… to look out of my window at the high pass makes me indifferent to mirrors and to what my soul may wear over its new complexion
Fleur Adcock Weathering
Yesterday, 10 degrees Celsius. This morning, a bracing, mind-clearing 2! But bracing and mind-clearing are good things, aren’t they?
It’s good to be awake enough to notice the changes that the passing hours, in every day, in each season, bring. There’s so obviously a ‘designed’ purpose and intent in the innumerable cycles of life and death on earth, and in us – mind, heart, body and soul.
It’s also true that most of us – all of us? – are less keen on the bracing elements and the ‘dyings’ in the midst of life; less keen on the being blown about – sometimes even brought to the ground – by capricious winds; less keen on shock or surprise; less keen on streaming eyes and having forgotten our gloves; less keen on ‘Weathering.’
But the thing about a bracing morning is that our minds are cleared sufficiently to recall that there’s actually extraordinary beauty in the right here and the right now, and – beyond this season – that Spring will come …
I never will have time
I never will have time enough
How beautiful it is
The way the moon
Floats in the air
And lightly as a bird
Although she is a world
Made all of stone.
I never will have time enough
The way the stars
Hang glittering in the dark
Of steepest heaven
Their dewy sparks
Their brimming drops of light
So fresh so clear
That when you look at them
It quenches thirst.
Anne Porter Living Things: Collected Poems, 2006
This lovely poem brings forth a question in me, perhaps intentionally. The poet writes ‘I never will have time enough to say …’ – and I understand the poetic gist readily enough. But is it true for me? Have I not time enough to say all that I need or want to say? So I follow Anne Porter’s example and head out for a few moments to look up at the night sky. And in my heart I find it is enough. Indeed it isn’t really necessary to say anything at all. Yes, enough. In this moment there is time. And perhaps tomorrow there’ll be some more.
For some time I thought there was time
and that there would always be time
for what I had a mind to do
and what I could imagine
going back to and finding it
as I had found it the first time
but by this time I do not know
what I thought when I thought back then
there is no time yet it grows less
there is the sound of rain at night
arriving unknown in the leaves
once without before or after
then I hear the thrush waking
at daybreak singing the new song
I am only beginning to know what I was taught As a child about poetry, about life, about myself; It takes a long time for words to become thought, For thought, the slow burner, to burn through Into life where it can scorch the palm of a hand, When what was merely beautiful or strange Suffers the metamorphosis, the blood-change, Looks out of eyes or walks down the street, All that was abstract become concrete, Is part of you like an eyelash or your hair; You say “Poetry” and mean you have been there.
You are just beginning to understand What it is all about, the imaginary land, Say, “I can’t possibly describe the weather. It’s as if the sky burned, was all on fire, Ecstasy that makes ash of bodily desire — But all I have to show is a stone and a blue feather.”
My children, you with whom I have learned so much, Do not turn back to these hours; go forward, Look to the fertile days and years ahead When all that meaning and its implication, The full tone and the half-tone and the whisper Will sound together and keep the mind awake, As after hearing a difficult quartet The theme comes clear and you listen again
Long after you had thought you heard; So it is with the deep thought, the deep word. Now we are able only to graph the flight; For we never actually rose from the ground, Imagine a moment when student and teacher (Long after the day and the lesson are over) Will soar together to the pure immortal air And find Yeats, Hopkins, Eliot waiting there.
But you understand, it cannot happen yet. It takes a long time to live what you learn: I believe we shall meet again and show each other These curious marvels, the stone and the blue feather; And we shall meet again when your own children are Taught what they will not know for many a year.
Long after you had thought you heard; / So it is with the deep thought, the deep word.
Yes. And here in cave-like depths of contemplative silence (all-beyond the initial verbosity) one catches momentary glimpses of invitation, like fireflies, eternally suspended in air: go forward, / look to the fertile days and years ahead.