Arabella

I distracted my father yesterday by taking him to find the people building a boat in Granby. It inspired some writing, that may or may not be poetry:

In the arch of the shed built for her
 ribs reach up, inverting and echoing the arch of the roof, 
built truth of the suggestions on paper
 each one a balance of ideal line 
 and the reality of the materials at hand
 balanced on her keel, propped by trees 
from the woodlot behind the house, 
 and more of these trees, neighborhoods felled for this 
 form the bellied center, the eager bow, the solid and comfortable stern

  planked only part way yet, the final outline is visible
 even to an untutored eye
 In answer to his questions, the man replies
 "38 feet, two masts, ketch, gaff rig"
 to my father who cannot remember if he asked, 
 or what the answer was

 From this I can sketch in the rest of this boat, 
 imagine her at sea, sails tall against the sky, 
 masthead pennant streaming
 and in one short leap I can helm her, 

 I stand there in my minds eye, confident, relaxed, delighted
 and feel some ease I had not before
 "38 feet, two masts, ketch, gaff rig" he says again, 
 a look askance at me, is this right? his eyebrows ask
 I nod, and answer in turn
 "38 feet, two masts, ketch, gaff rig"
 leaving him to return to work, to make this skeletal dream
 a floating surging reality

You can see their progress at Acorn to Arabella – they describe each step, and put out regular videos showing progress, and things they’ve learned. The person I spoke with was exquisitely kind, even though I was distracting him in the middle of something, and he was patient with my Da’s repeated questions. We admired the progress and slipped away again into the blustery day to find some lunch, but it made a huge impression on me.

Epiphany and cold

Yesterday was Epiphany, or the Three Kings Day, but I like to say epiphany (say it with me: eeeee-PIFfff-aneeeeee) and I love that it means sudden insight as well as the layers of religious meaning it has accreted.

I have had no epiphanies lately. I am working steadily on making this site smoother and more professional looking, but most of that work is under the hood so to speak, and not readily visible. So have some poetry instead:

The Journey of the Magi (1927)

T. S. Eliot

‘A cold coming we had of it,
Just the worst time of the year
For a journey, and such a long journey:’

…..

For the rest you’ll have to go over here, but it remains one of my favorites and I recommend it highly.

one fine thing about spring

april 10

One fine thing about spring is lying on my back under a tree. The practice can be cold and miserable until there is enough grass and sunshine to make the ground a pleasant place to be. And today it was warm enough, and dry enough, and sunny enough that lying on the ground was lovely. As were the pink dog wood blossoms.

One of my favorite poems is in Bob and Leonor's house, and I get to read it whenever I go to ride the horses there. I posted it here but today made me think particularly of the second stanza;

And yet here's dogwood: overshadowed, small,
But not inclined to droop and count its losses,
It cranes its way to sunlight after all,
And paints the air of May with Maltese crosses.


epiphany

six-epiphany

Journey of the Magi – T.S. Eliot

– T.S. Eliot

 

A cold coming we had of it,
Just the worst time of the year
For a journey, and such a long journey:
The ways deep and the weather sharp,
The very dead of winter.
And the camels galled, sore-footed, refractory,
Lying down in the melting snow.
There were times when we regretted
The summer palaces on slopes, the terraces,
And the silken girls bringing sherbet.
Then the camel men cursing and grumbling
And running away, and wanting their liquor and women,
And the night-fires going out, and the lack of shelters,
And the cities dirty and the towns unfriendly
And the villages dirty and charging high prices:
A hard time we had of it.
At the end we preferred to travel all night,
Sleeping in snatches,
With the voices singing in our ears, saying
That this was all folly.
Then at dawn we came down to a temperate valley,
Wet, below the snow line, smelling of vegetation;
With a running stream and a water mill beating the darkness,
And three trees on the low sky,
And an old white horse galloped away in the meadow.
Then we came to a tavern with vine-leaves over the lintel,
Six hands at an open door dicing for pieces of silver,
And feet kicking the empty wineskins.
But there was no information, and so we continued
And arrived at evening, not a moment too soon
Finding the place; it was (you may say) satisfactory.
All this was a long time ago, I remember,
And I would do it again, but set down
This set down
This: were we led all that way for
Birth or Death? There was a Birth, certainly,
We had evidence and no doubt. I had seen birth and death,
But had thought they were different; this Birth was
Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death.
We returned to our places, these Kingdoms,
But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation,
With an alien people clutching their gods.
I should be glad of another death.

I love the word epiphany, and the meaning of a moment of brilliant insight or understanding. So today, Twelfth Night, is special for me outside of the religious meanings it carries as well.