Simply Intricate

Oscar Wilde was a man of the simplest intricacies. I say this in specific relation to his epigrams. Now, I’m assuming that everyone here knows what an epigram is. If you don’t–tsk. tsk. tsk

Just kidding! I won’t publicly shame you. But if there actually is anyone that does not know, allow me to enlighten you with a bit of a refresher. I don’t mind, truly. (Especially because I really don’t know where else to start, and this blog post needs to be at least 350 words…)

Got you again! Boy, am I on fire today. Am I was witty as Oscar Wilde yet?  In all honesty, though, I do think it is important to review the definition since the focal point of this blog post relates to epigrams, which I plan to compare to my own flash poetry. And I would like to specifically discuss Wilde’s utilization of the epigram in The Picture of Dorian Gray.

So then, let’s get started, shall we?

An epigram is a brief, and usually clever, statement that is meant to inform, advise, and, most importantly, persuade a targeted audience. Epigrams are typically–though not necessarily always– paradoxical, which often emphasizes a truth the writer is trying to convince their audience of, a truth the writer believes must be acknowledged. The epigram itself is simple, unburdened by flowery phrases and large, baffling words. This simplicity is what makes an epigram so memorable–it is easy for a person to remember something that is simple. The epigram is also intricate in the sense that, despite its customary modesty, it provokes thought regarding the human condition.

Epigrams–concise, impactful, and, especially in Wilde’s case, persuasive. Notice how enamored we all were with Dorian, how we all seemed to admire him despite his immorality and ruthless cruelty. Notice how we were all fascinated by the diction of Lord Henry’s own epigrams, which epitomize corruption–the very epigrams that not only influenced but appeared to justify Dorian’s hedonism and sinful lifestyle. After all, “conscience and cowardice are really the same thing,” aren’t they?

Lord Henry believes that, when an individual is hesitant to indulge in his own pleasures, to approach life hedonistically, it is because he is afraid of compromising his morals. Because this fear is inspired by an individual’s wish to abide by a general sense of morality, it comes from that individual’s conscience– an individual’s sense of what is right and what is wrong. That is why, in Henry’s opinion, he believes those who abide by their consciences are cowards because, to him, they lack the boldness necessary to live a beautiful and pleasurable life. Lord Henry seems to think life should be approached with an audacious sort of immorality, something he persuades Dorian to do and something we are persuaded to appreciate. At least, this is something I have grown to appreciate about Dorian, as deranged as that may sound. Perhaps that is because he is a manifestation of the life I have always been reluctant to live. A manifestation of  “all of the sins you are afraid to commit.”

There has always been something so tantalizing about Dorian’s lifestyle. How lovely it would be to exist as treacherously as he. To be willingly selfish–to live for yourself and your pleasures only, to remain unhindered by the hardships of others.  To stand indifferent to any troubles you may come across, for there is always the sweet taint of opium lingering at your fingertips, whose substance would gladly take you away to some high place clouded with a thick blue haze, a place laced with a narcotic type of forgetfulness. Oh! To guiltlessly indulge in every immoral sensation that this earth has to offer. To experience the exquisiteness of sin and the tragedy of its consequences.

Henry’s epigrams and Dorian’s hedonism, although destructive, have expressed a truth to me in particular–a truth that proves the potential monotony of morality. I am, of course, not trying to discredit the necessity of upholding our morals, but, life is not black or white, nor is it grey. Life is, on the contrary, comprised of a grand spectrum of colours, some soothing in their vibrancy and some alluring in their cold richness. Similarly, there are truths that appeal greatly to our good natures, but there are also truths that appeal to our (often suppressed) passions for deviltry. But they are truths nevertheless.

I feel the need to reiterate the fact that these epigrams do not belong to Lord Henry alone, however. The brilliance of these simple intricacies must really be credited to Oscar Wilde himself. In my opinion, a writer has fulfilled their purpose when they have left their audience with something to remember. That is exactly what Wilde’s epigrams are to me–impactful and memorable.

