It is frosty here in the Northeast — very frosty! As I write this, my handy-dandy iPhone weather app tells me that it’s 10 degrees outside. That’s cooo-ld! It’s no wonder I just saw a headline announcing that New Jersey is having record-breaking cold spell in February — and that my Poetry Study Group this evening was tiny. Super tiny: not even a trio, but a duo: Just Christopher Dixon, an intrepid poetry enthusiast who braved the cold — and me.
No matter! We had a fine time of it. We chatted about books and writing, and projects we’re working on, which is always lots of fun. And then, because we were, after all, in the library, despite the chill winds, to read poetry, we read the poems we’d selected for the evening to each other.
My choice was “The Foundling,” by Billy Collins — a poem which, predictably enough, starred a snowflake. But Christopher was far more creative. Here we were, convened in a small conference room on a cold winter’s eve and his truly inspired selection was “Summer Sun,”* a lovely poem by Robert Louis Stevenson. Let me share a few lines:
Great is the sun, and wide he goes
Through empty heaven with repose:
And in the blue and glowing days
More thick than rain he showers his rays.
Though closer still the blinds we pull
To keep the shady parlour cool,
Yet he will find a chink or two
To slip his golden fingers through.
Beautiful! It was pitch black outside, colder than a witch’s bottom (how cold is that, I wonder), and in a flash, a handful of artfully chosen words transported me to a “blue and glowing” day with sunbeams showering down like rain and slipping their “golden fingers” everywhere. What a celebration of light and color and warmth! Isn’t that the joy of poetry and wonderful writing? In an instant, it transports you from snow to sunshine, from one world to another. What a mysterious magic trick! Bravo, Robert! Bravo, Christopher — write on!
* If you’re feeling cold or need a boost, read this charming poem’s warming words in full.