Today is the feast day of St. Benedict-- the holy hermit, who became the founder of Western Monasticism, the man who saved civilisation by running away from it. I ought, in very truth, to be doing a post on himself, especially as I am intrinsically in sympathy with such an approach towards a decadent era. However, I have put it off too long, and cannot write a post worthy of such a saint at this late date. Instead, I draw your attention to the fact that it is World Poetry Day.
Generally speaking, a holiday established by UNESCO would not normally top my list of things to celebrate, however, if you indulge me in a quote from their website, as to why they promote such a thing:
"The observance of World Poetry Day is also meant to encourage a return to the oral tradition of poetry recitals, to promote the teaching of poetry, to restore a dialogue between poetry and the other arts such as theatre, dance, music and painting, and to support small publishers and create an attractive image of poetry in the media, so that the art of poetry will no longer be considered an outdated form of art, but one which enables society as a whole to regain and assert its identity."
That is all very much to the good, and I cannot help but applaud and advocate such an approach to poetry, and publishing. And so, purely in the interest of treating poetry as a not outdated art form, I present the most recent of my efforts:
No storms won through the Door of Storms.
Long we had languished for want of snow,
For want of rain, for touch of wet:
The wetless winter had run too warm.
Too warm the all too golden the sun
On foothills, withered, blanched of green,
And snowless mountains, dried to stone,
while whiteless winter days ran on.
And we whispered, in dread, of drought.
Thirsted for winter, for bright of frost,
For fall of dew, and blessed wet,
While fronts of weather faded out.
We prayed, though foolish hope ran low
Until, in pity for our thirst,
And snowless mountains and withered hills,
God moved His hand, and sent us snow.
I am strongly of the opinion that poems should stand on their own two feet, nor require explanation. However, given that the majority of the country-- and, indeed, a good deal of the Western Hemisphere-- has suffered a long and bitter winter season, this praise of late snow might seem odd. However, here on the West Coast, and most particularly in California, there was mostly no winter to speak of. The weather was appallingly warm. Storm after storm hit the ridge off the coast, and shot north or south, leaving us high and dry. We had suffered through five years of severe drought, thankfully ended by a good, wet winter last year, so the extended perioud of warm, dry weather reawakened the fear of its return.
And then, March came. And so, at long last, did rain and snow. We have had several large storms, and a surprising amount of snow for so late in the year. It might not quite be a miracle March, but it is close enough that people are trotting the phrase out. I flatly refuse to call the poem Miracle March, but I was hoping to get a sense of reprieve that.