To a good degree I have a high school English teacher named Miss Upchurch to thank for cultivating my love of poetry. That written in lyrical rhyming form is my favorite kind as it bounces along when read almost like the beat of a song does. Going through some old files on my computer I came across a rather obscure poem by one of my top five favorite poets; Swinburne. Here is the first half of his “calendar” of poetry. Being now in March we are about in the middle of the six months Swinburne writes about. In words of the poet here’s “from then (year’s start) till now (March) to summer (June)”:
” A Year’s Carols” by Algernon Charles Swinburne
Hail, January, that bearest here
On snow bright breasts the babe-faced year
That weeps and trembles to be born.
Hail, maid and mother, strong and bright,
Hooded and cloaked and shod with white,
Whose eyes are stars that match the morn.
Thy forehead braves the storm’s bent bow,
Thy feet enkindle stars of snow.
Wan February with weeping cheer,
Whose cold hand guides the youngling year
Down misty roads of mire and rime,
Before thy pale and fitful face
The shrill wind shifts the clouds apace
Through skies the morning scarce may climb.
Thine eyes are thick with heavy tears,
But lit with hopes that light the year’s.
Hail, happy March, whose foot on earth
Rings as the blast of martial mirth
When trumpets fire men’s hearts for fray.
No race of wild things winged or finned
May match the might that wings thy wind
Through air and sea, through scud and spray.
Strong joy and thou were powers twin-born
Of tempest and the towering morn.
Crowned April, king whose kiss bade earth
Bring forth to time her lordliest birth
When Shakespeare from thy lips drew breath
And laughed to hold in one soft hand
A spell that bade the world’s wheel stand,
And power on life, and power on death,
With quiring suns and sunbright showers
Praise him, the flower of all thy flowers.
Hail, May, whose bark puts forth full-sailed
For summer; May, whom Chaucer hailed
With all his happy might of heart,
And gave thy rosebright daisy-tips
Strange fragrance from his amorous lips
That still thine own breath seems to part
And sweeten till each word they say
Is even a flower of flowering May.
Strong June, superb, serene, elate
With conscience of thy sovereign state
Untouched of thunder, though the storm
Scathe here and there thy shuddering skies
And bid its lightning cross thine eyes
With fire, thy golden hours inform
Earth and the souls of men with life
That brings forth peace from shining strife.
….to be continued….
My favorite times of year are spring and fall when subdued warmth comes in the day time and coolness prevails at night. Those two changes of the season are living metaphors for the transitions of life.
I love every cool night where a jacket is needed that follows a day one is unnecessary. Crawling into bed last night and first feeling the cool covers on my skin, aloud I said “this is wonderful”. I am grateful for my growing awareness of living in the “now” that brought such a beautifully grateful moment to me.
Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings,
turn routine jobs into joy,
and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.
William Arthur Ward