Saturday, November 22, 2008

Working on my Bronte essay today. It goes slowly.

The wind is cold; the sky is grey; the fire spits and groans in the stove. One of my sons has spent all morning trying to electrify a ukelele. The other is wiggling a loose tooth and singing, "This old man, he played one . . . " over and over. That's just the kind of day this is.

I should be vacuuming. But I'm working on my essay and thinking about poor Charlotte, who wasn't always "poor Charlotte." That's more or less what the essay's about: self-mythology . . . a problem my husband declares that I also have. Maybe I caught it from her.

Lines for a drear Saturday in November:


Henry Vaughan (1621?-1695)

My soul, there is a country
     Far beyond the stars,
Where stands a winged sentry
    All skillful in the wars;
There, above noise and danger,
     Sweet peace sits crowned with smiles,
And one born in a manger
     Commands the beauteous files.
He is thy gracious friend
     And (O my soul, awake!)
Did in pure love descend
     To die here for thy sake.
If thou canst get but thither,
     There grows the flower of peace,
The rose that cannot wither,
     Thy fortress, and thy ease,
 Leave then thy foolish ranges;
     For none can thee secure,
But one that never changes,
     Thy God, thy life, thy cure.

Even though it's overheavy on the sentimental Christianity, I like this poem, but line 5 seems to be missing syllables. Every time I say it aloud, the rhythm feels wrong. However, the first 4 lines are so excessively beautiful that sometimes they wake me up in the night.

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