Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Wind. Leaves.

A benefit and bane of growing older: certain items of experience become yoked together, whether you want them to be or not.  A happy example: whenever I read one of these poems, it reminds me of the other two.

     Kayenta, Arizona, May 1977

I fall asleep to the sound of rain,
But there is no rain in the desert.
The leaves of the trader's little cottonwoods
Turn, turn in the wind.

Janet Lewis, The Selected Poems of Janet Lewis, edited by R. L. Barth (2000).

        The Wind in the Tree

She has decided that she no longer loves me.
There is nothing to be done.  I long ago
As a child thought the tree sighed 'Do I know
Whether my motion makes the wind that moves me?'

F. T. Prince, Poems (1938).

And, finally, the last stanza of "The Trees" by Philip Larkin:

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

High Windows (1974).

                 George Mackley (1900-1983), The House by the Lake


GP said...

George Mackley was my head teacher at school in 1955, he tried to get me to to take up wood engraving, what a fool I was not to take up his offer.
Regards David Nash.

Stephen Pentz said...

Mr. Nash: Thank you for visiting, and for leaving a comment. You were fortunate to have known Mr. Mackley! I greatly admire his engravings. As you probably know, he wrote a book on wood engraving -- "Confessions of a Woodpecker." It is a wonderful explanation of the art of which he was a master.

GP said...

Mr Pentz, thank you for the reply, yes I do know he wrote the book "Confessions of a Woodpecker." He wrote another book called "Wood Engraving." First published in 1948, of which I have a copy.
Why when we are young do we not see the beauty that is right before our eyes.
George Mackley was a true master of his craft, and I have spent my life regreting that I did not see it at the time.
Regards David.

Stephen Pentz said...

Mr. Nash: Thank you for the tip about his earlier book. You have likely seen "George Mackley: Wood Engraver." The tributes to him in the book show that he was a kind, humble, and remarkable man.

I have long been an admirer of British wood engraving in the 20th century -- it was indeed a "golden age". And George Mackley, as you say, was a master. Whenever I look at his work, I feel like I need to board a flight for England and head out into the countryside!

As for your comment about missing things before our eyes when we are young: I know the feeling well.