Tuesday, May 22, 2012

"Hope Well And Have Well: Or, Fair After Foul Weather"

Perhaps it is the news of the world.  Or perhaps it is simply this week's weather forecast: five days of rain.  Whatever the cause, I feel the need for a gleam of sunlight, for bright blue and gold.  Robert Herrick and Derek Mahon may do the trick.

       Hope Well and Have Well:
      Or, Fair After Foul Weather

What though the heaven be lowering now,
And look with a contracted brow?
We shall discover, by-and-by,
A repurgation of the sky;
And when those clouds away are driven,
Then will appear a cheerful heaven.

Robert Herrick, Hesperides (1648).

                    Claughton Pellew, "The Windmill, Sheringham" (1925)

     Everything Is Going To Be All Right

How should I not be glad to contemplate
the clouds clearing beyond the dormer window
and a high tide reflected on the ceiling?
There will be dying, there will be dying,
but there is no need to go into that.
The poems flow from the hand unbidden
and the hidden source is the watchful heart.
The sun rises in spite of everything
and the far cities are beautiful and bright.
I lie here in a riot of sunlight
watching the day break and the clouds flying.
Everything is going to be all right.

Derek Mahon, Poems 1962-1978 (Oxford University Press 1979).

                            Laura Knight (1877-1970), "Valley at Evening"


Fred said...


Come to Tucson: many days of sunshine and triple digit temps.

Stephen Pentz said...

Fred: I have visited Tucson a few times, and it is lovely. However, my visits were in the spring and autumn, so I missed the 100s -- which I don't regret! Thanks for the thought. (Actually, after you've lived here a while, you become fond of the rain, and begin to miss it when we have a dry spell!)

Clarissa Aykroyd said...

The Derek Mahon poem is a favourite, though I tend to feel there is something ominous lurking in the background.

Stephen Pentz said...

Ms Aykroyd: thanks for stopping by again, and for your thoughts on Mahon's poem. Yes, I think that you are correct. As is borne out by later poems such as "Craigvara House", "Dawn at St. Patrick's", and "Dejection":

Bone-idle, I lie listening to the rain,
Not tragic now nor yet to frenzy bold.
Must I stand out in thunder-storms again
Who have twice come in from the cold?

Selected Poems (Penguin 1991).

Thanks again.