Sunday, December 20, 2015

Hippo Solstice

What are ya'll doing? I'm lolling about and then getting up and doing stuff like laundry and cleaning the stuff off the dining room table, then reading a bit of Flannery O'Connor's The Displaced Person (it's relevance to us and particular prescience) and then walking to OSH to buy those little carpety things that go under the dining table legs and then back to lolling and then to helping Sophie off the floor where she's lying seizing (yes, seizing, but I've done another WEAN of her gd medication, so we're in for it) and then debating whether pizza is in order for dinner -- again.

It's a long poem, but it's so beautiful. Read it silently and then read it aloud and let those words roll off your tongue.

A Dream of Solstice

Qual e' colui che somniando vede,
che dopo 'l sogno la passione impressa
rimane, e l'altro a la mente non riede,
cotal son io...

Dante, Paradiso, Canto XXXIII

'Like somebody who sees things when he's dreaming
And after the dream lives with the aftermath
Of what he felt, no other trace remaining,

So I live now', for what I saw departs
And is almost lost, although a distilled sweetness
Still drops from it into my inner heart.

It is the same with snow the sun releases,
The same as when in wind, the hurried leaves
Swirl round your ankles and the shaking hedges

That had flopped their catkin cuff-lace and green sleeves
Are sleet-whipped bare. Dawn light began stealing
Through the cold universe to County Meath,

Over weirs where the Boyne water, fulgent, darkling,
Turns its thick axle, over rick-sized stones
Millennia deep in their own unmoving

And unmoved alignment. And now the planet turns
Earth brow and templed earth, the crowd grows still
In the wired-off precinct of the burial mounds,

Flight 104 from New York audible
As it descends on schedule into Dublin,
Boyne Valley Centre Car Park already full,

Waiting for seedling light on roof and windscreen.
And as in illo tempore people marked
The king's gold dagger when it plunged it in

To the hilt in unsown ground, to start the work
Of the world again, to speed the plough
And plant the riddled grain, we watch through murk

And overboiling cloud for the milted glow
Of sunrise, for an eastern dazzle
To send first light like share-shine in a furrow

Steadily deeper, farther available,
Creeping along the floor of the passage grave
To backstone and capstone, holding its candle

Under the rock-piled roof and the loam above.

Seamus Heaney


  1. I don't understand the poem but it feels sad. I suck at poetry.

    My day included a full on attack in West Edmonton Mall by Miss Katie without the big guy around. He had gone ahead of us to warm up the car and have a smoke. So Katie attacked me and a nice lady asked if she could help and I yelled at her not to as I'm crying and yelling because Katie had me by the hair and was forcing me down to the ground. I pulled her hand hard enough to pull my hair out by the roots and then we got the hell out of there, embarrassed, crying and Katie screaming and slapping herself. It got better from there.

    I'm sorry Sophie is seizing again but at least you know why. Have a lovely Christmas Elizabeth.

  2. I suck at poetry as well. I used to write it like I breathed but then I began to read real poets and realized that what I wrote was merely image fragments, unable to sustain a thought.
    But you have taught me much and for that and so many other things, I appreciate and respect and adore you.
    What I do know is about motherhood and I know no other mother as fine as you.

  3. It's good I suppose that Sophie seizing is no longer the daily, hourly norm. Still, my mind is boggled by the wean and how hard, how long it is, the implications. As for the lolling, some days are meant for just that. Love.

  4. Thank you for Seamus Heaney. Today, just before I read your post, I received an email with a photo attached from one of my nieces. She showed me her new tattoo on her left shoulder, this one of the Celtic engravings inside the passage grave at Newgrange. The exact place Heaney refers to in his third last line.

  5. The wean and the place this poem takes me are both as beautiful and dark as can be. Thank you for keeping such good track of things. Blessings on your pizza. xoxoxoS

  6. It is so beautiful when read aloud - thanks for suggesting that!
    I am looking at the gray drizzle, happy that the days will lengthen after this one. Am also washing laundry, preparing to tidy up for Christmas Day entertaining, drinking milky choco-coffee and feeling the effects of yoga this AM. Am going to paint today­čÄĘ

  7. On a different note, here's a link to a "Conflict of Interest Bingo card"

  8. Beautiful poem. The arc of time it describes is amazing.
    We are having a lovely visit by my daughter son-in-law and grandson . Early Christmas before they fly back east to join the other side of the family. It's cold and rainy and windy but we are warm and cozy by the fire. Like you I take breaks to move the laundry in and out of the machines.

    Peace to you and yours

  9. if you ask my middle son, pizza is always in order - no agains :)



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