Peevish Pen

Ruminations on reading, writing, rural living, retirement, aging—and sometimes cats. And maybe a border collie or other critters.

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Location: Rural Virginia, United States

I'm an elderly retired teacher who writes. Among my books are Ferradiddledumday (Appalachian version of the Rumpelstiltskin story), Stuck (middle grade paranormal novel), Patches on the Same Quilt (novel set in Franklin County, VA), Them That Go (an Appalachian novel), and several Kindle ebooks.

Friday, June 01, 2012

June 1st

"What is so rare as a day in June?" asks poet James Russell Lowell in his 1848 poem, "The Vision of Sir Launfal." June 2012 began as a gray day with spits of light rain. Severe weather was predicted for the afternoon by both weather forecasters and the ants. I noticed this morning that the anthills were unusually high, so I figured the forecasters might be right. 

We had heavy rain in the afternoon, followed by a few more gully washers in the evening in which heaven did indeed try the earth. Here are some pictures of the last storm:

Clouds rolled in from the south.



The heavy clouds headed for Smith Mountain.



But two hours after the storm, a rainbow appeared at the end of my driveway. It's rare here to see a rainbow this bright.


I took a lot of pictures of the rainbow. It was actually a double one.







After the rainbow came a spectacular sunset.


I wonder if the rest of the June days are going to be a spectacular as this one?

I read first read Lowell's poem when I was a ninth grader. His imagery, like today's weather, is pretty spectacular. Here's the June part of it:

What is So Rare As a Day in June
by James Russell Lowell

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.


~

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2 Comments:

Blogger Sweet Virginia Breeze said...

The rainbow and sunset pictures are gorgeous! We missed most of the storms. We only got a sprinkle of rain.

9:04 AM  
Blogger Franz X Beisser said...

Thanks for sharing. I love the poem. My kind of writing.

1:36 PM  

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