Friday, December 22, 2017

Winter afternoons

Emily Dickinson, the first stanza of 320:

We’ve had only two winter afternoons thus far, but I’ve been thinking about this poem and noticing the light over the past few days. Together the poem and the light have made me think of my undergraduate self, walking in the late afternoon on a nearly empty campus in late December, the dead zone between the end of classes and the start of final examinations. I wouldn’t call the slant of light on such an afternoon oppressive. I’d call it melancholy and assertive: pay attention as I, the only sun in the sky, sink. This afternoon there’s no sun, no slant: the sky is merely white, and now turning grey.

Dickinson’s poem sits in a folder in my head with Thomas Hardy’s “The Darkling Thrush” and “Neutral Tones” and Ted Berrigan’s “A Certain Slant of Sunlight.” But I didn’t have that folder as an undergraduate.

Related reading
All OCA Dickinson posts (Pinboard)

comments: 2

Chris said...

Today it was overcast and when I went out at around 3:30 to try and take some pictures the light was already too grim. It seemed like a winter day in the Arctic. I wouldn't call it oppressive, but it was definitely bleak. We need to set some bonfires.

Michael Leddy said...

I’m turning on every lamp in the house and lighting a candle.