Friday, March 30, 2012

I've been revising a poem, and I'm gloomy. My gloom has nothing to do with whether or not the poem is going well. It's just a side effect of working on a poem, like stomach aches go along with stage performances. But even though I'm accustomed to this equation, I can never quite get over the feeling that I ought to be happy to be writing instead of slightly sick.

Anyway, later I will take time away from my gloom and make a raspberry cake. And maybe the sun will shine and the temperature will rise above freezing and the snow will melt away from my sad little crocuses. (Recently Paul spelled that word as "croakuses," which has led me to imagine some sort of combination of spring flowers and spring peepers. I haven't yet figured out what they would look like, but I think they would be loud.)

And now I think I will copy out some John Milton for you . . . because I am considering how my light is spent, and remembering that they also serve who only stand and wait and that God doth not need either man's works or His own gifts, and imagining how Milton suffered over that one talent which is death to hide, lodged with him useless. This is a poem to break a poet's heart.

John Milton 
When I consider how my light is pent,
Ere half my days, in this dark world and wide,
And that one talent which is death to hide,
Lodged with me useless, though my soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, lest He returning chide:
Doth God exact day-labour, light denied,
I fondly ask; but patience to prevent
That murmur, soon replies, God doth not need
Either man's works or His own gifts; who best
Bear His mild yoke, the serve Him best; His state
Is kingly; thousands at His bidding speed
And post o'er land and ocean without rest:
They also serve who only stand and wait.

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