Wednesday, 20 November 2013

'It is hard to hear the north wind again...'

A grim November day, with a bitter wind. Time for Wallace Stevens -

The Region November

It is hard to hear the north wind again,
And to watch the treetops, as they sway.

They sway, deeply and loudly, in an effort,
So much less than feeling, so much less than speech,

Saying and saying, the way things say
On the level of that which is not yet knowledge:

A revelation not yet intended.
It is like a critic of God, the world

And human nature, pensively seated
On the waste throne of his own wilderness.

Deeplier, deeplier, loudlier, loudlier,
The trees are swaying, swaying, swaying.

Oddly, Philip Larkin, at the other end of the year, also sees the trees 'saying, saying', or almost saying...

The Trees

The trees are coming into leaf
Like something almost being said;
The recent buds relax and spread,
Their greenness is a kind of grief.

Is it that they are born again
And we grow old? No, they die too,
Their yearly trick of looking new
Is written down in rings of grain.

Yet still the unresting castles thresh
In fullgrown thickness every May.
Last year is dead, they seem to say,
Begin afresh, afresh, afresh.

Larkin's home town of Hull was today named as UK City of Culture for 2017. Somehow I doubt the poet (or his pen pal Kingsley) would have been very impressed.


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