Monday, October 31, 2011

"Reciprocity"

Today was windy, and leaves fell by the thousands.  Rather than pleading "Slow, slow!" (like Robert Frost), I thought:  "Stop, stop!  Not yet!"  To no avail, of course.  Another instance of the World's impassivity, a topic that I visited a few months ago.

A poem by John Drinkwater (1882-1937) seems apt.  Although Drinkwater is now known only for the much-anthologized "Moonlit Apples" ("moonlit apples of dreams . . . moon-washed apples of wonder"), he did write other poems that are worth remembering.

                    Reciprocity

I do not think that skies and meadows are
Moral, or that the fixture of a star
Comes of a quiet spirit, or that trees
Have wisdom in their windless silences.
Yet these are things invested in my mood
With constancy, and peace, and fortitude,
That in my troubled season I can cry
Upon the wide composure of the sky,
And envy fields, and wish that I might be
As little daunted as a star or tree.

John Drinkwater, Tides (1917).

                   Gilbert Adams, "The Cotswolds from Park Leys" (1958)

8 comments:

Tim Kendall said...

Thank you for this, Steve. The poem is probably an influence on Owen's 'Insensibility', particularly the reference in the final line to 'The eternal reciprocity of tears.' Owen had Drinkwater's poem among his papers.

Fred said...

Stephen,

Strange title for the poem--not sure how it works.

The poem is a fine example, though, of the dichotomy between what we profess to believe and what we really believe.

Stephen Pentz said...

Tim: as always, thank you very much for visiting. And thank you indeed for the tie-in with Owen's 'Insensiblity': I did not know that Owen was familiar with the poem, or that 'Insensibility' may echo it. That is a wonderful association! I greatly appreciate your taking the time to point it out.

Stephen Pentz said...

Fred: I'm with you on the title: it has always puzzled me a bit. But perhaps my puzzlement adds to the attraction of the poem. Your point about what we really believe is a good one -- it is difficult to avoid Ruskin's "pathetic fallacy," isn't it? (For me at least!)

I appreciate your stopping by again.

Fred said...

Stephen,

I gave up years ago trying to avoid the pathetic fallacy. I just relax now and enjoy it.

Stephen Pentz said...

Fred: I agree. Coincidentally, I've been reading Ryokan, and I'm noticing once again how the seasons and his emotional state are intertwined. No avoiding it.

Thanks again.

Fred said...

Stephen,

Makes one wonder if the pathetic fallacy isn't hardwired in, rather than a cultural artifact.

Stephen Pentz said...

Fred: I think so.