Monday, January 21, 2013

Winter's Song

     Somehow winter seems not to have gotten the message. Its arrival here in Middle Tennessee is long overdue. Despite the gloom that winter sometimes casts across my soul, I love and appreciate the singularity of its beauty, for it is the very starkness that sleeps in the heart of winter that sets my imagination free to roam and wander at will.
    Moreover, I am always amazed by the articulated expectancy I find in winter; truly it seems as though the Earth is pregnant with a longing so deep that it nearly transcends words. It is a song of snow and ice and the fire that burns within. Longfellow says it well.

       Woods in Winter by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
When winter winds are piercing chill,
And through the hawthorn blows the gale,
With solemn feet I tread the hill,
That overbrows the lonely vale.

O'er the bare upland, and away

Through the long reach of desert woods,
The embracing sunbeams chastely play,
And gladden these deep solitudes.

Where, twisted round the barren oak,

The summer vine in beauty clung,
And summer winds the stillness broke,
The crystal icicle is hung.


       Where, from their frozen urns, mute springs

                     Pour out the river's gradual tide,
                        Shrilly the skater's iron rings,
                      And voices fill the woodland side.

             Alas! how changed from the fair scene,

                When birds sang out their mellow lay,
                     And winds were soft, and woods were green,
                And the song ceased not with the day!

         But still wild music is abroad,

          Pale, desert woods! within your crowd;

              And gathering winds, in hoarse accord,
          Amid the vocal reeds pipe loud.

            Chill airs and wintry winds! my ear

         Has grown familiar with your song;
    I hear it in the opening year,
       I listen, and it cheers me long.

Both images were taken by a former student of mine, Josh B. Carter.

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