A Summer Commentary
By Yvor Winters
When I was young, with sharper sense,
The farthest insect cry I heard
Could stay me; through the trees, intense,
I watched the hunter and the bird.
Where is the meaning that I found?
Or was it but a state of mind,
Some old penumbra of the ground,
In which to be but not to find?
Now summer grasses, brown with heat,
Have crowded sweetness through the air;
The very roadside dust is sweet;
Even the unshadowed earth is fair.
The soft voice of the nesting dove,
And the dove in soft erratic flight
Like a rapid hand within a glove,
Caress the silence and the light.
Amid the rubble, the fallen fruit,
Fermenting in its rich decay,
Smears brandy on the trampling boot
And sends it sweeter on its way.
"[This] poem is a compact spiritual autobiography, calling up a life where sharp sensory attention was countered and questioned by another, analytic kind of attention," writes Robert Pinsky in Poet's Choice in The Washington Post Book World. Winters was a teacher of both Pinsky and Thom Gunn, who edited the selected poems of Winters for the Library of America. "Known in his lifetime as a fierce, judgmental critic...his essays on Wallace Stevens as a hedonist, Robert Frost as a 'spiritual drifter' and Hart Crane as a saint of the wrong religion offended many at the time and remain worth reading," Pinsky notes. "Winters hailed Stevens and William Carlos Williams as great poets long before they were familiar names in academic writing or in journalism. But it may be for his own graceful, sweet poems that he is best remembered...about his own work, Winters once wrote in a poem, 'What I did was small but good.'"
Home! Safe, which is what is important, and exhausted, which is inevitable when one gets four hours' sleep in what must be the Ramada most geographically distant within the state of Colorado from the airport in Denver, but when United is picking up the tab there's not much that can be done about that. We had to get up at 4 a.m. and on a shuttle bus by 4:30 to be certain of getting on the 7 a.m. flight that United added to make up for the cancelled one last night...only to have to delay it because the crew hadn't gotten the requisite number of hours of sleep before flying again, and they were a flight attendant short, having to recruit one who had been up all night on a flight from Anchorage to Denver.
The bright side of this was getting to see the sun rise over Denver (not over the mountains, unfortunately -- the sun sets in that direction -- but the pink sky reflects on the glaciers), and getting to see most of the public art in the Denver airport, which conveniently was written up in this morning's Rocky Mountain News which we read while eating breakfast and waiting to hear when we might finally take off. So I am completely knackered and have a ton of unpacking to do but all's well that ends well (and gigantic hugs and kisses to perkypaduan for cat-sitting above and beyond the call!) My mother kindly offered to make dinner for us so we didn't have to deal with it, and we have checked in with my in-laws who also had long delays at O'Hare yesterday due to weather. There are rumors that United's staff has been "sleeping in" as a prelude to a possible strike over pensions and that the airline is making false excuses rather than admitting that they are having labor disputes, but I've heard enough stories about delays and disasters not to believe a conspiracy is necessary.
The tiny Denver skyline is dwarfed at sunrise by the Rockies (fuzzy view through haze from airport viewing area, sorry). I could never tire of this view no matter the circumstances under which I got to see it.
And apaulled gave me a Time-Turner as an anniversary present, so I can get back the day we lost, anyway. *g* He wanted to get home in time to see Pink Floyd, which we did, though I am not sure whether it was live or taped earlier as I was thoroughly confused by VH1's coverage. Were they using sound feed from the crowd rather than the board deliberately so that people couldn't make bootleg CDs of the music, or did we just have lousy sound on our cable? Ah well, I am always happy to see Daltrey and Townsend together, I am always happy to see Sir Paul, I am always happy to see Sting and Madonna and U2 and Annie Lennox and there were many delightful moments even though I kept having the niggling feeling that this was more about publicity for certain celebrities than publicity for ending poverty in Africa. But that might be partly because I am too tired to see straight and am planning to sleep till, oh, one p.m. or so tomorrow before embarking on half a dozen laundries.