Friday, December 20, 2013

Poetry Friday: Settling Down for Winter

Writerly Friends, a series of upcoming deadlines has conspired with the winter holidays to stress me out this year. 

There will be lots of Christmas and Solstice goodies at
Buffy's Blog. Buffy is this week's Poetry Friday hostess.

  • Copy edits for Little Patuxent Review's Science issue are due.
  • My daughter's high school applications are going in the mail.
  • The holidays! Ack!
  • And, the thing I want to work on, a manuscript deadline on 1/10.
I'm tired of sitting at my desk all day, followed by bursts of rushing out to crowded post offices and shops. It's time to settle by a fireplace (we don't have one) with some knitting or a good book.

Or maybe I should take a walk, as Thomas Hardy does in the poem, "The Darkling Thrush." His somber mood reminds me: things aren't so bad. The deadlines will be met. Our family is coming to visit and enjoy a traditional Italian Christmas Eve meal. Okay -- the Maryland crab soup isn't so traditional, but it's *our* tradition and it counts as one of the seven fishes.

Wishing you a beautiful transition through the Winter Solstice, as light returns to all of us, no matter which winter traditions you celebrate.


The Darkling Thrush

BY THOMAS HARDY
I leant upon a coppice gate
      When Frost was spectre-grey,
And Winter's dregs made desolate
      The weakening eye of day.
The tangled bine-stems scored the sky
      Like strings of broken lyres,
And all mankind that haunted nigh
      Had sought their household fires.

The land's sharp features seemed to be
      The Century's corpse outleant,
His crypt the cloudy canopy,
      The wind his death-lament.
The ancient pulse of germ and birth
      Was shrunken hard and dry,
And every spirit upon earth
      Seemed fervourless as I.

At once a voice arose among
      The bleak twigs overhead
In a full-hearted evensong
      Of joy illimited;
An aged thrush, frail, gaunt, and small,
      In blast-beruffled plume,
Had chosen thus to fling his soul
      Upon the growing gloom.

So little cause for carolings
      Of such ecstatic sound
Was written on terrestrial things
      Afar or nigh around,
That I could think there trembled through
      His happy good-night air
Some blessed Hope, whereof he knew
      And I was unaware.

11 comments:

Robyn Hood Black said...

Happy Holidays, Laura - glad you decided to jump in with a PF post after all. A perfect selection!

(The birds were already busy as the sun came up down here this morning.)

LInda Baie said...

I like your selection, Laura, and sometimes in this busy time, I feel fervourlous, as you must with all that long list! However, it doesn't stay, and I relish the season. Happy, happy solstice and thanks for the wonderful poem showing such feelings of long ago that still connect with us today!

Buffy Silverman said...

Hope your holidays slow down and you have time to enjoy--thanks for sharing the thrush!

Tabatha said...

Yes, I know what you mean -- I feel a bit like the White Rabbit, running around, pulling out my watch :-) Thank you for this gorgeous poem.

Myra Garces-Bacsal from GatheringBooks said...

What a wonderful reminder, Laura. This is exactly what I've been telling myself like a mantra over and over this morning when I couldn't sleep: Things will all work out, things will be ok. :) And poetry soothes too. :)

Diane Mayr said...

Another Hardy poem, "Proud Songsters," will make you look forward to the birdsong of spring. After tomorrow, spring is really just around the corner. By time April arrives, you won't even remember how harried you were today.

BJ Lee said...

Love this Hardy poem! I've always loved Hardy's novels and came late to his poetry. I read somewhere that he really considered himself more a poet than a novelist. I think he did well in both genres! Have a wonderful Holiday season!

Mary Lee said...

Thank goodness for the passing of the Solstice and the return of light. Thank goodness for the thrush's song to remind us of all the light we have in spite of the dark. Thank you for this post and the reminder to **breathe** and stay in the moment.

Irene Latham said...

Just popping by to say Happy Winter, and may you get everything done that you hope to. You are a joy!

Michelle Heidenrich Barnes said...

We don't have a fireplace either, Laura, but I can relate to your longing nevertheless! I hope you survived the peak of craziness and were able to find a few precious moments of peace and calm.

tess said...

I so needed to read this poem today. Thank you!
tess