Tuesday, March 09, 2010

`That Docile Edict of the Spring'

Through the classroom windows we watched snow fall on the flowering cherry trees and red-budded maples down the hill. Brilliant sunshine added to the March dissonance. One kid wanted to build a snowman and a teacher called the phenomenon “snizzle” = “snow” + “drizzle.”

She was inspired to bring out a jar of something I had never seen before – Super Snow. It starts out like sugar but when you add water it looks remarkably like semi-melted snow and feels like nano-sized caviar. The stuff is manufactured by DuneCraft, a company in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, a suburb on the east side of my hometown, Cleveland, and once home to Hart Crane. He lived there briefly with his father in 1929 while working on the “Quaker Hill” section of The Bridge. The opening stanza of that fourth section of the poem feels like part of Monday’s happy convergence of events:

“Perspective never withers from their eyes;
They keep that docile edict of the Spring
That blends March with August Antarctic skies:
These are but cows that see no other thing
Than grass and snow, and their own inner being
Through the rich halo that they do not trouble
Even to cast upon the seasons fleeting
Though they should thin and die on last year’s stubble.”

Late in that section, Crane refers to “Emily" and “Isadora” – Emily Dickinson and Isadora Duncan, who provide the epigraphs for “Quaker Hill.” The Dickinson lines are the first two from this poem, which also feels fitting for a day when nature behaves contrary to expectations:

“The Gentian weaves her fringes—
The Maple's loom is red—
My departing blossoms
Obviate parade.

“A brief, but patient illness—
An hour to prepare,
And one below this morning
Is where the angels are—
It was a short procession,
The Bobolink was there—
An aged Bee addressed us—
And then we knelt in prayer—
We trust that she was willing—
We ask that we may be.
Let us go with thee!

“In the name of the Bee—
And of the Butterfly—
And of the Breeze—

1 comment:

Brit said...

Oh dear, "snizzle". I will have to further complicate the Expanded Venn Diagram of British winter weather.