Looking at the Subtle Celestial

By Chris Wilcox

The medium length, story-poem Like Stars in a Clear Night Sky is a poem that shares several narratives from the third person view. The poem is by an Egyptian designer and artist, Sharif Ezzat and presents a very simple interface but suggests a vast, complex idea for a theme. It starts off with a short narration by a man speaking in Arabic which is done by someone other than Ezzat.

After the short narrative introduction, we are taken to this star-speckled canvas in which there are nine blue stars to click on. Each one presents a vague mini-poem that starts off with “Shall I tell you about…” and has some hidden connection to the rest of the poems. This hidden connection will be the soul reason I believe Ezzat’s work to be so astounding.

These hidden connections I’m talking about give rise to the overall theme which are built upon two founding reasons; subtlety and the idea of the celestial. Subtle, because of the use of simple repetitive words and sounds as well as the short sentence length that builds the theme. Then celestial because that theme is tied into the vastness of the whole poem collectively and appears beyond instant comprehension. It’s almost as if Ezzat contrasted it against the starry-night sky on purpose to show how vast something simple can be.

The vastness that I’m talking about is hinted in several instances throughout Ezzat’s work and ties back to the idea of the celestial. Probably the two most prevalent examples are when the narrator talks about his love and how the world is to become his family. When describing his love he says he doesn’t understand how he could appear to be warm as he “was painted all in black”. This alludes to the notion that the narrator isn’t just a man, but more like the starry night sky itself.

Now keeping that in mind the same idea is present when he talks about how the whole world is to become his family. The narrator talks about how “They are knocking on the door now.” which seems suggest that people are always wanting his attention. So taking a step back and applying the concept that the narrator is the the heavens and the stars, the quote still makes sense. In fact it makes more sense as it almost gives the imagery of people looking up to the stars for answers and prayers. This unifies the vastness and again really drives that idea of subtlety presenting a complex almost un-comprehensible theme.

Comlexity through subtlety is how Ezzat seems to prefer to work. The poem has several grand concepts hidden throughout itself and as you look deeper into each selection, you find that there are more phrases that suggest that the narrator is the celestial rather than just the individual. Like Stars in a Clear Night Sky is an intriguing poem as there’s almost too much to try and understand, yet anyone can admire it’s simplicity. Ezzat has truly created something in which you can look at forever and see something new every time.


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