Imagine a world whose permanent weather is the chilly wet gray of this week. Imagine waking every day to this bone-deep blankness to the eye that yearns for sun--yes, even the splintered, unbearable silver sun of December-- and color.

Winter always outstays its welcome, and it doesn't go gently into spring, though its cold rains presage and prepare for it. Cold comfort, that, is what we feel in our impatience to be warm. Winter makes us work right to the end. It does not relent, does not retract its claws until a much large force, the turning of the Great Wheel, exerts its inevitable power. This is the source of the poet's ringing optimism, when he cried out,

                        Be through my lips to unawakened Earth
                        The trumpet of a prophecy!
                        O Wind, If Winter comes,
                        can Spring be far behind?

But it's the ordinary that tests our resolve, our nerve, our imagination--that discovers the strength of our will, the real heroism of our lives. It's not the looking-away but the looking-into to discover, tame, and learn from the self that
is our work, the archeology of our lives.


 


Comments

03/12/2013 12:21pm

On the most gray and moist days, certain small features of the landscape become more pronounced to my mind. The bark of the birches sheds and at times shows something closer to its inner life.

Here is a poem by Emily Dickinson:

Dear March -- Come in --
How glad I am --
I hoped for you before --

Put down your Hat --
You must have walked --
How out of Breath you are --
Dear March, Come right up the stairs with me --
I have so much to tell --

I got your Letter, and the Birds --
The Maples never knew that you were coming -- till I called
I declare -- how Red their Faces grew --
But March, forgive me -- and
All those Hills you left for me to Hue --
There was no Purple suitable --
You took it all with you --

Who knocks? That April.
Lock the Door --
I will not be pursued --
He stayed away a Year to call
When I am occupied --
But trifles look so trivial
As soon as you have come

That Blame is just as dear as Praise
And Praise as mere as Blame --

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03/12/2013 12:45pm

I'm not used to a chatty ED. Wonderful half-line: "That April," with the playful exasperation of "that." And those concluding lines, a poet's motto, for certain.

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allan dibiase
03/12/2013 3:10pm

There's an excellent setting of the above poem for voice and piano by Aaron Copland. It's one of 12 that he published as a group. I think the piano picks up the "chatty nature" of March ....it's a noisy month by most accounts.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9XtwnTyWXDQ

At about 11:45. 6 of 12.

Arlene Pollack
03/17/2013 12:38pm

Photos that are framed beautifully on the page, Emily Dickenson in context, and a philosophy worth reading and re-reading. This site is you.

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