Monday, January 10, 2011

"When The Night-Processions Flit Through The Mind"

My previous post featured Elizabeth Jennings's "The Rabbit's Advice," which contains these lines:

. . . imagine those nights when you lie awake
Afraid to turn over, afraid
Of night and dawn and sleep.

I am sure that we have all had our share of those kinds of nights.  I am reminded of a poem by Fleur Adcock:


There are worse things than having behaved foolishly in public.
There are worse things than these miniature betrayals,
committed or endured or suspected; there are worse things
than not being able to sleep for thinking about them.
It is 5 a.m.  All the worse things come stalking in
and stand icily about the bed looking worse and worse and worse.

Fleur Adcock, Selected Poems (1983).

                        Harald Sohlberg, "Fisherman's Cottage" (1907)

Thomas Hardy was certainly no slouch when it came to regret.  (Consider, for starters, his self-lacerating Poems of 1912-13, which were written after the death of his first wife.)  Hardy has this to say about unwelcome night visitations:

     The Peace-Offering

It was but a little thing,
Yet I knew it meant to me
Ease from what had given a sting
To the very birdsinging

But I would not welcome it;
And for all I then declined
O the regrettings infinite
When the night-processions flit
     Through the mind!

Thomas Hardy, Moments of Vision and Miscellaneous Verses (1917).

                    Harald Sohlberg, "Winter Night at Rondane" (1914)


Shelley said...

The grim ones are appropriate for Arizona.

Stephen Pentz said...

Thank you for stopping by again, Shelley.