Paul Hartal


Oranges And Grapes - Poem by Paul Hartal

Oranges and grapes refuse to grow in the cold.
Today I sing and dance, refuse to grow old.
Yet all the same, time is tyrant and ruthless,
Unfolds my wrinkling years, it is relentless.

Now and then the lots seem to be gentle and kind,
But alloyed with fate the somnambulist is blind.
Luck and fortuity might act as a soubrette,
Life spins our fate like roulette in a film set.

Still, let us drink to life, celebrate, and be glad,
Let us sing and dance today, refuse to be sad.
Oranges and grapes do not grow in the cold,
A warm wind ties ribbons to maple leaves of gold.

My love soars high above trees and towers,
Carries to my beloved a bouquet of flowers.


Poet's Notes about The Poem

This poem consists of three quatrains and a couplet in fourteen lines. A sonnet in four stanzas, it follows a rhyme scheme of aabb, ccdd, eeaa, and ff.

The word sonnet is synonymous with quatorzain, or fourteener. The 13th century Sicilian poet Giacomo da Lantini is credited as the inventor of this verse form. This genre of poetry has been popular throughout history. The names of the Italian poets Petrarch, Dante and Michelangelo are associated with the sonnet. And so is Shakespeare in England, who composed 154 sonnets, mostly in iambic pentameters.

The poem “Oranges and Grapes” forms part of the Poetry and Mathematics project implemented at Dalhousie University, Halifax. The sonnet opens the door for interdisciplinary explorations, because, among other things, it is structured in 14 lines. Number theorists point out that 14 is a composite number, its divisors being 1,2,7, and 14. It is also the sum of the first three squares (1^2 + 2^2 +3^2) and thus a square pyramidical number. Furthermore, the number 14 is associated with the polyhedron cuboctahedron, the truncated cube and the truncated octahedron, since each of these geometrical solids feature 14 faces. Another attribute of 14 links this number to Euler’s totient function.

Comments about Oranges And Grapes by Paul Hartal

  • Paul Hartal (7/23/2016 2:10:00 PM)

    Thank you all for your comments.

    Regarding A. Madhavan's critique:

    1. The words 'ruthless' and 'relentless' are listed as rhymes in The Penguin Rhyming Dictionary.

    2. And more importantly, I believe that the heart of poetry is the poetry of the heart. Therefore, for my part, being 'sentimental' is not necessarily a bad thing. And showing emotions is human. We come to this world through love, and without love life is meaningless. I view kindness and compassion among our greatest virtues. They hold the keys to human salvation. Alienation from Man, crusty insensitivity represent a grave danger to human survival. Indurated callousness feeds the shadow, the dark side of life affiliated with cruelty, violence and war.

    3. Poetry thrives on imagination. Those who spurn it- like Plato, who wanted to ban poets from his Republic- have their answer in Einstein: I'm enough of an artist to draw freely on my imagination, which I think is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited, imagination encircles the world (Interview with Albert Einstein by George S. Viereck, published in the Philadelphia Saturday Evening Post, October 26,1929) .

    4. We live in a mathematical universe, which involves codes and emblems.The brain processes the information encoded in the world by means of symbols. Human communication proceeds through metaphors. This is not a pathetic fallacy but a scientific fact.

    5. Furthermore, although a poet has a passport to travel through kingdoms of other worlds, I don't think that saying that Life spins our fate like roulette in a film set, invokes the 'supernatural'. Mind you, the actual world is bigger than us. The credo that humans can exercise complete control over their life does not hold water. Rather, it seems to reflect a measure of naive detachment from reality.

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  • A. Madhavan (6/5/2016 12:38:00 AM)

    The poet knows the Sonnet form, and chooses to rhyme in couplet fashion, 'aa.bb. cc'; but I think 'ruthless' and 'relentless' in the first quatrain are not rhymes in the strict sense. I note that several readers like this poem. To me the theme appears rather sentimental.
    I am personally trying to avoid 'the pathetic fallacy' of making ideas and
    concepts into personages or supernatural entities: e.g. Life spins our fate like roulette in a film set. If readers like it, I accept I am unfit to assess poems and choose the best every day. Am I jealous? Even Shakespeare accepted he cursed his fate, / Wishing me like to one more rich in hope./..Desiring this man's art and that man's scope (Sonnet XXIX) . Was it Francis Bacon who said, Envy has no holidays? (Report) Reply

  • Dershish Kebab (6/4/2016 10:19:00 PM)

    Fascinating poem and even better poet's note. I learned several new things here. Congrats on having it selected as member poem of the day! (Report) Reply

  • Geeta Radhakrishna Menon Geeta Radhakrishna Menon (6/4/2016 9:30:00 PM)

    My love soars high above trees and towers,
    Carries to my beloved a bouquet of flowers.
    A very cute and sweet poem on grapes, oranges, trees, flowers and
    above all - love and hope - the vital ingredients of life. Enjoyed reading! (Report) Reply

  • Clarence Prince Clarence Prince (6/4/2016 7:30:00 AM)

    A nice poem indeed!
    Well done, Paul! (Report) Reply

  • Edward Kofi Louis Edward Kofi Louis (6/4/2016 4:26:00 AM)

    My love soars high above the trees and towers! ! Thanks for sharing this poem with us. (Report) Reply

  • Kelly Kurt Kelly Kurt (6/4/2016 3:47:00 AM)

    Interesting poem and notes. I just posted a Senryu series on geometric solids (Report) Reply

  • Rajnish Manga Rajnish Manga (6/4/2016 3:09:00 AM)

    During all the gloom and tyranny of time, we need to be hopeful and optimistic. Thanks.
    Still, let us drink to life, celebrate, and be glad,
    Let us sing and dance today, refuse to be sad.
    My love..... Carries to my beloved a bouquet of flowers. (Report) Reply

  • Jasbir Chatterjee Jasbir Chatterjee (6/4/2016 12:15:00 AM)

    very positive poem; thanks for the explanatory notes. Most poets prefer to complicate instead of simplifying things. Congrats on being poet of the day! (Report) Reply

  • Dershish Kebab (3/26/2015 4:16:00 PM)

    Beautiful sonnet, and thanks for the note. I learned some things I didn't know about the number 14, and I taught math for a few years.
    I'm not familiar with Euler's totient function. I will have to look that up to see what it is. When I first read it I thought it said Euler's toilet function. (Report) Reply

  • Debbie Luxenberg (4/30/2013 4:03:00 PM)

    A beautiful poem...from an exceptionally talented poet and writer! !
    All the best Debbie (Report) Reply

  • Anat Tour (4/29/2013 7:04:00 PM)

    Great poem! I am a big fan :) (Report) Reply

  • Gajanan Mishra Gajanan Mishra (4/28/2013 8:08:00 PM)

    a bouquet of flowers - love respect affection. good one, thanks. (Report) Reply

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Poem Submitted: Sunday, April 28, 2013

Poem Edited: Monday, April 29, 2013


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