Thursday, May 31, 2007

What Is So Rare As A Day in June

A rare and perfect day in Indiana
My mother, Laura Gray Thompson, was a literary and learned person. She was bright, funny, and creative. Although she did not graduate from college until she was in her fifties when she completed both her bachelor's and a master's degree in English at Purdue University, she was well read and self taught before she even attended the university. One of my fond memories of mom is that on June 1st she recited the first few lines of this poem by James Russell Lowell. All these years, I thought that the poem was by Welshman, Dylan Thomas. In memory of my mom, here is the entire poem. May all of your days in June be both rare and perfect.

AND what is so rare as a day in June?
Then, if ever, come perfect days;
Then Heaven tries earth if it be in tune,
And over it softly her warm ear lays;
Whether we look, or whether we listen,
We hear life murmur, or see it glisten;
Every clod feels a stir of might,
An instinct within it that reaches and towers,
And, groping blindly above it for light,
Climbs to a soul in grass and flowers;
The flush of life may well be seen
Thrilling back over hills and valleys;
The cowslip startles in meadows green,
The buttercup catches the sun in its chalice,
And there's never a leaf nor a blade too mean
To be some happy creature's palace;
The little bird sits at his door in the sun,
Atilt like a blossom among the leaves,
And lets his illumined being o'errun
With the deluge of summer it receives;
His mate feels the eggs beneath her wings,
And the heart in her dumb breast flutters and sings;
He sings to the wide world, and she to her nest,-
In the nice ear of Nature which song is the best?
Now is the high-tide of the year,
And whatever of life hath ebbed away
Comes flooding back with a ripply cheer,
Into every bare inlet and creek and bay;
Now the heart is so full that a drop overfills it,
We are happy now because God wills it;
No matter how barren the past may have been,
'Tis enough for us now that the leaves are green;
We sit in the warm shade and feel right well
How the sap creeps up and the blossoms swell;
We may shut our eyes but we cannot help knowing
That skies are clear and grass is growing;
The breeze comes whispering in our ear,
That dandelions are blossoming near,
That maize has sprouted, that streams are flowing,
That the river is bluer than the sky,
That the robin is plastering his house hard by;
And if the breeze kept the good news back,
For our couriers we should not lack;
We could guess it all by yon heifer's lowing,-
And hark! How clear bold chanticleer,
Warmed with the new wine of the year,
Tells all in his lusty crowing!
Joy comes, grief goes, we know not how;
Everything is happy now,
Everything is upward striving;
'Tis as easy now for the heart to be true
As for grass to be green or skies to be blue,-
'Tis for the natural way of living:
Who knows whither the clouds have fled?
In the unscarred heaven they leave not wake,
And the eyes forget the tears they have shed,
The heart forgets its sorrow and ache;
The soul partakes the season's youth,
And the sulphurous rifts of passion and woe
Lie deep 'neath a silence pure and smooth,
Like burnt-out craters healed with snow.


At 4:12 AM, Anonymous willowtree said...

I came, I read, I was baffled. (I'm afraid I'm not much of a poetry person)

At 1:50 PM, Blogger meggie said...

I loved it!
Thanks for sharing.

At 6:18 PM, Anonymous gawilli said...

"Joy comes..." and what a wonderful thing that is!

At 7:11 PM, Blogger Margaret said...

June is a beautiful month, and I love poetry. I have read mostly French poetry since that is what my degree is in. However, I am ready for school to be out.

At 1:09 AM, Blogger her indoors said...

marvelous, people read poems and have different views on them, my view on this one is that when the good weather comes we feel better as people, we are able to see the good and forget the bad, we feel ready to move on

At 9:58 AM, Blogger goldennib said...

A wonderful summer ritual.

At 6:12 PM, Blogger Cazzie!!! said...

I love this, it gave me shivers umpteen times.... thankYOU for sharing this. Your mum would be so proud of her little girl.

At 7:15 AM, Blogger Mike M said...

Great blog!! I will be back for more!!


At 8:29 AM, Anonymous Rae said...

Your mom must have been related to mine, schooled in LaGrange, Indiana, degreed later in life, and reciting this poem as June arrived each year. That's why I came looking for it on line.


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