Thursday, May 9, 2013

"When I Look At Lovely Things Which Pass"

Perhaps I am easy to please, but I never cease to be amazed at the way these things work.  Now -- just as the last of the cherry, apple, and pear blossoms drift to the ground -- on come the lilacs, the rhododendrons, and the azaleas (to name but a few).

And they in turn will soon be replaced, until all of this rising and opening and fading and falling has its denouement in an empty December to come. But there is no need to dwell on that now.

William Callow (1812-1908), "Easby Abbey, Yorkshire" (1853)

                           In the Fields

Lord, when I look at lovely things which pass,
     Under old trees the shadows of young leaves
Dancing to please the wind along the grass,
     Or the gold stillness of the August sun on the August sheaves,
Can I believe there is a heavenlier world than this?
     And if there is
Will the strange heart of any everlasting thing
     Bring me these dreams that take my breath away?
They come at evening with the home-flying rooks and the scent of hay,
     Over the fields.  They come in Spring.

Charlotte Mew, Complete Poems (edited by John Newton) (Penguin 2000.) The poem was first published in 1923.

William Callow, "Old Avenue, Inveraray"

The following poem by Walter de la Mare (which has appeared here before, but which is worth revisiting) provides, I think, a nice complement to Mew's poem.


The longed-for summer goes;
Dwindles away
To its last rose,
Its narrowest day.

No heaven-sweet air but must die;
Softlier float,
Breathe lingeringly
Its final note.

Oh, what dull truths to tell!
Now is the all-sufficing all
Wherein to love the lovely well,
Whate'er befall.

Walter de la Mare, O Lovely England and Other Poems (1953).

William Callow, "Confluence of the Greta and the Tees" (1872)


Merisi said...

Loveliest of thoughts and poems, thank you!

Today Ascension Day is celebrated around here, a holiday. Early in the morning, I went for a long hike into the Vienna Woods and found the beauty of nature around me more breathtaking than ever. It also put me in a reflective mood, all the signs of evanescence around me, reminders to really cease the day, or miss it.

Stephen Pentz said...

Merisi: thank you for stopping by again, and for your thoughts.

Lucky you! Although I have visited Vienna, I never had the chance to see the Vienna Woods. Your hike sounds lovely.

As always, I appreciate hearing from you.