Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Winter Stores by Charlotte Bronte (as Currer Ellis 1846))

(or listen at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=edQh_CMr9zQ - the music's nice, but to me the voice seems a little too softly, softly)

We take from life one little share,
And say that this shall be
A space, redeemed from toil and care,
From tears and sadness free.

And, haply, Death unstrings his bow,
And Sorrow stands apart,
And, for a little while, we know
The sunshine of the heart.

Existence seems a summer eve,
Warm, soft, and full of peace,
Our free, unfettered feelings give
The soul its full release.

A moment, then, it takes the power
To call up thoughts that throw
Around that charmed and hallowed hour,
This life’s divinest glow.

But Time, though viewlessly it flies,
And slowly, will not stay;
Alike, through clear and clouded skies,
It cleaves its silent way.

Alike the bitter cup of grief,
Alike the draught of bliss,
Its progress leaves but moment brief
For baffled lips to kiss

The sparkling draught is dried away,
The hour of rest is gone,
And urgent voices, round us, say,
“'Ho, lingerer, hasten on!”

And has the soul, then, only gained,
From this brief time of ease,
A moment’s rest, when overstrained,
One hurried glimpse of peace?

No; while the sun shone kindly o’er us,
And flowers bloomed round our feet,—
While many a bud of joy before us
Unclosed its petals sweet,—

An unseen work within was plying;
Like honey-seeking bee,
From flower to flower, unwearied, flying,
Laboured one faculty,—

Thoughtful for Winter’s future sorrow,
Its gloom and scarcity;
Prescient to-day, of want to-morrow,
Toiled quiet Memory.

’Tis she that from each transient pleasure
Extracts a lasting good;
’Tis she that finds, in summer, treasure
To serve for winter’s food.

And when Youth’s summer day is vanished,
And Age brings Winter’s stress,
Her stores, with hoarded sweets replenished,
Life’s evening hours will bless.

It seems winter is passing - so fast - it's going by like a rocket - so that maybe the traditional Stark cry of "winter is coming" (in the book, Game of Thrones) is not a call to winter so much as a call to the winter of life - No wonder George R R Martin is so loathe to write in a hurry - he's busy squirrelling away the memories of autumn.

My thoughts are with everyone near Mt Tongariro, I'm hoping that the right decisions will be made and everyone will be kept safe http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/7426862/First-Tongariro-eruption-in-over-100-years 

A.J. Ponder  

 A.J. Ponder's work is also available through Rona Gallery, Amazon, and good Wellington bookstores


  1. Thanks for sharing this one, Alicia--it's good to connect with our poetic tradition.

  2. Hi Alicia,
    a really interesting piece. If one considers the style of the times I would guess it is actually very modern. And I like the way although it seems melancholy in part it is actually quite optimistic and common sensical. Thanks for sharing this. Good advice for dealing with winter too :-)

  3. Cheers Helen and Helen for dropping by, I must apologise for my slackness - but I'm pleased you dropped by and enjoyed the poem enough to comment - cheers :) It was an odd one that I wasn't sure I liked - traditional/modern - overdone/sensible - it really is an odd fish. But I kept on coming back to it... and even now I find it's growing on me.