Friday, 11 November 2016


Boat ribs at low tide, Brodick, Isle of Arran (c) JRen 2016
I came across this poem as I skimmed a new book - a collection of readings for Advent, which includes the last week of November all the way through to January 8th - it is an eclectic mix, of poetry and prose, philosophy and musings, and I am looking forward to spending daily time with it at the end of this month.
I offer this poem now in the light of today - Armistice Day, Sunday - Remembrance Sunday - and the way the world is this week - stunned, afraid, anxious, rebellious, resigned... many, many feelings, all entwined. 

Sylvia Plath - Black Rook 
in Rainy Weather 

On the stiff twig up there 
Hunches a wet black rook
Arranging and rearranging its feathers in the rain.
I do not expect a miracle
Or an accident

To set the sight on fire
In my eye, nor seek
Any more in the desultory weather some design,
But let spotted leaves fall as they fall, 
Without ceremony, or portent.

Although, I admit, I desire, 
Occasionally, some backtalk
From the mute sky, I can't honestly complain: 
A certain minor light may still 
Lean incandescent

Out of kitchen table or chair
As if a celestial burning took
Possession of the most obtuse objects now and then - 
Thus hallowing an interval
Otherwise inconsequent 

By bestowing largesse, honour,
One might say love. At any rate,
I now walk
Wary (for it could happen
Even in this dull, ruinous landscape); skeptical, 
Yet politic; ignorant
Of whatever Angel may choose to flare
Suddenly at my elbow. I only know that a rook
Ordering its black feathers can so shine
As to seize my senses, haul
My eyelids up, and grant

A brief respite from fear
Of total neutrality. With luck,
Trekking stubborn through this season 
Of fatigue, I shall
Patch together a content

Of sorts. Miracles occur,
If you dare to call those spasmodic 
Tricks of radiance miracles. The wait's begun again,
The long wait for the Angel,
For that rare, random descent. 

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