Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Life Explained, Part Ten: "All We Make Is Enough Barely To Seem A Bee's Din, A Beetle-Scheme"

I first encountered Geoffrey Scott (1884-1929) as the editor of the Boswell journals that were discovered in the 1920s at Malahide Castle in Ireland.  Unfortunately, he died unexpectedly at an early age before completing the project. I later discovered that Scott had also written poetry.  Here is a poem of Scott's that offers a quiet view of what to expect from Life.

     All Our Joy Is Enough

All we make is enough
Barely to seem
A bee's din,
A beetle-scheme --
Sleepy stuff
For God to dream:

All our joy is enough
At most to fill
A thimble cup
A little wind puff
Can shake, can spill:
Fill it up;
Be still.

All we know is enough;
Though written wide,
Small spider yet
With tangled stride
Will soon be off
The page's side:

Modern Poetry 1922-1934: An Anthology (1934).

                         Graham Sutherland, "Oast House" (1932)


GretchenJoanna said...

What a striking poem. I will be thinking about it for a while...

It seems that the poet is giving us a directive at the end of each stanza. Even though we make so little, we need to Begin working. Because we have known so little joy, we need to fill up our cup of joy -- by being still and waiting for joy to come...?

The last directive I'm most unsure of. Is it that we must Forget all that we know if we are ever to learn true knowledge?

Stephen Pentz said...

GretchenJoanna: It is a wonderful poem, isn't it? I can't say I have ever "figured it out," but I feel no need to do so: it immediately resonated with me, and I'm content to leave it at that. That being said, I think all your queries are on the mark.

Geoffrey Scott was an interesting person who, unfortunately, died too young. Most of his poems leave me a bit puzzled, but they do tend to strike a chord with me.

Thank you very much for sharing your thoughts again. I'm pleased you liked the poem.