I often liken my own style of writing to Wilde’s epigrams. Since I write flash poetry, my pieces, are typically very brief just as an epigram is; I’ve come to fall in love with the simple intricacy associated with being able to tell a story–the ability to convey a truth, whether it is a personal truth that may only be applicable to myself or a truth that I feel we can all relate to — using few words. And, as is relevant for most epigrams, I often express these truths using paradoxes. The reality is that life and all of its truths are an enigma, and, sometimes, the only way to understand an enigma is to view it from the same absurdity–the same strange irony–in which it exists. As I had mentioned previously, some truths are harsher than other truths. Wilde rarely seemed to approach his writing optimistically; he, on the contrary, portrayed life (at least one component of life) for what it truly is–ravishingly dark and, at times, contemptible. Through my own poetry, I  too portray life for what I believe it to be–beautifully infernal, and, like in Dorian’s case, exquisitely damnable.

I thought it would be appropriate to share some of my flash poetry with you all. Below, I have compiled some of my favourite pieces. I hope you enjoy them!

I do not believe in god–

I believe in Poetry.


To the sparse, coarse hair

of my eyebrows:


there is only so much of myself

I can fill in–

in the end, I will always feel empty.


Cheeks ornamented

with a red blush–

what was once the

colour of love,

has now become the

colour of shame.



sticky with

orange liqueur

drip down the tip

of her tongue

and adhere themselves

to the bottom of her lip.


–Spilling more than just my drink


“Alcoholism isn’t pretty.”

“No, but it sure as hell is poetic.”


–But all the great poets die young, don’t they, darling?


The bottle is empty


so is she.


Perhaps icing him out

is the only way to

regain the warmth

of your own light.


–Someone will die of hypothermia, 

but this time it is not going to be me


And the wedding bells

turned to

funeral knells.


–White has never looked good on her anyway


My heart breaks for you.

My soul mourns for you.


But my mind tells me

that I should have known better.


He was a hopeless romantic.

He just wasn’t a hopeless romantic for me.


Falling in love with you also meant

learning how to hate myself.


And maybe that’s why

she was always so afraid to fall asleep–

because sleep would bring her

closer to morning.

And morning meant

living another day

when all she had

ever wanted was

to die.




We have a twisted

kind of love,

Darkness and I.

See, I have always been

such a terrible flirt and

He has always been

so terribly captivating.


—This endless affair 


And maybe Poetry

is the only place

I don’t feel like dying.




You say,

“Tomorrow is a new day.”

But little do you know

just how terrified of

Tomorrow I really am.


—Future apprehensions 


She never did quite

figure out how to

live with herself.

Perhaps that is the reason

she chose to die.




Boredom: a catalyst for reckless behaviour.


Dark minds think alike


But darling,

were you ever really in love with him,

or were you simply in love with the way

he made you feel beautiful

when no one else could?

Did he really break your heart,

or did you just break your own?




This here–forever my favourite heartbreak.




Just another somebody that was nobody.


—Jane Doe


You say, “I can’t do this anymore.”

Because saying, “I want to die,”

tends to make people uncomfortable.




“What do you want for your birthday?” he asked her.

“A kiss and a bottle of Prozac,” she replied.


I’m actually a very forgiving person.

I just pretend not to be.


“You’re sad again…”

“I’ve never stopped.”


Always remember that even warped records

are still capable of producing music.


–Broken does not equate uselessness


Irrationality is not a synonym for stupidity.


You can tell a lot about a man’s character when it comes

to his passion (or lack thereof) for poetry.


–For it is the Poets who  love the hardest 


Love is blind


love is deaf.


Sometimes it leaves you


immobilized under the

intensity of your heartbreak.


Love is disabling–

an impairment on its own.


When someone is sad,

it is not necessary to tell them that

“Life isn’t fair.”


This is not news to anyone–

it is a universal suffering

we have all grown accustomed to.


–We don’t need any god damned reminders


Beware of the boy who touches you like he is your lover

but who never actually intends on loving you.


That’s the thing about girls with pretty voices–

you’ll believe them in a heartbeat,

even when they tell the most dreadful lies.


–Daisy  Buchanan 


People are naturally great listeners.


As long as you tell them what

they want to hear, of course.


You don’t need a boy to

make you happy, my darling;

all you need is poetry,

jazz and a little bit of rum.


