumpets' that personifies his quickened heart rate through a serenade of trumpets that linger to express its aural sentiment. Then follows the 'sennet that crumbles court-yards of his brain'. Sennets usually suggest a courtly atmosphere where the elite members are welcomed by flock of loud trumpet players. Here this same connotation is used to a harsh extent where such aural expression 'crumbles court-yards of his brain'. The fear of death is already destroying his senses. The poet presents his view on what constitutes true fiction, that is story telling. Although the poem proceeds with a pastiche irony and humor, there is a serious desire here to correct misguided human nature through alarming motifs and teachings. ...read more.


Who could remember to be careful when he was to fly for the first time? Are birds careful? Not they! And not an idea remained in the boy's head but the one joy of escape."3 Hence, the poem presents the boy's 'one joy of escape' through a pastiche tone where he mocks the tale in negative tones in order to portray an important message. A message that we know as one of the commandments in the Christian faith. In Ephesians 6: 1-3 it talks about the importance of children obeying their parents as "it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on earth."4 Such powerful messages do contain simple messages that are to be taught as a moral for living. The simple, figurative theory may not seem particularly appealing as a theme for such kinds of poetry, yet the ironic stance adopted by the poet in his presentation makes the piece amusing, interesting and easy to relate to. 1 "Deuteronomy 5 / Hebrew - English Bible / Mechon-Mamre." Bible and Mishneh Torah for All - Jews and Gentiles / Mechon Mamre. 07 May 2009 <http://www.mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt0505.htm#6>. 2 "Story of Icarus and Daedalus." Hamilton Southeastern Schools. 07 May 2009 <http://www.hse.k12.in.us/staff/DBROVIAK/Page%20files/Mythology/Stories/Icarus.htm>. 3 "Story of Icarus and Daedalus." Hamilton Southeastern Schools. 07 May 2009 <http://www.hse.k12.in.us/staff/DBROVIAK/Page%20files/Mythology/Stories/Icarus.htm>. 4 "Inspirational Life Quotes." Blogspot. 07 May 2009 <http://inspirationallifequotes.blogspot.com/2008/05/gift-of-honor.html>. ?? ?? ?? ?? 11th May 2009 ...read more.

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