The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review
littlereview

Poem for Tuesday


The Marshes of Glynn
By Sidney Lanier


Glooms of the live-oaks, beautiful-braided and woven
With intricate shades of the vines that myriad-cloven
  Clamber the forks of the multiform boughs,--
                     Emerald twilights,--
                     Virginal shy lights,
Wrought of the leaves to allure to the whisper of vows,
When lovers pace timidly down through the green colonnades
Of the dim sweet woods, of the dear dark woods,
  Of the heavenly woods and glades,
That run to the radiant marginal sand-beach within
        The wide sea-marshes of Glynn;--
Beautiful glooms, soft dusks in the noon-day fire,--
Wildwood privacies, closets of lone desire,
Chamber from chamber parted with wavering arras of leaves,--
Cells for the passionate pleasure of prayer to the soul that grieves,
Pure with a sense of the passing of saints through the wood,
Cool for the dutiful weighing of ill with good;--
O braided dusks of the oak and woven shades of the vine,
While the riotous noon-day sun of the June-day long did shine
Ye held me fast in your heart and I held you fast in mine;
But now when the noon is no more, and riot is rest,
And the sun is a-wait at the ponderous gate of the West,
And the slant yellow beam down the wood-aisle doth seem
Like a lane into heaven that leads from a dream,--
Ay, now, when my soul all day hath drunken the soul of the oak,
And my heart is at ease from men, and the wearisome sound of the stroke
  Of the scythe of time and the trowel of trade is low,
  And belief overmasters doubt, and I know that I know,
  And my spirit is grown to a lordly great compass within,
That the length and the breadth and the sweep of the marshes of Glynn
Will work me no fear like the fear they have wrought me of yore
When length was fatigue, and when breadth was but bitterness sore,
And when terror and shrinking and dreary unnamable pain
Drew over me out of the merciless miles of the plain,--
Oh, now, unafraid, I am fain to face
  The vast sweet visage of space.
To the edge of the wood I am drawn, I am drawn,
Where the gray beach glimmering runs, as a belt of the dawn,
  For a mete and a mark
    To the forest-dark:--
                     So:
Affable live-oak, leaning low,--
Thus--with your favor--soft, with a reverent hand,
(Not lightly touching your person, Lord of the land!)
Bending your beauty aside, with a step I stand
On the firm-packed sand,
                     Free
By a world of marsh that borders a world of sea.
  Sinuous southward and sinuous northward the shimmering band
  Of the sand-beach fastens the fringe of the marsh to the folds of the land.
Inward and outward to northward and southward the beach-lines linger and curl
As a silver-wrought garment that clings to and follows
    the firm sweet limbs of a girl.
Vanishing, swerving, evermore curving again into sight,
Softly the sand-beach wavers away to a dim gray looping of light.
And what if behind me to westward the wall of the woods stands high?
The world lies east: how ample, the marsh and the sea and the sky!
A league and a league of marsh-grass, waist-high, broad in the blade,
Green, and all of a height, and unflecked with a light or a shade,
Stretch leisurely off, in a pleasant plain,
To the terminal blue of the main.
Oh, what is abroad in the marsh and the terminal sea?
  Somehow my soul seems suddenly free
From the weighing of fate and the sad discussion of sin,
By the length and the breadth and the sweep of the marshes of Glynn.
Ye marshes, how candid and simple and nothing-withholding and free
Ye publish yourselves to the sky and offer yourselves to the sea!
Tolerant plains, that suffer the sea and the rains and the sun,
Ye spread and span like the catholic man who hath mightily won
God out of knowledge and good out of infinite pain
And sight out of blindness and purity out of a stain.
As the marsh-hen secretly builds on the watery sod,
Behold I will build me a nest on the greatness of God:
I will fly in the greatness of God as the marsh-hen flies
In the freedom that fills all the space 'twixt the marsh and the skies:
By so many roots as the marsh-grass sends in the sod
I will heartily lay me a-hold on the greatness of God:
Oh, like to the greatness of God is the greatness within
The range of the marshes, the liberal marshes of Glynn.
And the sea lends large, as the marsh: lo, out of his plenty the sea
Pours fast: full soon the time of the flood-tide must be:
Look how the grace of the sea doth go
About and about through the intricate channels that flow
        Here and there,
                     Everywhere,
Till his waters have flooded the uttermost creeks and the low-lying lanes,
And the marsh is meshed with a million veins,
That like as with rosy and silvery essences flow
  In the rose-and-silver evening glow.
                     Farewell, my lord Sun!
The creeks overflow: a thousand rivulets run
'Twixt the roots of the sod; the blades of the marsh-grass stir;
Passeth a hurrying sound of wings that westward whirr;
Passeth, and all is still; and the currents cease to run;
And the sea and the marsh are one.
How still the plains of the waters be!
The tide is in his ecstasy.
The tide is at his highest height:
                     And it is night.
And now from the Vast of the Lord will the waters of sleep
Roll in on the souls of men,
But who will reveal to our waking ken
The forms that swim and the shapes that creep
                     Under the waters of sleep?
And I would I could know what swimmeth below when the tide comes in
On the length and the breadth of the marvellous marshes of Glynn.

