Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Fourth-Down Punt

...Finchè mia Alba rivien colma di rose.
...Until my Dawn returns, brimming with roses.

John Milton, "Sonnet V," l. 14.

I have twenty-one drafts at various stages of not-even-close-to-ready so I'm punting: I'm posting stuff I wrote long ago for other reasons. There is, of course, no real rush to publish. I have no contractual or ethical obligations to post and according to the site meter I am mostly pontificating in the dark anyway. My compulsion is that I told myself I would post once or twice per week. I'll be out of town for the next four days, so... here I am, a week removed from my previous post, casting about for stuff.

If I were to take the "web log" idea at face value, I would be telling tales about my life and giving my take on public and private affairs. At the moment these topics are, respectively, too close and too far away; or maybe it's the other way around. I teach at a high school for "challenged" youth; it is the week before state-wide standardized testing (which, incidentally, I support); I and my students are exhausted and raw and all just wish it were over. Sophomores in particular are a species of which I have never been fond; after these past two weeks I think I might move to a full-blown antipathy. Actually, now that I write it, I realize that I am lying: there is no other word but "love" for how I feel for my students--but the fur got burned off the warm fuzzies long, long ago.

Well, so much for coherent structure or organization (or for not writing anything new). Having sort of talked about introducing "the punt" I can't figure out how to transition to it, other than saying, Down. Set. I give you old poems about dawn. (I draw particular attention to the ingenious and evocative titles). Hut!

Dawn 1
In pre-dawn night-dusk
the sky glimmers in glowing gray
pregnant with light, and ripening
while the world is blue, and chilled.
softly, softly, softly flees the night
vanquished titan, conquered king
of the morphian realm
singed, seared, scorched, swallowed
leaving only shadows
of the once almighty Dark.

Dawn 2
silent swinging ax
splits wide the bulging womb.
Exultant light, like dolphins
bursts into the sky heedless
of pale, birth-weary dark
hard breathing on the windows
weeping on the grass
softly slipping away.

In l. 3 (as a footnote to a pod of dolphins’ joyous jumping) the dolphin is associated with Apollo; also, from Antony and Cleopatra (V.ii.88-90): His delights • were dolphin-like, they showed his back above • The element they lived in...—our experience with light is of necessity limited by perspective and venue; we have not yet seen it “play for the home crowd”; for now it only hints at the glory beyond. As CS Lewis points out about modern versus medieval eyes (I think all mortal eyes are, to an extent, in this sense, modern):

Whatever else a modern feels when he looks at the night sky, he certainly feels that he is looking out—like one looking out from the saloon entrance on to the dark Atlantic or from the lighted porch upon dark and lonely moors. But if you accepted the Medieval Model, you would feel like one looking in. The Earth is ‘outside the city wall.’ When the sun is up he dazzles us and we cannot see inside. Darkness, our own darkness, draws the veil and we catch a glimpse of the high pomps within; the vast, lighted concavity filled with music and life. And, looking in, we do not see like Meredith's Lucifer 'the army of unalterable law,' but rather the revelry of insatiable love. (CS Lewis, The Discarded Image. p. 118-119.)

2 Comments:

At April 13, 2006 9:57 AM, Blogger C Jones said...

Hmmm I thought blogging was all about putting your drafts out there in all their half-baked glory! But that's probably just me:->

 
At March 16, 2007 8:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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