Last night I read a poem that showed me in a flash why I save evening-time for listening to classical music while I knit, or browsing through an art book, or reading fine poems like this one.
I’ve said in a previous post that I keep a volume of poems by my bed for evening reading. But I hadn’t known why until, with Richard Wilbur’s New and Collected Poems the current volume, I opened last night to his poem “C Minor.”
The poem begins with Wilbur and (presumably) his wife having breakfast while the radio plays something of Beethoven’s. Something passionate and angst-ridden; something typical of the C minor tonality which was Beethoven’s favorite for expressing dark, turbulent moods.
The poet’s wife turns off the radio. He writes: “You are right to switch it off and let the day / Begin at hazard…”
What follows for most of the poem is an account of some typical “hazards”—that is, chance happenings of a day.
The morning’s newspaper will present “sad / Or fortunate news.” Then:
The day’s work will be disappointing or not,
Giving at least some pleasure in taking pains.
One of us, hoeing in the garden plot
(Unless, of course, it rains) [Read more…]