Monday, October 28, 2013

Monday morsel: the melancholy days

The other day on Facebook my friend Mary posted this stanza from William Cullen Bryant's poem"The Death of the Flowers."  Though it's sad, it's beautiful; so I thought I'd share it here.


The melancholy days are come, the saddest of the year,
Of wailing winds, and naked woods, and meadows brown and sere.
Heaped in the hollows of the grove, the withered leaves lie dead;
They rustle to the eddying gust, and to the rabbit's tread.
The robin and the wren are flown, and from the shrubs the jay,
And from the wood-top calls the crow, through all the gloomy day.


  1. I understand Bryant's view, but have to say that the scene he describes is one in which I find much beauty and peace. It's not that the death of leaves and absence of birds evokes feelings of peace and beauty in me, but that what is still there is still full and wondrous.

    1. That's true, Tim. I think I had a bit of the same feeling -- maybe because fall seems like a necessary and good stage in the cycle of life. This is how Parker Palmer discusses autumn in a chapter called "There is a Season" in his book Let Your Life Speak:

      " a culture that prefers the ease of either-or thinking to the complexities of paradox, we have a hard time holding opposites together. We want light without darkness, the glories of spring and summer without the demands of autumn and winter -- and the Faustian bargains we make fail to sustain our lives.

      When we so fear the dark that we demand light around the clock, there can be only one result: artificial light that is glaring and graceless and, beyond its borders, a darkness that grows ever more terrifying as we try to hold it off. Split off from each other, neither darkness nor light is fit for human habitation. But if we allow the paradox of darkness and light to be, the two will conspire to bring wholeness and health to every living thing."

    2. This is making me think of the feeling I get when there is a key change in a beautiful piece of music. It's a surprise! And it makes the whole experience feel more intense and gratifying. I especially love it when there is a change from a minor key to a major key. Sometimes that gives me chills.

    3. I know just what you mean, Adriana.


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