Lilt and Grind

Many of the poems end with lilting verses reminding us of mortality and the great stretches of time of which we are not part. Could this theme be traced back to his translations? Emblematic are the final lines of a poem from seventeenth century France by Madame Des Houlières:

But that has little time to be
and a long time to be no more.
"To the Painter Polelonema" ends with what to me is a melancholic image
No sparrow
cracks these seeds

that no wind blows.
Something has been lifted out of time and in some sense denatured. And yet preserved. The ostensible object is the rendering of rocks into pigments into life wrung from the elements. And to do so is a vocation. Tension remains in that the foregoing lines are devoted to seizing life "in a single grip / that lasts for years" but here in the conclusion there is something impenetrable, something beyond ... out of reach of bird or wind. Yet there it is in the mind's eye elicited by the poet, Yvor Winters, contemplating the art of the painter, Polelonema.

And so for day 1261