James McIntosh Patrick, "Winter in Angus" (1935)
Winter in Spring
Winter is over, and the ache of the year
Quieted into rest;
The torn boughs heal, and the time of the leaf is near,
And the time of the nest.
The poor man shivers less by his little hearth,
He will warm his hands in the sun;
He thinks there may be friendliness in the earth
Now the winter is done.
Winter is over, I see the gentle and strange
And irresistible spring:
Where is it I carry winter, that I feel no change
Arthur Symons, The Fool of the World and Other Poems (1906).
James McIntosh Patrick, "Arbirlot Mill, near Arbroath"
"Where is it I carry winter, that I feel no change/In anything?" Well, perhaps a clue lies here:
The Soul's Progress
It enters life it knows not whence; there lies
A mist behind it and a mist before.
It stands between a closed and open door.
It follows hope, yet feeds on memories.
The years are with it, and the years are wise;
It learns the mournful lesson of their lore.
It hears strange voices from an unknown shore,
Voices that will not answer to its cries.
Blindly it treads dim ways that wind and twist;
It sows for knowledge, and it gathers pain;
Stakes all on love, and loses utterly.
Then, going down into the darker mist,
Naked, and blind, and blown with wind and rain,
It staggers out into eternity.
Arthur Symons, Days and Nights (1889).
Yes, I know: Whew! But I wouldn't say that Symons's vision is uniquely bleak. For instance, Arthur Schopenhauer and Thomas Hardy came to similar conclusions, so he is in good company. Bear in mind: such a vision doesn't render the World and our existence any less wondrous. In fact, it may heighten our appreciation for what we have stumbled into . . . until we disappear back into the mist.
James McIntosh Patrick, "The Ettrick Shepherd" (1936)