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Begin afresh, afresh, afresh - shadows of echoes of memories of songs
j4
j4
Begin afresh, afresh, afresh
Psimont may complain about the weather, but I think it's beautiful; it's nothing like summer, it's pure spring. The air is still fresh, still shivery in the shade; and the light still has that raw edge of winter sun, low rays shining through the trees, pouring dappled light on to the dewy grass.

For me, spring is full of promise, of new life, of reaching out and grasping at every burst of light, every bud, every unfurling leaf. Summer, by contrast, is lethargic and slow; the summer sun weighs heavy on even the brightest flowers, and the summer air is cloying, oppressive, thick with decadence and disappointment. Summer promises everything and fails to deliver; but with Spring every sunbeam is an unexpected gift, every snowdrop is a diamond in the dirt, every moment of warmth is a swift and fierce embrace from a new love.

So why does light through new leaves bring tears to my eyes? Because the beginning is always the beginning of the end, the wheel always turns. No matter how free and clear the air feels, no matter how the sun sparkles on the river or shines on budding romances; no matter how lightly the hours pass, still they pass.



The trees are coming into leaf
Like something almost being said;
The recent buds relax and spread,
Their greenness is a kind of grief.

Is it that they are born again
And we grow old? No, they die too.
Their yearly trick of looking new
Is written down in rings of grain.

Yet still the unresting castles thresh
In fullgrown thickness every May.
Last year is dead, they seem to say,
Begin afresh, afresh, afresh.

-- Philip Larkin


* * *



'I'm rising five,' he said,
'Not four,' and little coils of hair
Unclicked themselves upon his head.
His spectacles, brimful of eyes to stare
At me and the meadow, reflected cones of light
Above his toffee buckled cheeks. He'd been alive
Fifty-six months or perhaps a week more: not four,
But rising five.
Around him in the field the cells of spring
Bubbled and doubled; buds unbuttoned; shoot
And stem shook out the creases from their frills,
And every tree was swilled with green.
It was the season after blossoming,
Before the forming of the fruit: not May,
But rising June.

And in the sky
The dusk dissected the tangential light:
not day,
But rising night;
not now,
But rising soon.

The new buds push the old leaves from the bough.
We drop our youth behind us like a boy
Throwing away his toffee wrappers. We never see the flower,
But only the fruit in the flower; never the fruit,
But only the rot in the fruit. We look for the marriage bed
In the baby's cradle, we look for the grave in the bed: not living,
But rising dead.

-- Norman Nicholson

Current Mood: IW4 cherry blossom
Now playing: Eliza Carthy: Rice

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Comments
lnr From: lnr Date: March 27th, 2003 08:42 am (UTC) (Link)
I really like the second of those. Even if I try not to look at the world that way it still strikes a chord.
huskyteer From: huskyteer Date: March 27th, 2003 08:49 am (UTC) (Link)
I was thinking about that poem only this morning. Can't for the life of me remember why, now.
j4 From: j4 Date: March 27th, 2003 10:03 am (UTC) (Link)
I think about it often. It was in our GCSE poetry anthology (though not one that we actually studied...) and it just seems to have lodged in my consciousness.
rysmiel From: rysmiel Date: March 27th, 2003 10:04 am (UTC) (Link)
Now that's a nice userpic. [ mmm, books.. ]
j4 From: j4 Date: March 28th, 2003 01:55 am (UTC) (Link)
And of course, because you're a gentleman (and a scholar?), it's just the books you're drooling over. ;-)
rysmiel From: rysmiel Date: March 28th, 2003 06:38 am (UTC) (Link)
Certainly. Wouldn't want to get you damp accidentally, now would I ?
j4 From: j4 Date: March 28th, 2003 06:51 am (UTC) (Link)
No, no. Of course not.

You know, I'm still wondering if I should warn my sister about you. :-P
rysmiel From: rysmiel Date: March 28th, 2003 08:06 am (UTC) (Link)
I don't think you need to; I have not world enough and time atm to do anything worth being warned against.
rysmiel From: rysmiel Date: March 27th, 2003 08:48 am (UTC) (Link)
In the last couple of weeks, the ground that has been entirely covered with snow since November has been becoming visible away, temperatures have been consistently zero or above, and it is just so different to what I am used to. There were a few days of rain that was actually like weather I'm used to, and it felt pleasantly exotic.

In re how it makes me feel; it depends widely on what scale I'm thinking at at the time. Have I posted a pointer to this here before ? That's kind of where I end up boiling down to, when I consider how I'm feeling, as opposed to being busy thinking about other stuff.
j4 From: j4 Date: March 27th, 2003 10:06 am (UTC) (Link)
In the last couple of weeks, the ground that has been entirely covered with snow since November has been becoming visible

This reminds me of another Larkin poem -- one of his almost-cheerful ones.

