Monday, April 6, 2020

Alright With the World

~ "Like a seed in a sunflower." ~
Thanks to my friend Carmen Balfour for this charming drawing,
created in honor of her grand-daughter's 18th birthday.
Carmen writes: "It's elementary
but she wanted me to do it so no way I wouldn't!"


You say all right, I say alright . . .

At times like these, when all is definitely not right with world,* poems like this one (and this one) by Ted Hughes remind us not to miss the hidden details of order and ceremony, right down to the seed in the sunflower:

The Warm and the Cold

Freezing dusk is closing
Like a slow trap of steel
On trees and roads and hills and all
That can no longer feel.
But the carp is in its depth
Like a planet in its heaven.
And the badger in its bedding
Like a loaf in the oven.
And the butterfly in its mummy
Like a viol in its case.
And the owl in its feathers
Like a doll in its lace.

Freezing dusk has tightened
Like a nut screwed tight
On the starry aeroplane
Of the soaring night.
But the trout is in its hole
Like a chuckle in a sleeper.
The hare strays down the highway
Like a root going deeper.
The snail is dry in the outhouse**
Like a seed in a sunflower.

The owl is pale on the gatepost
Like a clock on its tower.

Moonlight freezes the shaggy world
Like a mammoth of ice -
The past and the future
Are the jaws of a steel vice.
But the cod is in the tide-rip
Like a key in a purse.
The deer are on the bare-blown hill
Like smiles on a nurse.
The flies are behind the plaster
Like the lost score of a jig.
Sparrows are in the ivy-clump
Like money in a pig.

Such a frost
The flimsy moon
Has lost her wits.

A star falls.

The sweating farmers
Turn in their sleep
Like oxen on spits.
[emphasis added]

by Ted Hughes (1930 - 1998)
in his book Season Songs (1976) & Collected Poems (2003)


*As in Robert Browning's famous yet ironic song:

The year's at the spring
And day's at the morn;
Morning's at seven;
The hill-side's dew-pearled;
The lark's on the wing;
The snail's on the thorn:
God's in his heaven—
All's right with the world!
[emphasis added]

**And what a rare coincidence, considering how few snails there are in literature, that both Browning and Hughes include snail imagery in their pictures of a perfect universe!

Happy Easter!

No comments:

Post a Comment