Friday, May 23, 2014

"no beautiful thing lasts"

I was putting a lot of books away yesterday, and clicking on links from here and there, and I found a mention of this poem, by someone who liked it. And now I have forgotten where. But I found the poem and then went looking for an autumnal photo and found this from last years October trip home to California. I love autumn aspens against the sky.

When I was very young, I was invited to a housewarming party near Cleveland, where S was in school. Helga Sandburg, Carl's daughter, was there; she brought her guitar and favored us young mortals with a few folksy songs. She must have liked some things about being Sandburg's daughter and some things must have been tedious, like the whispers at that party, "That's Helga Sandburg! Carl Sandburg's daughter!" Just now, I looked her up and found that she just died in January of this year at age 95. Imagine! Her Wikipedia article says she typed many of Carl's manuscripts and that he wrote many poems and dedications to her. I think my favorite line of this poem is, "The northwest wind comes and the yellow is torn full of holes."

Autumn Movement

I cried over beautiful things knowing no beautiful thing lasts. 
The field of cornflower yellow is a scarf at the neck of the 
copper sunburned woman, 
      the mother of the year, the taker of seeds. 

The northwest wind comes and the yellow is torn full of holes, new beautiful things 
      come in the first spit of snow on the northwest wind, and the 
old things go, 
       not one lasts.

Carl Sandburg, 1878 - 1967

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