Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Strophanthus gratus - Rose Allamanda

This flower made me think of a poem I learned in School in my youth. On my mind right now is Tithonus, lover of Aurora who was the Goddess of the dawn. She granted him his wish for immortality so that he could be with her eternally.

How come these poems that I did, long and tedious they were, left such a deep impression on me so much so that the explanations seemed to be as fresh as if they were made yesterday. It has to be the Literature teacher who made the subject so interesting. She never used games, never even heard of the term 'edutainment' but in each lesson, she held our hearts and our souls in her hands and wrapped our attention around her expressive voice that was filled with passion for her subject. To this day I can still picture her feeling so sorry for Tithonus because he had unwittingly lost the ability to die when he was given the gift of immortality by the Goddess.

In her quick response to his desire to live forever, she had missed out a very important detail. She forgot that he was not in the same league as herself as he was not a God. So, he continued to age unlike her because as a Goddess she was eternally youthful and it was sheer torture for him to have to "dwell in presence of immortal youth, Immortal age beside immortal youth". So Tithonus lamented:

"I ask'd thee, "Give me immortality."
Then didst thou grant mine asking with a smile,
Like wealthy men who care not how they give.
But thy strong Hours indignant work'd their wills,
And beat me down and marr'd and wasted me,
And tho' they could not end me, left me maim'd
To dwell in presence of immortal youth,
Immortal age beside immortal youth,
And all I was in ashes. Can thy love
Thy beauty, make amends, tho' even now,
Close over us, the silver star, thy guide,
Shines in those tremulous eyes that fill with tears
To hear me? Let me go: take back thy gift:
Why should a man desire in any way
To vary from the kindly race of men,
Or pass beyond the goal of ordinance
Where all should pause, as is most meet for all?"

(Excerpt from Tithonus by Alfred Lord Tennyson)

Flowers bloom and flowers fade
People live and people die
That is the order of nature
We cannot alter it even if we try
though scientists have succeeded
in some areas, they are pushing
their luck if they keep wanting
to play God to the highest level
One day, it will be game over
and we will be maimed forever

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