|14 November 2021|
Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.
Not too long ago my Rosemary and I decided to try the buffet at a Richmond Casino. We parked our car near a Skytrain station on Cambie and 41st and took the transport which left us at the door of the casino. The food was terrible. We decided to never return. But something happened that for me made the trip a justifiable one.
When we got on our Skytrain there was a big poster with Ghandi’s above words. Those words have remained with me since. When I try to bring order and distraction to my life and I scan my plants, take photographs and write these blogs I know the only justification for doing so is that I get pleasure out of it and nothing else is important.
Since I started this blog in 2006, one of the pleasures has been in mating my photographs to my favourite literature which are poems and short stories or references from novels.
Because I have written at least 50 blogs illustrating Emily Dickinson’s poems and I read one or two of her poems every week I can assert that I have read all of Dickinson and remember a lot of it. The same (but not the entirety of Dickinson) applies to my reference to Jorge Luís Borges, Julio Cortázar, Homero Aridjis, Eduardo Galeano, Alfonsina Storni, Mario Vargas Llosa, William Shakespeare, William H. Hudson and a few more.
What that means is that I have gained a knowledge of poetry. Is this of any use? At one time I would have had doubts. Now with Ghandi in my mind I jump at the opportunity of doing more of this. When oblivion happens it will not have been for naught.
In this blog I cited a lovely poem by W.H. Auden about a guest room. Today’s blog is all references a dark and rainy Vancouver November. What poem illustrates this? It is one by Robert Frost. I found it (by accident) when I was searching for a poem related to a guest room for the blog linked above. The guest in this poem, unlike auden's is not a human guest.
In the early 60s I was studying engineering at the University of the Americas in Mexico City. My English Literature professor whose name I have long forgotten was a white-haired old man who resembled Robert Frost and indeed had been his friend. I sat in the back of the room bored with the idea of literature. Thanks to Ghandi I am catching up.
My November Guest
Robert Frost - 1874-1963
My sorrow, when she’s here with me,
Thinks these dark days of autumn rain
Are beautiful as days can be;
She loves the bare, the withered tree;
She walks the sodden pasture lane.
Her pleasure will not let me stay.
She talks and I am fain to list:
She’s glad the birds are gone away,
She’s glad her simple worsted grey
Is silver now with clinging mist.
The desolate, deserted trees,
The faded earth, the heavy sky,
The beauties she so truly sees,
She thinks I have no eye for these,
And vexes me for reason why.
Not yesterday I learned to know
The love of bare November days
Before the coming of the snow,
But it were vain to tell her so,
And they are better for her praise.