Woke up on the first day of December to find a white world outside with more snow forecast today for the Downland. This seems a good moment for the December poem, and once again I have decided on a Thomas Hardy favourite. It might seem an odd choice at first, but not if you get to the end.
THE FIVE STUDENTS
by Thomas Hardy
The sparrow dips in his wheel-rut bath,
The sun grows passionate-eyed,
And boils the dew to smoke by the paddock-path;
As strenuously we stride, -
Five of us; dark He, fair He, dark She, fair She, I,
All beating by.
The air is shaken, the high-road hot,
Shadowless swoons the day,
The greens are sobered and cattle at rest; but not
We on our urgent way, -
Four of us; fair She, dark She, fair He, I, are there,
Autumn moulds the hard fruit mellow,
And forward still we press
Through moors, briar-meshed plantations, clay-pits yellow,
As in the spring hours--yes,
Three of us: fair He, fair She, I, as heretofore,
But--fallen one more.
The leaf drops: earthworms draw it in
At night-time noiselessly,
The fingers of birch and beech are skeleton-thin,
And yet on the beat are we, -
Two of us; fair She, I. But no more left to go
The track we know.
Icicles tag the church-aisle leads,
The flag-rope gibbers hoarse,
The home-bound foot-folk wrap their snow-flaked heads,
Yet I still stalk the course, -
One of us . . . Dark and fair He, dark and fair She, gone:
Once you get into your sixties, its hard not to see the metaphor in the seasons - or do I mean 'of the seasons'?
But then I have to remember how quickly time goes and that soon it will be Spring again. And that likewise, the time will come for the resurrection, when those who are sleeping in death will wake up again. Their Creator, the God of Abraham, will call them from the dust and re-create, or resurrect, them.
My parents loved the beauty of the world - they used to let every vestige of the winter sunset leave the sky before they would draw the bungalow curtains - and I hope very much they will wake up to see it all again.
Perhaps they will wake up in the middle of a beautiful Autumn in the Paradise earth?
In the meantime I need to use my time as best I can, and enjoy the beauty of whatever season I am in. I won't be able to go out today, but I still have some questions about Isaiah and Revelation that I can answer via email. Thank you, Anne from The Cape!
And I have my studies - and more housework than you can shake a duster at.