November is usually the month when all the projects planned or merely dreamed of throughout the autumn comes crashing into reality to eat the days and weeks with a rapacious hunger. At this point, I'm past the most hectic period but since there's not much energy left for blogging, I'll put up this beautiful poem by Seamus Heaney, published in Seeing Things (Faber & Faber 1991).
Dropwort and ash
BL MS Egerton 747, herbal miscellany, various authors, Salerno, between c.1280 and c.1310
Courtesy of British Library
The Ash Plant
He'll never rise again but he is ready. Entered like a mirror by the morning,
He stares out the big window, wondering,
Not caring if the day is bright or cloudy.
An upstairs outlook on the whole country.
First milk-lorries, first smoke, cattle, trees
In damp opulence above damp hedges -
He has it to himself, he is like a sentry
Forgotten and unable to remember
The whys and wherefores of his lofty station,
Wakening relieved yet in position,
Disencumbered as a breaking comber.
As his head goes light with light, his wasting hand
Gropes desperately and finds the phantom limb
Of an ash plant in his grasp, which steadies him.
Now he has found his touch he can stand his ground
Or wield the stick like a silver bough and come
Walking again among us: the quoted judge.
I could have cut a better man out of the hedge!
God might have said the same, remembering Adam.