--------

This morning there was snow on the ground! Just look at the piles we had on the deck as the sun was rising through the trees:



Okay, obviously it was not enough to sled in and not even enough to make a decent snowball with but it was snow and I get to gloat about it. It was much too chilly for Fort McHenry again, so that got put off until a different weekend entirely and instead we took the kids to see The Incredibles. It was as funny as I had heard, and a great movie to see with my kids, though my husband and I were whispering predictions about things to one another all through the movie and were right on all of them, particularly the two biggest factors in the villain's comeuppance. Pixar's animation is amazing; I am often somewhat bored visually during animated films, even very celebrated ones; either there's not quite enough going on to keep me focused visually, like Sponge Bob, or there's so much going on that I get a headache as has happened with several Asian-made films.

I had some niggling issues -- well, okay, some genuine irks -- with the characterizations of women, particularly wives, in the film. But I've gotten good at lowering my feminist annoyance to low simmer while watching most popular entertainment, unless it's something that really rubs me the wrong way like pretty much every character Billy Crystal has ever played. I have been thinking a lot, though, in the past few days, about how much I absolutely loved Kathryn Janeway when Voyager premiered, and what a monumental disappointment she and the other women on the show proved to be in the end, and how much I miss Deep Space Nine and Xena and La Femme Nikita, and wish Space: Above and Beyond had lasted longer, and wish Alias or Joan of Arcadia had done anything for me while I watched them. Much as I love C.J., The West Wing is still very male-heavy, and I really could not stand the new BSG and I forgot to watch Medium. Would most people here recommend Veronica Mars? Can I start in the middle?

And may I just mention how much I do not want to see Sideways, no matter how many awards it wins? I know I was dubious about Hotel Rwanda a few days ago, but even if that film turns out to be the most preachy, ham-handed portrayal of the situation in Africa (I still haven't seen it so I don't know), I'd rather see it winning all the awards than yet another male mid-life crisis story, no matter how good the acting is. I'm trying to decide whether I can sit through two boxing movies in a single year just to see Hilary Swank, since I don't care about Eastwood and I know I'm going to see Cinderella Man when it opens. My kids want to see Phantom again and maybe Coach Carter, I still haven't seen House of Flying Daggers or Closer, my parents insist that I should see Meet the Fockers (apparently this is a Jewish rite of passage)...Sideways is definitely on the DVD-if-ever list. Not wanking anyone who saw it and loved it, just saying it is so very much not my thing and I won't change my mind even if someone tells me the two guys are slashy as all get-out.

Speaking of slashy, today I created backups of both perfect_duet and slither_in at GreatestJournal, Perfect Duet and Slither In. If there is ever another catastrophic LiveJournal failure, this way anyone over there will be able to find Aubrey/Maturin and Lucius/Severus fans. Please feel free to join and feel free to crosspost there!

Tonight we watched the History Channel special on the French Revolution. It's fairly simplistic for anyone who's done much reading about the period, but it's a very well-produced documentary with dramatic enactments of some of the big events: the destruction of the Bastille, Louis XVI's beheading, Marat's killing, Robespierre's increasingly fanatical speeches. Versailles looks wonderful; so does Charlotte Corday, right out of a painting. There are a number of historians narrating while artwork and historical illustrations are presented, and the by-now-expected defense of too young, too uneducated Marie Antoinette who never said those terrible things attributed to her. If you're looking for a brief overview with numerous shots of rampaging mobs and bloody guillotine blades, this is well worth the two hours to watch; it's on again Tuesday at 1 a.m. and Saturday at 8 p.m.

I'm behind again -- again! -- but I got three articles written and Abe's of Maine has promised to send me a new battery charger, so I am counting Monday as reasonably successful. Oh, and GIP, because some Snape-Phantom crossover was just begging to happen, particularly since my older son has wanted to listen to the Broadway cast album repeatedly since seeing the movie.
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