Jan 24, 2015

Virtual Poetry Circle: TERMINUS by Ralph Waldo Emerson

Join Savvy Verse and Wit's Virtual Poetry Circle, every Saturday. Look at a line, a stanza, sentences, and images; describe what you like or don’t like; and offer an opinion. 

Here's my choice this week -

It is time to be old,
To take in sail:—
The god of bounds,
Who sets to seas a shore,
Came to me in his fatal rounds,
And said: “No more!
No farther shoot
Thy broad ambitious branches, and thy root.
Fancy departs: no more invent;
Contract thy firmament
To compass of a tent.
There’s not enough for this and that,
Make thy option which of two;
Economize the failing river,
Not the less revere the Giver,
Leave the many and hold the few.
Timely wise accept the terms,
Soften the fall with wary foot;
A little while
Still plan and smile,
And,—fault of novel germs,—
Mature the unfallen fruit.
Curse, if thou wilt, thy sires,
Bad husbands of their fires,
Who, when they gave thee breath,
Failed to bequeath
The needful sinew stark as once,
The Baresark marrow to thy bones,
But left a legacy of ebbing veins,
Inconstant heat and nerveless reins,—
Amid the Muses, left thee deaf and dumb,
Amid the gladiators, halt and numb.”

 As the bird trims her to the gale,
I trim myself to the storm of time,
I man the rudder, reef the sail,
Obey the voice at eve obeyed at prime:
“Lowly faithful, banish fear,
Right onward drive unharmed;
The port, well worth the cruise, is near,
And every wave is charmed.”

This poem, which I found today, expresses how I felt on walking out of my place of employment after umpteen years, announcing my retirement and the death of my mother, on the same day.

How well said, for all those who wondered Why? Why would you do that? The first six lines expressed my sentiments. It was time to go and "mature the unfallen fruit."


Brian Joseph said...

This is great idea for a weekly post.

i had never read this poem before. It is very powerful. Poetry seems to have a way of touching me personally in a way that prose rarely does.

Harvee said...

I am always amazed, Brian, at the power and persuasiveness of poetry and other people's thoughts expressed succinctly, amazed sometimes how we all share the same experiences.

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