[Jo's poem]
I don't think you've pointed me in its direction before, no. Interesting -- thank you!

How I actually feel at this time of year, when I'm not trying to put it into pretty prose, is something that's barely expressible in words. It's somewhere between the feeling of half-falling from a height in dreams, and the feeling of dreadful hope that something might (not) happen to happen. It's closer to an angle of light than a describable emotion.

Sometimes I don't even make sense to myself.
rysmiel From: rysmiel Date: March 27th, 2003 10:13 am (UTC) (Link)
[Jo's poem]
I don't think you've pointed me in its direction before, no. Interesting -- thank you!

I'm leaning on that set of thoughts quite a lot at the moment.

How I actually feel at this time of year, when I'm not trying to put it into pretty prose, is something that's barely expressible in words.

English is deeply lacking in many spectra of subtle emotional distinctions.

It's somewhere between the feeling of half-falling from a height in dreams, and the feeling of dreadful hope that something might (not) happen to happen. It's closer to an angle of light than a describable emotion. Sometimes I don't even make sense to myself.

I think I get it, though it has been a long while since I felt like that myself - I have, I think much more by way of roots now than I did when I used to get that. *hug* Makes sense enow for the purpose, and nicely put too.
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lnr From: lnr Date: March 27th, 2003 08:59 am (UTC) (Link)
But I'm poetically illiterate. Reading the rest of that I don't believe you.
j4 From: j4 Date: March 27th, 2003 10:08 am (UTC) (Link)
Almost word for word what I was going to say...

And I didn't forget the blossom, it's just not so central to the ... the imagery I use to think about these things. Perhaps because it is so much of a fixture of haiku, and haiku don't quite fit the way I feel around this time of year. They're too perfect and enclosed, whereas what I feel is more ... on the cusp of something, not complete in itself.

Again j4 fails to make any sense. <sigh>
rysmiel From: rysmiel Date: March 27th, 2003 10:21 am (UTC) (Link)
They're too perfect and enclosed, whereas what I feel is more ... on the cusp of something, not complete in itself.

Nascent ? Immanent ? At least there are words for this one.
j4 From: j4 Date: March 28th, 2003 02:45 am (UTC) (Link)
Somewhere in that semantic spectrum, yes, but I'm not sure either is quite right. I want a word that expresses not just the beginningness, but the incompleteness. And again "incompleteness" isn't quite right...

It's like the swell of a wave, the moment just before it reaches the crest, just before it falls in a flurry of foam. But a wave isn't its rising or its falling alone, it's the whole process, the cycle; it's not quite "the grave in the marriage bed" etc., or if it is, it's also the cradle in the grave. I think spring is the upwards surge, but there needs to be a word for the-rising-of-something-whose-falling-is-inherent-in-its-rising, and vice versa. (It could be argued that everything that rises also falls, so a separate word isn't needed, but that would take away some of the fun of searching for the words.)
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j4 From: j4 Date: March 28th, 2003 02:49 am (UTC) (Link)
You may be pissed, but you're making sense to me. Maybe alcohol frees the meaning.

I do know what you mean about loving transitory things. (I still like making sandcastles for that very reason.) I just find haiku rather too self-contained... everything is intertwingled, interlinked, intertextual, hypertextual. (It could be just that haiku Just Don't Work in English, of course.)
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j4 From: j4 Date: March 28th, 2003 03:12 am (UTC) (Link)
For me, however, the start of the year is in the Autumn

Spot the person who's still close to the world of academia... :)

Autumn has a related but different feeling, for me. It's a darker beginning, more melancholy; more heavy, less fragile than Spring. I still think in terms of (no pun intended) the academic year too, and there's always the tension of that year beginning and the natural year beginning to end. (And, at the moment, the feeling that I'm beginning another wasted year since I finished my degree.)

For me Autumn will always, somewhere in my mind, be walking down Burton Walks, kicking the fallen leaves with my new school shoes, feeling the nights drawing in. Rows of streetlamps stretching through the gathering dusk into the welcoming dark. Greys and navy blues in the shadows; new faces, old buildings. The comforting weight of tradition settling around our shoulders.

I feel these things as physical sensations. I don't have the right words for the feeling of lights in shop windows in November, or the feeling of the light-lapped shadows between two street lamps. I'm not even sure I have the right language.

Current music: Kristin Hersh, Hips and Makers. [This album is a darkened room in a shared house, in a November that may have happened to somebody else.]
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