Friday, August 6, 2010

The Close of These Things

Poem of the Day:
"Snake" by Rachel Hadas
The Ache of Appetite

This is the final weekend in Boston for some of my friends; one has already left. I am here for 3 more weeks, knowing that Cambridge has much more appeal to me than Horsham, although I do miss my family. Nonetheless I am shocked at how quickly this summer has gone. Many days I still feel as if I have just returned home from Europe.

Perfectly enough, Hadas' poem begins, "Ends: of summer; time in the country; time/before departures" (lines 1-2) as she, with much more eloquence, sums up my concerns. Time moves too quickly, especially when the weather is beautiful and good friends are near.

Hadas personifies time passed. Or, should I say she animalizes it? Regardless she refers to time gone by as a snake. She writes, "Time/tapers to a snake that slides invisibly/off into the long grass of the world" (lines 2-4) and those who wait in the "long grass" for something to occur miss what has "already happened,/[as it] slithers/off into the brush without a sound" (lines 9-10).

Although Hadas' choice of reptile is a tad unnerving (am I really supposed to mourn for time passed unnoticed when it is embodied by a slithering snake?) her wording and line breaks are graceful and calm. Her description of "the long grass of the world" invokes the pastoral tradition, and somehow the presence of a snake does not undo this (Garden of Eden, maybe?).

Here's to thinking of time as a snake slithering away, and may our prayers be heard: the serpent better not bite.

A Poem A Day Audrey


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