Monday, June 2, 2014

And on this mild June morning, I offer a late-autumn Milly Jourdain poem--
November in Dorset 
Milly Jourdain 
The yellow sunshine lying on the ground
Is making golden light on trees and hills
And shining on the dew-drops in the hedge
And purple bramble-leaves.
I turn and leave this sleeping rain-soaked land
With all its memories of summer days;
And then among the lonely fields I hear
The lonely cries of lambs.
I like this poem. I like metrical surprise of the short fourth line. I like the careful, patient images. I like the repetition of lonely in the last two lines. I like that it doesn't go out of its way to emote, or juggle big ideas, or draw connections, or build to a meaning-filled conclusion. Yet it nonetheless opens a window within me so that I do experience emotions and ponder ideas, connections, and conclusions. This poem, it seems to me, is a lesson in Keats's concept of negative capability, "when man is capable of being in uncertainties, Mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact & reason." Still, the clarity of the language, the flexible confidence of the two sentences that comprise this poem, are the solidity that frames those "uncertainties, mysteries, doubts." The poem is the frame of the mystery, and that mystery is visible and physical and fleeting and evanescent. 

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