I went for a walk on the river bank, early this morning. I try to do it two or three times a week, and it is hard to get up and go – because apparently I can’t wrap my head around the simple notion of “early to bed, early to rise” – but once I’m by the river, it’s more than worth the ungodly levée. I love the slant of the early sun on the dew-damp fields, and the birds in the trees, and the occasional hare or pheasant, and oh, the glory of wildflowers, in every possible hue of yellow, indigo, white, mauve, purple, pink, and blue! This morning I even spotted a few late-blooming poppies. And of course there were bees and bumble-bees humming among the riot of colours and shapes… Continue reading
Poetry today, and Emily Dickinson – with the beauty and mystery of nature, and the wonders that keep being wonders year after year as the seasons dance past again and again, and the held breath before the magical, shimmering transience… Oh, no one like Emily for this kind of thing, is there?
Also, the summer colours threaded all through!
A something in a summer’s day,
As slow her flambeaux burn away,
Which solemnizes me.
A something in a summer’s noon,—
An azure depth, a wordless tune,
And still within a summer’s night
A something so transporting bright,
I clap my hands to see;
Then veil my too inspecting face,
Lest such a subtle, shimmering grace
Flutter too far for me.
The wizard-fingers never rest,
The purple brook within the breast
Still chafes its narrow bed;
Still rears the East her amber flag,
Guides still the sun along the crag
His caravan of red,
Like flowers that heard the tale of dews,
But never deemed the dripping prize
Awaited their low brows;
Or bees, that thought the summer’s name
Some rumor of delirium
No summer could for them;
Or Arctic creature, dimly stirred
By tropic hint,—some travelled bird
Imported to the wood;
Or wind’s bright signal to the ear,
Making that homely and severe,
Contented, known, before
The heaven unexpected came,
To lives that thought their worshipping
A too presumptuous psalm.
Lovely, isn’t it? And, as is often the case, a little haunting in its loveliness.
I’m in the mood for poetry today – so why not some Emily Dickinson? Emily is one of a surprising number of poets in my literary pantheon… and I call it surprising because I don’t write poetry, unless it is by accident. Then again, I read it, and I’ve always wished I knew how apply to prose the compact effectiveness of it… Continue reading
This is not the post I had in mind for today – but we’re having a true snowfall for the fist time in… oh, I don’t know: years, I rather believe.
It started last night, just as I drove home – which was, if you ask me, absolutely perfect, as far as sentimental fallacy goes – and it’s been snowing through the whole night, and still snowing cats and dogs. Past beautiful, that’s what it is. Continue reading
1. Joseph Conrad’s Lord Jim. Yes, yes, I know. But it’s a matter of power, depth, beauty and intensity… Continue reading
Did you know that Emily Dickinson liked to write poems on envelopes? Not just on the back of the odd stray envelope – as one might do occasionally, when an idea strikes and no notebook is at hand. No: Emily did it in a curious and deliberate way, on torn or cut pieces of envelopes…
These paper pieces survive among her manuscripts, and are usually called “scraps”. Well, scholar Christine Burgin, who studied them in depth, gave them a new name, taken from one of Emily’s poems. She calls them the Gorgeous Nothings – in the Dickinson sense of the words: Nothing as a renovating force…
Here you can read a lovely article by Jen Bervin for Poetry Foundation, and see a few images of these very meaningful scraps. Fascinating stuff.