Friday, February 8, 2013

"The Year's Awakening"

Perhaps I am rushing things, but any day now I expect to see the first crocus of the year.

I know nothing about the movement of the spheres, but I have been watching as, week by week, the sun has been setting further and further to the north, across the waters of the Sound, behind the Olympic Mountains, and out into the Pacific.  By June, it will be setting far to the northwest, beyond the Canadian border.

Soon the crocuses will come.

                               Eliot Hodgkin, "Two Hyacinth Bulbs" (1966)

            The Year's Awakening

How do you know that the pilgrim track
Along the belting zodiac
Swept by the sun in his seeming rounds
Is traced by now to the Fishes' bounds
And into the Ram, when weeks of cloud
Have wrapt the sky in a clammy shroud,
And never as yet a tinct of spring
Has shown in the Earth's apparelling;
        O vespering bird, how do you know,
                How do you know?

How do you know, deep underground,
Hid in your bed from sight and sound,
Without a turn in temperature,
With weather life can scarce endure,
That light has won a fraction's strength,
And day put on some moments' length,
Whereof in merest rote will come,
Weeks hence, mild airs that do not numb;
        O crocus root, how do you know,
                How do you know?

Thomas Hardy, Satires of Circumstance, Lyrics and Reveries (1914).  In a note, Hardy indicates that the poem was written in February of 1910.

                                                         Raymond Booth
                                                          "Crocus" (1962)


Laxman said...

Beacause of your blog, I recently bought a copy of "Selected Poems of Thomas Hardy (Penguin Classics)". The moment I saw this post, rushed to fetch the book from my table and to read the poem in the book, if it is there in this collection.
I was surprised by the coincidence of the book opening exactly on the page, the poem is.Of course, the book mark helped, but that was placed by me unknowingly, after browsing the book when it arrived by mail.
I know, it's just a coincidence, but the joy I felt,wanted to share.
Thank You.

Stephen Pentz said...

Laxman: that is a wonderful coincidence! To slightly modify a well-known phrase: poetry moves in mysterious ways! I greatly appreciate your sharing that moment.

As always, thank you for visiting.