Turn the page of the book and enter, marvelling
(“Jan van Eyck was here”), a soundless room,
The windows open, a little late sunlight, the mirror,
Two figures, a dog. Remember, five centuries after
The paint splashed on a sleeve, the flicker of brushes,
Steps unheard on the stair.
(I, also, wordless, was there.)
Wonder is music heard in the heart, is voiceless:
Lazarus having conversed with angels was dumb,
Brushing the questions aside with a gesture of dreaming,
Still dazzled with darkness, turning his face to the wall.
So Cortes returned perhaps to the Old World after—
So many years and his eyes still brimming with sea.
Without ovation of guns or trumpets and pennons,
Wonder is lastly in finding the Pole, with only
Amazement flowering in a waste of snow.
A Coggle Diagram about The "book", in a metaphorical sense, may refer to the book of life, with each day being a new page, or may even refer to the book of the time period when it was produced. Quite literally, this may be a reference to an art textbook.
, Jan van Eyck was a famous Dutch painter whose artwork was associated with intense realism, and incorporated symbolism and biblical references
, Dobson's allusion to Cortes is extremely important in reducing the significance of his physical exploration of the world, as his example is used to convey that the discovery which is of greatest value is the discovery of truth. In showing his eyes to be "brimming with sea", Dobson draws an image of him crying as his mind still circles back to his exploration, signifying a strong emotional involvement. This in turn reflects that the emotion of wonder becomes much more evident in his reflection of his explorations and the "truths" that he discovered, more than his physical exploration of lands.
This is extremely key in the whole purpose of the poem in that it challenges the reader to shift their perspective of discovery beyond the scope of physical dimensions, and to extend the renewed understanding to metaphysical connotations.
, The use of the parentheses communicates her transportation to the time and place of the painting , signifying art as the portal through which one vicariously discovers the past.
, Here Dobson makes a biblical allusion to the character Lazarus and to the parable of The Rich Man and Lazarus. Lazarus is exposed to a higher reality, to the truth of Heaven (just as the poet is being exposed to the truth of art) and the power of the message that he experiences divests him of the ability to express his reaction in words
, The word "remember" is used as though the painting represents a memory of her own; it is so authentic that it has become reality for her. This reflects the insinuation of the artist's memory in her own life connoting the awe-inspiring power of art.
, The title of the poem immediately establishes a reaction as the central element of focus in Dobson poetry, showing her preoccupation with the insular experiences of discovery; wonder is a word with connotations to a positive reaction to discovery. This directs the reader to observe Dobson's reflection on the potential of intellectual, creative as well as spiritual discovery.
, Dobson metaphorically conveys the beauty of the reaction of wonder in "Wonder is music heard in the heart" by establishing an her deep connection to the emotion whilst maintaining the motif of silence to convey that it is the result of discovery evoked by silent reflection.
, The "soundless room" reiterates the motif of silence that is indicative of her absolute immersion in the aura of the portrait, so much that she is oblivious of her own immediate surroundings. It also relates back to the title by suggesting a sense of silent reverie. In doing this, wonder is presented as a reaction to truth, the moment of realisation which is often one of a sombre, contemplative nature.
, The use of passive voice evident in "having conversed" is indicative of the fact that the sense of wonder is being created for her, and that she is not actively involved in the process. This is contrasting to the image full of life and movement created by the use of the onomatopoeia in "splashed" and "flicker", which suggests her active engagement with art, and the emotion of wonder that followed.
, Note too that the elements described, i.e., the window, the sunlight as well as the mirror are symbolic of discovery; the window may be seen as a threshold revealing what is unknown, the sunlight represents a sense of illumination, and the mirror is connotative of self-reflection. #
and Dobson makes reference to exemplary experiences of the sublime in order to explain the feeling of wonder that is subsequent to discovery.