Sunday, March 12, 2006

"In May I Never Prosper"

Kristina Chew has been blogging of late about upheavals in Charlie's life this spring. And many in 'autismland' have been sharing about the chaos that Spring seems to bring to the lives of those on the spectrum.

I posted a long response to her blog entry today and it got me thinking about my own dread of Spring.

One of the things I said in my response was:
"Somehow the shift from winter to spring fills me with a terrible, restless anxiety and I feel like a lion in a zoo cage, pacing, pacing, pacing."

I don't understand why the return of the light triggers my depression and the loss of light in the fall does not. But there is something about the restless energy in early spring that sets my insides roiling.

In a poem called "Narcissus' Lament", I wrote this about Spring:

I dread her favor; a glimpse
of her abundance, teeming below

the threshold of my senses. Crawling
on my skin--the relentless pull
to push and thrive, to thrust

through the crust of earth
that imprisons all of us, seed, shoot,


The light
that wakes us, makes us all delirious.

Perhaps it is just too much life, too quickly after the relative peace of winter. I adore the winter; the silence of snow, the cold of clear, starry nights.

In a poem called "Consort", I wrote of the relationship between Winter and her lover, The North Wind:

They embrace
through the longest night while earth's
pulse slows beneath them. They grant
the stillness, not of death, but of life

In the winter, I know who I am. The spring is too much like chaos for me to feel comfortable with it.

The post title is my own out of context reading of the lyrics to a traditional Irish song, called "Rares Hill" sung by Mary Black. When I first heard it, years ago, it spoke to me about my dread of Spring. I recently tracked down the lyrics and it is 'may' as in 'will', and it references something completely different than my memory of the song indicates.

The real lyrics are:
"So it's may I never prosper, and may I never thrive/
In anything I take in hand as long as I'm alive/
If e'er I say I rue the day, my laddie had his will/
Success to Lady Mary's fair, and the back of Rare's Hill."


Kristina Chew said...

I think you are on to something about how the onset of spring can be unnerving, something about all that energy and the melting of the world and the mud (I keep on thinking of Elizabeth Bishop's "Cold Spring"). MothersVox at Autism's Edges posts about much the same --- I commented there, that the change does not affect me very much, but I'm the kind of person who can fall asleep in a hard chair with all the lights on if need be. Thanks for poetry and the song, and yes, the impending closure of his school has been unnerving Charlie. Am hoping that it will be a turn like that of the seasons---an exit followed by a brave new entrance.

Phil Schwarz said...

Hi Lisa...

I think it's something about the suspension or slowing of the pace of life, that appeals. Liminal time and space. The second movement of the Schubert "Trout" quintet: life beneath the ice on the surface of the water. Running at a slower pace, in the cold.

But winter is too long and harsh for me. I get my liminal space-time fix in shorter installments, in the wee hours of the night when it's just me, the cats, and the computers. And my community out on the Internet, with whom I interact in considered, deliberate asynchrony.

Summer nights provide the respite I crave from the heat and rush of the day. The adagietto from Mahler's 5th symphony: refreshing coolness and slowness -- just enough -- between its busier neighbors. With a good long pause for it to sink in before the horns and woodwinds break dawn with the beginning of the last movement.

LJCohen said...

Kris--a new entrance--I like that.

Hey Phil--nice to see you here--thanks for the lovely comment. And the Sherman Alexie thing--most cool!

Susan Senator said...

I love the poetry you have written here, particularly about the nervous energy of spring. I feel that way about spring, but I can't help but love it, too, because that nervous energy is so exciting, so up and down, which is the way I live, for better or worse.