Sunday, February 10, 2013

Winter Into Spring, Part One: "Last Hours"

In my previous post, I noted the imminent arrival of the crocus.  However, as I suggested, perhaps I shouldn't be too impatient.  All in good time.

This shoulder season of winter into spring does have its own attractions. The passing of winter does not possess the same wistfulness quotient as the passing of summer into autumn or of autumn into winter.  Yet, it is a time whose vanishing beauties cannot help but awaken a feeling of regret.

For instance, the sight of bare branches against the sky can be as lovely as the threshing and unresting castles (thank you, Philip Larkin) of spring and summer.  I will miss them.

                                 Gilbert Spencer, "From My Studio" (c. 1959)

                 Last Hours

        A gray day and quiet,
        With slow clouds of gray,
And in dull air a cloud that falls, falls,
                    All day.

        The naked and stiff branches
        Of oak, elm, thorn,
In the cold light are like men aged and

        Only a gray sky,
        Grass, trees, grass again,
And all the air a cloud that drips, drips,
                    All day.

        Lovely the lonely
        Bare trees and green grass --
Lovelier now the last hours of slow winter
                    Slowly pass.

John Freeman, Memories of Childhood and Other Poems (1919).

             Gilbert Spencer, "Burdens Farm with Melbury Beacon" (c. 1943)


Sam Vega said...

How you manage to find a poem and two paintings which perfectly capture the time of year is beyond me. You must have an encyclopaedic memory.

I have spent happy times on and around Melbury Beacon - a truly magical place.

Stephen Pentz said...

Sam Vega: thank you for your nice comment about my memory, but I'm afraid that I've reached the point in life where I'm losing more than I'm retaining! Still, I tend to remember poems that I like (but not all of them, unfortunately). Also, I'm always revisiting poets that I like, so my memory gets refreshed. Like a hedgehog circling through a familiar course.

As for matching up poems and images, I again thank you for your thoughts, but I think it's a matter of good fortune and dumb luck -- things just float up that seem to fit together (I hope).

As ever, thanks for visiting.