Tag Archives: poem

..”the centre cannot hold”…..with apologies to W.B. Yeats

The towering American Agave that I have been watching as I drive past it as I leave and return to my home has altered quite suddenly.
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I first noticed the change at its base over the weekend when the weather was too wet to stop and take a photograph.
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The phrase from Yeats’s poem “The Second Coming” was instantly in my mind “the centre cannot hold”…..but from when I wonder? I wrestled with analysing this poem perhaps in High School or perhaps University but despite my poor memory about timing, the phrase was instantly there and it seemed so fitting to describe what I could see.

Its lengthy flower head has withstood a myriad of howling north westerly winds in this changeable and frustrating summer we are experiencing. Despite the force of the winds the flower head continues to move from yellow toning flowers high above to now more finger-like growths which I presume are the seed pods.
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But today I have taken these photographs to show how “the centre cannot hold” for much longer. The once tough, rubbery, wide, strong leaves have softened and droop noticeably now.
Up close there is more evidence of its succulent heritage and there are places where the gelatinous contents within the leaves are becoming obvious.
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The wind today was a brisk and chilly southerly so the Agave had more shelter but to muddle Yeats’s work further “things fall apart” and I think that has begun as nature takes its course.

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The Darkling Thrush by Thomas Hardy

Further to my post yesterday about our resident Thrush, came a comment from Jo in Scotland, that my post, our winter and recent earthquakes had put her in mind of this poem…..I agree with Jo so here it is for you all to enjoy.

As a side note Jo keeps two blogs on the boil one here “Jo’s Journal” and the other here “The Hazel Tree”, both are stunning and so well written and interesting.

And the Thrush has been in full voice again here from first light. He is “off for lunch” at the moment, thanks to the noise of a local lawn mowing chap.

The Darkling Thrush
By Thomas Hardy

I leant upon a coppice gate
When Frost was spectre-grey,
And Winter’s dregs made desolate
The weakening eye of day.
The tangled bine-stems scored the sky
Like strings of broken lyres,
And all mankind that haunted nigh
Had sought their household fires.

The land’s sharp features seemed to be
The Century’s corpse outleant,
His crypt the cloudy canopy,
The wind his death-lament.
The ancient pulse of germ and birth
Was shrunken hard and dry,
And every spirit upon earth
Seemed fervourless as I.

At once a voice arose among
The bleak twigs overhead
In a full-hearted evensong
Of joy illimited;
An aged thrush, frail, gaunt, and small,
In blast-beruffled plume,
Had chosen thus to fling his soul
Upon the growing gloom.

So little cause for carolings
Of such ecstatic sound
Was written on terrestrial things
Afar or nigh around,
That I could think there trembled through
His happy good-night air
Some blessed Hope, whereof he knew
And I was unaware.

“Nature’s first green is gold……

I have had a poem on my mind for days now. Despite the very, very wintry weather we have been experiencing here since last Sunday night, there are signs everywhere that spring is not far away.
I have noticed, in particular, that the willow tree branches are either turning golden or have a russet gold hue. My father quoted Robert Frost’s powerful poem on this phenomenon around this time of the year, just a few weeks before his death in September 1989.

“Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf,
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day,
Nothing gold can stay.” Robert Frost.

We read this poem at his memorial service.

But this year it speaks to me doubly as we watch one of our cats require increased supportive care from the vet and under go more tests as we try to determine the cause of his lack of appetite, high inflammation levels and spells of general malaise, despite our love and best efforts at home.

Spring with its vitality and message of new life can be harsh when events in that season tell of the opposite.