If you are interested in reading more of my flash poetry, take a look at my blog:

Image source:

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

6 thoughts on “Simply Intricate

  1. Dearest Jade,
    I would first like to apologize for neglecting to indulge in your wonderful pieces before! Your writing style has left me inspired and hungry for more, I cannot wait to read your future (and past) blogs for even more wisdom and inspiration. I really love how you incorporated your own poetry and epigrams into your blog and even placed them to the standard of Oscar Wilde! That, in my eyes, is a very courageous and daunting task; however, your wonderful writing was able to stand on its own and radiate wisdom even when placed next to Oscar Wilde. Jade Wilde? Too far? Perhaps. Anyhow, I really enjoyed your blog, it was wonderful! I honestly at am a loss for words in awe of your talent. My favourite of your epigrams, if you care, was “When someone is sad/ it is not necessary to tell them that/ “Life isn’t fair.”/ This is not news to anyone–/ it is a universal suffering/ we have all grown accustomed to.” –~We don’t need any god damned reminders~.
    I implore you, as I know I’d be sure to invest, fill a book (even a tiny one) with the beauty you have created here; I am almost certain that there’s potential for something marvelous here.

    After such high praise I do not how I can give any feedback without feeling a little guilty. To be quite honest, I am not sure that I have any improvements worth giving other than a note about the voice of the blog post. I have recently been informed of the importance of consistency of voice through out a piece so I shall pass that on to you. Although the inconsistency of voice made it more conversational I feel like if it were more consistent – either academic or casual – your blog would have been made even stronger.

    Once again, a magnificent blog! Thank you for inspiring me with your wisdom and art.

    Much love,

    *~ are meant to imply italicizing the words between

    1. Dear Ibukun,

      I definitely took a risk with this post—to compare one’s own writing to Wilde’s writing would be a daunting task for anyone, I think. So I’m glad you liked my post—I’m glad that it turned out to be relevantly decent (I hope, lol) And thank you for your kind words in general; I’m glad you thought that my poems were able to exude a sort of wisdom. My goal as a writer, above anything else, has always been to convey truths that I believe others can relate to. Especially these days where I feel like people, especially those in our age group, struggle with finding their voice and often feel unheard. That’s why I always write in the hopes of making my readers feel like they are understood, in the hopes that I can give them something to relate to even if the truths I choose to convey are, like in Wilde’s case, harsh. But, that being said, sometimes the harshest truths are the ones that are the most authentic, and relatable, when it comes to the human condition.

      It’s funny that you suggest compiling my poetry into a book of some sorts. I’m actually currently working on putting together my own anthology. My goal is to get it sent off to a few publishing companies by December. So fingers crossed!! It’s very stressful but it’s a good kind of stressful. Although I’ve still got many things to clean up, as it’s still in its rough stage. (eeek!)

      Also thank you for suggesting the establishment of a more consistent voice in terms of my writing. This is definitely something that I’ve struggled with. Specifically when it comes to essay/critical/analytical writing. I’m so used to writing short, snappy, and typically informal poems, that I often struggle to find a friendly balance between informal and formal writing. As soon as I have to write something that isn’t poetry, I have this tendency to fall into extremes—I’ll bounce back from one to the other. So I appreciate you bringing this up; it reminds me to consider balance when it comes to my writing!!

      Thank you again for taking the time to read my post. I know I said at the beginning that I was worried I wouldn’t be able to achieve the minimum word limit, and then, ironically, the piece itself ended up being close to 2000 words. So I know it might have taken a bit longer to read than some of the other blog posts. I appreciate your patience!!

      Lots of love,

  2. Jadeybear,

    Dear God where do I begin? I guess the beginning will do.
    I absolutely love your light-hearted intro. It nicely establishes within your piece the sort of comedy epigrams often carry. You also have this ability to recycle those old epigrams for your own purposes. Ending that one paragraph with the one on conscience and cowardice? Love that. You easily could have ended that paragraph one sentence earlier and started your dissection in the next paragraph. However, your taking the opportunity to sneak that epigram in one paragraph early, not only enhanced the overall flow – it got me thinking.

    One part of this piece I love in particular is how you infused it with your own voice. True, you always do, but you were especially present in this blog. That one reverie you indulged in, the one about sin, could have been expressed in a colder fashion and still effectively conveyed all the same intellectual value, but you gave it emotional value. I relate to that wistfulness you convey here on a deep level. Up until this little segment of your work, you had my mind engaged. Here, you captured my heart.

