Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Flowers are perfect, but what of that?

Like this flower this afternoon, with an accent of white window frame. I have said that this frost-survivor epiphyllum was a least-favorite, but there is a color subtlety revealed by this unaltered photo that sings! Makes me want to break out the watercolors!
Tonight I got about halfway through Robert Frost; the early years. He was co-valedictorian of his high school with the girl he later married. Then he quit Dartmouth without finishing his first year. Then he is this-ing and that-ing, while his girlfriend sticks firm to her interesting idea that he should be able to earn their keep before they marry, One of the main things I got from tonight's reading is how over-the-top ruled by emotion he is, despite all his intellectual gifts. At one point he runs away and walks through the Great Dismal Swamp (honestly, the Great Dismal Swamp!) and having failed to fall into the swamp or be bitten by a poisonous snake, etc. finally starts home riding boxcars until arrested, when he has to send to his mother for the fare.

Another interesting thing was his discovery of the newly popular, recently deceased poet, Emily Dickinson. He bought her book, and really responded to her poetry, partly because he had doubts about religion also, as she did. (His mother was very religious and became a Swedenborgian. This was also the time when the writings of the great Victorian scientists and thinkers were being widely disseminated and discussed.) But, imagine living when Emily Dickenson was a new, hot, poet!! Just imagine!

Here is a poem by Dickenson that he responded to; it is quoted in the biography on page 124.

I reason, earth is short
and anguish absolute,
And many hurt;
But what of that?

I reason, we could die:
The best vitality
Cannot excel decay;
But what of that?

I reason that in heaven
Somehow, it will be even,
Some new equation given;
But what of that?

--Emily Dickenson

Heavy stuff, this. Take a look at the form, also. Three four-line stanzas, each with the same question as a refrain. Think of your own question and make your self a little poem. Or try it using this same question, which is quite widely applicable. And now to bed.

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