Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Seasonal poetry

Poetry is one of my big cultural gaps.  Although there are poems I can recite from memory, they tend to be of the rhyming and amusing variety.  (If we ever meet and conversation flags, you can test me on Matilda, Who told Lies and was Burned to Death by Hilaire Belloc.)  It's probably that it's mainly a bit much for me - I have a particular aversion to anything poignant, which pretty much writes off a great deal of all art, and particularly poetry.  When I think about changing seasons, though, I do think of Frost at Midnight by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

I have tried to learn copperplate calligraphy, which is as pesky to do as it is lovely to look at.  One of my efforts was to write out the last section of this beautiful poem, which Coleridge wrote for his son, Hartley, in which he describes how Hartley's rural upbringing will make him a child of nature, and influence his imagination:

Therefore all seasons shall be sweet to thee,
Whether the summer clothe the general earth
With greenness, or the redbreast sit and sing
Betwixt the tufts of snow on the bare branch
Of mossy apple-tree, while the nigh thatch
Smokes in the sun-thaw; whether the eave-drops fall
Heard only in the trances of the blast,
Or if the secret ministry of frost
Shall hang them up in silent icicles,
Quietly shining to the quiet Moon.

Frost at Midnight by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Richard Holmes, who wrote one of my favourite books, The Age of Wonder, wrote a two-part biography of Coleridge.  It is very sad, but incredibly interesting and very moving.  I recommend it heartily. 

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