    My absolute favorite part of your blog is this: “Henry’s epigrams and Dorian’s hedonism, although destructive, have expressed a truth to me in particular–a truth that proves the potential monotony of morality. I am, of course, not trying to discredit the necessity of upholding our morals, but, life is not black or white, nor is it grey. Life is, on the contrary, comprised of a grand spectrum of colours, some soothing in their vibrancy and some alluring in their cold richness. Similarly, there are truths that appeal greatly to our good natures, but there are also truths that appeal to our (often suppressed) passions for deviltry. But they are truths nevertheless.” I just had to include the whole paragraph because I love it all. This is something I have always believed, and you so eloquently solidified the thought mists I had into a tangible form. To me, this is the most powerful part of your piece. I’d love to see this consolidated into an epigram. Please, please do it.

    As far as changes to make, I found absolutely nothing. That’s what happens when you get my heart involved. My inner editor falls asleep. There’s probably some punctuation in there I can nitpick but I’ll never find it. Congrats on another amazing blog!

    ~ Lauryn

  3. Lauryn, you are so sweet!

    I’m glad that you appreciate my “jokes” at the beginning of the post, which were actually kind of bad. But, I mean, bad jokes are usually so bad that they are funny, amiright? Haha.

    I’m also so grateful that I was able to engage both your mind and your heart. In this blog, I talked about how a writer has fulfilled their purpose as long as they have left their audience with something to remember. That being said, I think another significant purpose of a writer is to make their audience feel something, to give them something to relate to. So I am happy I have been able to appeal to you an emotional level and that you found truth within my writing. This is what I always hope for, even if my writing itself is crap. At the end of the day, I just want to make people feel as though they are understood. I try to write about the things most of us are afraid to talk about or to admit to. I try to be a voice for those who can’t find theirs, as overly ambitious (and perhaps unrealistic) as that sounds.

    And I will definitely take up your offer and try to convert that one paragraph into an epigram of its own. I’m actually working on a Dorian Gray flash poetry series at the moment, so I’ll see if it’s possible to squeeze that in there somewhere. I’ll send you the link when it’d done 🙂

    And congrats to YOU also on another amazing blog as well! Thanks for reading!

    -Jadey Bear

  4. Dearest Jade,

    I have always thought that wit, true wit, not the I-am-trying-to-make-you-laugh sort, but the poking-fun-while-revealing-a-deep-truth kind of wit, was one of the rarest traits an individual could possess. Something witty has always seemed to me much more memorable than anything merely funny; for this reason, I love Oscar Wilde’s epigrams. Being able to synthesize the complexities of the world into such small snippets is a form of genius in and of itself, no?

    I suppose the point I am trying to make is that your blog topic choice really intrigued me; your introduction, with its light-hearted tone and perfectly worded introduction, really captivated me. Just as Lauryn said, your writing perfectly captures the overall effect that epigrams are meant to create – I felt myself stopping to re-read lines, just to savour them for a moment longer because of how beautiful the syntax is. This truly is a wonderful piece!

    I am in awe of your poetry – I have no real credentials to say this, due to my lack of experience with poetry, yet intuition tells me that there are distinct parallels between your poetry and Wilde’s epigrams. Your final paragraph of your introduction piece really deepened my appreciation of the similar way in which my mind processes the two. I am so thankful for it!

    Because I was so entranced with your work, I failed to look for things to improve upon in my first read of the blog. After looking through again, I would perhaps suggest adding in the page number for quotations from the novel, and maybe looking for the couple of small punctuation errors (there seems to be a period missing between “sinful lifestyle” and “After all” and part of “The Picture of Dorian Gray” isn’t italicized.) The fact that I have to be carefully combing through for nit-picky details should prove to you how this blog is both wondrous from an artistic as well as a technical standpoint; well done!

    I shall end this by thanking you for sharing your work with us in this way. You are an amazing writer, and I am honoured to have you in my family group this year!

    Yours truly,

    1. Tarannum,

      Can I just say that I totally fangirled when I read your comment? To have as great a writer as you compliment my own writing is, like, kinda an honour (AHHHH!). Okay, fan girl moment is over, I am calm and collected.

      As I’d told Ibukun, I’d taken a bit of a risk with this blog–so, I am, again, grateful that it translated well with you and my overall audience in general. Thank you so much for your kind words; they honestly made my day. I usually check my email in the mornings, so I basically read your comment as soon as I woke up–it was a nice way to start off my morning 🙂 <3

      Also THANK YOU for pointing out my grammatical errors, and specifying which ones they were. There are some things that even Grammarly can't catch, ya know? I'll go fix those right away.

      Thank you again for reading!

      Much love,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *