Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Hungry for Color

The snow continues to fall, drifty flakes spiraling down. All sounds are muted into a muffled silence; the pace of the day thickens and stalls. Yes, the view from my window is beautiful, but I'm so hungry for color. Although I'll likely take some wintry photos later when I venture out for a walk, right now I want to see something vivid and alive. Scrolling through last spring and summer's photos on my quest, I came across this glorious, opening rose, captured at the cusp of fullness. Just looking again into its face thaws the spirit.

John Keats wrote these stunning lines in "The Eve of St. Agnes":

Sudden a thought came like a full-blown rose,
Flushing his brow, and in his pained heart
Made purple riot.

-- John Keats, 1795 - 1821

Those three words instill spangled commotion in your mind, don't they? "Made purple riot"! And inside the "pained heart." Perfect. Wandering through Keats' writing, I came across these additional powerful and unsettling lines from "The Living Hand," a fragment. I wasn't expecting this haunted feeling, this visitation, to overcome me. See what happens to you after reading these eight lines:

This living hand, now warm and capable
Of earnest grasping, would, if it were cold
And in the icy silence of the tomb,
So haunt thy days and chill thy dreaming nights
That thou would wish thine own heart dry of blood
So in my veins red life might stream again,
And thou be conscience-calm'd -- see here it is --
I hold it towards you.

-- John Keats, 1795 - 1821

Shiver. This makes you want to leap fully into your skin, fill your lungs, and take off running to live your life in the deepest way you can. Do you remember what you needed -- with your whole heart -- to do?

The photograph was taken at White Flower Farms in Litchfield, Connecticut on 6/7/09. Click on the image to enlarge.


C.M. Mayo said...


Christine said...

Why, thank you, Ms. Mayo. Doesn't that rosy shade wake you up?

Patrice said...

Words can stun and bedazzle. And the Keats you've chosen to feature here do just that.

Makes me rethink my poet favs and seek a more riotous hue.

Christine said...

Yes, his words came up from the past to wake and haunt me. More snow here today, but it's beautiful. The colors will arrive in due time. A poetry suggestion for you: Tomas Transtromer.