Friday, June 17, 2011

"So Many Summers, And I Have Lived Them Too"

The solstice soon arrives.  Although it brings summer, and long bright evenings, there is a sense of a larger shift in things.  Today I noticed that a few green leaves had fallen to the ground beneath a tall, healthy maple.  But enough!  "There will be dying, there will be dying,/but there is no need to go into that."  (Derek Mahon, "Everything Is Going To Be All Right," from Poems 1962-1978.)     

                    So Many Summers

Beside one loch, a hind's neat skeleton,
Beside another, a boat pulled high and dry:
Two neat geometries drawn in the weather:
Two things already dead and still to die.

I passed them every summer, rod in hand,
Skirting the bright blue or the spitting gray,
And, every summer, saw how the bleached timbers
Gaped wider and the neat ribs fell away.

Time adds one malice to another one --
Now you'd look very close before you knew
If it's the boat that ran, the hind went sailing.
So many summers, and I have lived them too.

Norman MacCaig, Collected Poems (1990).

                                 Eilif Peterssen, "Summer Night" (1886)


Fred said...

Taoists tell us that when things reach their fullest development, there is an inevitable falling back.

The day after the Solstice, the days get shorter and nights get longer.

Stephen Pentz said...

Fred: thank you for dropping by again. And thank you for pointing out the connection with Taoism. For some reason I have had the urge this week to dip back into T'ang poetry. Perhaps this is due to thinking about the solstice and change -- Taoism and Chinese poetry both have that sense of change and balance that you speak of, I think.

Thanks again.