Sunday, November 1, 2020

The Mourning After

Halloween ~ Just Before Midnight
Downtown Chicago 
Photo by Sam McCartney

Last night, a happy haunted Halloween; this morning, a blustery All Saints Day. We awake in mourning -- for Halloween, for October, for Daylight Saving Time. As of today, it's all over, and the bleak mid - autumn is upon us. In fact, we are precisely in the middle of autumn, at the magical half - way point between the Autumnal Equinox (Mabon) and the Winter Solstice (Yule), which is what all the Samhain and Dia de los Muertos celebrations are all about.

As a special bonus, the hour that we sacrificed back at the beginning of Daylight Time is restored to us, but still, despite that extra slice of light on the sundial, it seems to have have grown darker out and I cringe to "always hear Time’s wingèd chariot hurrying near." Why is that?

Thoughts from friends and poets:

"Time has come today! Time!"
Thanks Rita Burrell

"Do not let yourself be deluded by anyone;
this is all I teach
Thanks Michael Lipsey

"Take pity on time ." ~Edward Lucie - Smith

" . . . our pitiful share of time . . ." ~X.J. Kennedy

"Do not pity the dead, Harry.
Pity the living
. . . "
~ J. K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (722)


And, finally, this poem, which you might remember
was recited in the movie Four Weddings and a Funeral
-- that's how I first learned about it.
In connection with the above passages, I think it explains why
the custom of mourning for an entire year makes a lot of sense:

Funeral Blues
(Song IX / from Two Songs for Hedli Anderson)
Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone.
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling in the sky the message He is Dead,
Put crêpe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last forever, I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now; put out every one,
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun.
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood;
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

Wystan Hugh Auden (1907-1973)


Need something to fill that extra hour?
In addition to contemplating our mortality
and that of our loved ones, past and present,
check out my book blog & get some reading done!
Current post: "The Jeweled Books in the Shelves"

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