Poetry Wednesday – April 28, 2010

28 Apr

I give into melancholy pretty easily sometimes.  When things seem to slip beyond my control or fall out of line with my plans I start the internal, “Why does everything go wrong?” whining and it starts to affect my thinking, my behavior, and my relationships.  Our plans to transfer to seminary in the fall have changed and while we see many of the blessings the Lord is bestowing on us with this turn of events it is still incredibly disappointing.  We’re doing very well and I’ve been fighting that whine, but then yesterday, in the first week of my eight week hiatus from classes, I herniated a disc in my lower back.  Woe is me!  My mind went there and it’s been stuck, along with  my spine, since then.  This is one of my major faults.  Sometimes I can see it coming – that shift in thought and feeling – but  most of the time, it just sidles up beside me like it’s been there all along.

Philip Larkin’s poem reminds me this feeling.  Be it failure, melancholy, depression, anger, worry, or any other negative trait or feeling, the presence of these things seem to ingratiate themselves into our lives.  Larkin describes it beautifully.

To Failure

by Philip Larkin

You do not come dramatically, with dragons
That rear up with my life between their paws
And dash me butchered down beside the wagons,,
The horses panicking; nor as a clause
Clearly set out to warn what can be lost,
What out-of-pocket charges must be borne,
Expenses met; nor as a draughty ghost
That’s seen, some mornings, running down a lawn.

It is these sunless afternoons, I find,
Instal you at my elbow like a bore.
The chestnut trees are caked with silence.  I’m
Aware the days pass quicker than before,
Smell staler too. And once they fall behind
They look like ruin. You have been here some time.
HERE for more and to submit your own choice for Poetry Wednesday!

3 Responses to “Poetry Wednesday – April 28, 2010”

  1. Beth johnson April 28, 2010 at 7:05 pm #

    Oh how true; how quickly the funk sneaks up on me. I stood with my priest following the Vespers for Lazarus Saturday and confessed that for a large portion of Lent I felt like my joy was slipping away- not dramatically but quietly in small pieces until I opened my eyes and realized what an ugly place I was at spiritually, emotionally, physically. No, we are whole beings and affected as such. I am sorry for your disappointment about seminary. And prayers to you for healing. Thank you for your honesty and this poem.

  2. kris April 28, 2010 at 8:26 pm #

    I wish it would come like adragon, then I would not be so surprised that I cannot fight it off.

    I pray your change of plans brings you many blessings.

  3. Molly Sabourin April 28, 2010 at 8:43 pm #

    Yes, isn’t it something how swiftly and effectively anxiety (in my case) or depression or despair can tear us down? Pain (as in your case), hunger and exhaustion are three big instigators of negative thinking (which would explain a whole lot about my tearful early years of mothering). My priest once advised me not to wish my struggle with worry away but rather view my having to endure that specific hardship as my share in Christ’s sufferings. Your poem choice is so very insightful – especially when Larkin describes those inevitable “funk” days as passing quickly and smelling stale – oh how astute! I too will pray for you and your family!! Peace to you, Jennifer!



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