A Winter Poem

Wood Thrush

I have always thought that Thomas Hardy was vastly underrated as a poet. Try this poem on for size and imagine that the time is the end of the day at the end of the year and (even) the end of the century:

The Darkling Thrush
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.



Freezing for the Roses

Camping Out Overnight for the Rose Parade

Camping Out Overnight for the Rose Parade

The temperature overnight in Pasadena is expected to dip down to 46° Fahrenheit (that’s 8° Celsius). When Martine and I were there about an hour ago, it was already near that level. Additionally, there is now a 50% chance of rain before morning.

And what is tomorrow morning? Why, it’s the Tournament of Roses parade, which is how Southern California proselytizes Easterners that we don’t have to shovel ice and snow off our sidewalks, and that it (almost) never rains in L.A.

Colorado Boulevard was so crowded with people camping in the streets in order to get a front seat for the parade that Bill, Kathy, Martine and I had to find a different restaurant: The local Persian restaurant, Heidar Baba, was a total mob scene—both from the point of view of parking and prone bodies to step over. Fortunately we found a place a scant two blocks from the parade route that was almost empty.

I never understood why so many people were interested in the Tournament of Roses Parade. And as for camping in the streets along with all the gang members and drug deals, that was never an option for me and never will be. If I wanted to see the parade (which I don’t), TV is good enough, even with the corny announcers oohing and aahing over the 30 million Himalayan Stinkflowers lining the North Korean Friendship Float.

My guess is that many of the campers are Penn State fans in town for the Rose Bowl confrontation with USC. Many will return to their frozen hells convinced that Southern California is the place to be—not to mention the millions viewing it on television from the Keystone State and adjacent polar regions. We don’t really need or want another influx of people escaping the snows of winter only to find that neither housing nor jobs are easy to find here. Oh, well, so it goes.