Dec 11, 2011

"Lines for Winter" by Mark Strand

Lines for Winter by Mark Strand : The Poetry Foundation

We talked a bit about Mark Strand's poem last January, but it deserves more than one look.

Also, almost a year later, "Lines for Winter" is reminding me of a question I try to put to myself every once in awhile, regarding honesty:  if I weren't going to tell anyone I did this, would I still be doing it?  Do I really want to go to the Bach concert, or do I want to be able to say I was there?

I'm pretty sure we're all guilty, maybe once per decade, of undeserved self-congratulation, self-promotion, self-aggrandizement. Maybe it's like tobacco, and we should cut back on it.

Isn't Strand's poem about that, at least a bit, maybe a little sideways?  In any case, I welcome comments on "Lines for Winter" or other, related ideas.

Last January, Barbaro wrote here in visitor comments:  "You and your poems keep trying to make me hate winter, but I won't do it. So desperately do I love it that I got mildly depressed today because I did notice afternoons clawing their way back, which means those beautiful dark white days near the solstice are behind us for a whole other year. For all its intensity of cold and snow and impatience, Februrary can't touch that sweet spot in late December."

As I walked yesterday and visualized it again today, I realize I failed to endorse that view with sufficient enthusiasm.  Hence these photos.


Hannah Stephenson said...

Such distance in those final lines.

I can't tell whether it is comforting or not...

Pasadena Adjacent said...

If I had time and opportunity to follow another career path, it would be that of a mortician. I've always had some sense of nearness to death; an ability to interact with old people since I was a teenager. The idea of sculpting the dead has meaning.... and I see some truth in Strand's final lines.

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Brenda's Arizona said...

PA, you are pretty weird. Sculpting the dead? Oh my.

I totally disagree with Strand. Each season has a different tune. Maybe "Beach Boy-ish" for summer? Maybe a heavy Wagner for winter? Maybe it is why Vivaldi wrote the season songs.

Maybe loving yourself for being a chameleon is okay, too.

Banjo52 said...

Hannah, I can't tell either, but I'm satisfied that it's both. I think the poem commands each of us to answer, privately, whether it's a comfort or a challenge.

PA, of course! Clay, human flesh, it's all one . . . But seriously, that's fascinating.

Brenda, I'm not sure I see what the disagreement is about. What am I missing?

Brenda's Arizona said...

Banjo, my argument is just an opiion that every season has a tune. Strand suggests you hear the same tune...

Tell yourself
as it gets cold and gray falls from the air
that you will go on
walking, hearing
the same tune no matter where
you find yourself—

Hence my comments on summer vs. winter tunes. That's all!

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