Thursday, November 16, 2006

born with soil embedded in your hair

Wow. CHS's fall play, "13 Past Midnight" (what?), has a Facebook Group. And if I wanted to, I could subscribe to my high school's RSS Feed.

I don't feel that old. I'm not, actually, that old. In a month and a day I'll be nominally older, but it really wasn't that long ago that I was in a fall play or two (or three) myself. But shoot, we didn't have Facebook events. And we had to walk to the theater uphill, both ways, through the snow... right.

I guess my point is that I was taken aback when I read in a news clipping recently about Eileen Booher being principal of CHS for six years, and thinking, "Really? Nahh. McDaniel was still principal when I graduated... seven and a half years ago. Oh." I'm sure ten, twenty, fifty (God willing) years from now, I'll chuckle wryly at how taken aback I was at being already three-quarters of a decade out from high school, or how different things are now for students than they were for me, how technology progresses at lightning speed, and how they're finally putting in the new theater we needed fifteen years ago... but for now, I am astonished, and a little nostalgic. I had a fantastic time for (most of) high school, much of which was courtesy of my involvement in the drama department, and I have no doubt that I'd've been the one setting up the Facebook event if such a thing had existed back then.

This, coupled with Supermarj's comment about her belief that the first time you see a band is generally the best, is prompting me to transcribe one of my favorite Billy Collins poems rather than work more on my journal comment--because this is a public service, no?

Lines Composed Over Three Thousand Miles from Tintern Abbey

I was here before, a long time ago,
and now I am here again
is an observation that occurs in poetry
as frequently as rain occurs in life.

The fellow may be gazing
over an English landscape,
hillsides dotted with sheep,
a row of tall trees topping the downs,

or he could be moping through the shadows
of a dark Bavarian forest,
a wedge of cheese and a volume of fairy tales
tucked into his rucksack.

But the feeling is always the same.
It was better the first time.
This time is not nearly as good.
I'm not feeling as chipper as I did back then.

Something is always missing--
swans, a glint on the surface of a lake,
some minor but essential touch.
Or the quality of things has diminished.

The sky was a deeper, more dimensional blue,
clouds were more cathedral-like,
and water gushed over rock
with greater effervescence.

From our chairs we have watched
the poor author in his waistcoat
as he recalls the dizzying icebergs of childhood
and mills around in a field of weeds.

We have heard the poets long dead
declaim their dying
from a promontory, a riverbank,
next to a haycock, within a copse.

We have listened to their dismay,
the kind that issues from poems
the way water issues forth from hoses,
the way the match always gives its little speech on fire.

And when we put down the book at last,
lean back, close our eyes,
stinging with print,
and slip in the bookmark of sleep,

we will be schooled enough to know
that when we wake up
a little before dinner
things will not be nearly as good as they once were.

Something will be missing
from this long, coffin-shaped room,
the walls and windows now
only two different shades of gray,

the glossy gardenia drooping
in its chipped terra cotta pot.
And on the floor, shoes, socks
the browning core of an apple.

Nothing will be as it was
a few hours ago, back in the glorious past
before our naps, back in that Golden Age
that drew to a close sometime shortly after lunch.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I've been to Tintern Abbey. Pretty nice, for being ruins. I'm also fairly sure I've been over 3,000 miles away from Tintern Abbey. That whole radius has its ups and downs.