Monday, September 10, 2007

A positive attitude and two poems about hills

They say that having a positive attitude is important when dealing with this sort of thing. I'm generally fairly good at that. I can tell that it's important for the people around me as well so I'm making an effort to be as positive about this as possible. Some times are more challenging than others. I suppose that's typical.

I was talking yesterday with a friend who has had something similar. We agreed that even the potential for scary news causes you to look at everything with more appreciation and perspective. That is certainly true.

All of this made me think about two poems with similar themes but very different attitudes. I'll include them below. The first is Up-Hill by Christina Rossetti. I learned this one years ago from my friend Kay who recited it from memory. It has a resolute and positive tone. The other is The Long Hill by Sara Teasdale and carries a feeling of fatigue and capitulation. I learned of Sara Teasdale when my friend Nancy recited her poem Wisdom to me from memory. I think I'm doing a good job of it so far but I'm going to work to keep on the Rossetti side of things and keep those Teasdale times to a minimum.


Does the road wind up-hill all the way?
        Yes, to the very end.
Will the day's journey take the whole long day?
        From morn to night, my friend.

But is there for the night a resting-place?
        A roof for when the slow dark hours begin.
May not the darkness hide it from my face?
        You cannot miss that inn.

Shall I meet other wayfarers at night?
        Those who have gone before.
Then must I knock, or call when 'ust in sight?
        They will not keep you standing at that door.

Shall I find comfort, travel-sore and weak?
        Of labor you shall find the sum.
Will there be beds for me and all who seek?
        Yea, beds for all who come.

- Christina Rossetti

The Long Hill

I must have passed the crest a while ago
And now I am going down--
Strange to have crossed the crest and not to know,
But the brambles were always catching the hem of my gown.

All the morning I thought how proud I should be
To stand there straight as a queen,
Wrapped in the wind and the sun with the world under me--
But the air was dull, there was little I could have seen.

It was nearly level along the beaten track
And the brambles caught in my gown--
But it's no use now to think of turning back,
The rest of the way will be only going down.

- Sara Teasdale


steve said...

Hey Jim, Steve Hargrove here. Thought I'd post a comment and offer you support as you wend your way through the vagaries of this new and incredibly intimate experience. You're so right about a positive attitude. Cool CT scan video, too! Have fun in CO, and happy birthday! I was going through radiation when my birthday arrived this year. Had a big celebration, and perhaps a little extra libation! Be well! Steve

Anonymous said...

Hey Bluff,
While I was reading my Emily Dickinson (and you your Robert Frost), I came upon this old favorite and thought I'd update it fot the 21st century. Hope it puts a smile on your face.

I'm nobody! Who are you?

I'm nobody! Who are you?
Are you nobody, too?
Then there's a pair of us -- don't tell!
They'd advertise -- you know!

How dreary to be somebody!
How public like a frog
To tell one's name the livelong day
To an admiring blog!

Emily Dickinson