January Misgivings

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In honor of Donald Trump’s Inauguration Day, I find myself speechless, but I am resonating with:

Herman Melville’s Misgivings

When ocean-clouds over inland hills
Sweep storming in late autumn brown,
And horror the sodden valley fills,
And the spire falls crashing in the town,
I muse upon my country’s ills—
The tempest bursting from the waste of Time
On the world’s fairest hope linked with man’s foulest crime.

 

Nature’s dark side is heeded now—
(Ah! optimist-cheer disheartened flown)—
A child may read the moody brow
Of yon black mountain lone.
With shouts the torrents down the gorges go,
And storms are formed behind the storm we feel:
The hemlock shakes in the rafter, the oak in the driving keel.

 

Notes: Poem is dated 1860 From Battle-Pieces and Aspects of the War, found in the Selected Poems of Herman Melville, A Reader’s Edition, Edited by Robert Penn Warren, Copyright 1967, David R. Godine, Publisher; I hope Melville would forgive the lack of indentations, which WordPress doesn’t support.

Thanks to Violet Nesdoly for hosting Poetry Friday. Although some of us might be feeling like we are entering stormy seas, at least our crew is stalwart and well-provisioned with poetry and courage.
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57 thoughts on “January Misgivings

  1. Thank you!

    On Thu, Jan 19, 2017 at 4:00 PM, Friendly Fairy Tales wrote:

    > Brenda Davis Harsham posted: ” In honor of Donald Trump’s Inauguration > Day, I find myself speechless, but I am resonating with: Herman Melville’s > Misgivings When ocean-clouds over inland hills Sweep storming in late > autumn brown, And horror the sodden valley fills, And the spire fal” >

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Hard to believe this was written so long ago. People today railing against the time aren’t quite so eloquent are they? Love this, but sad: “On the world’s fairest hope linked with man’s foulest crime.” Thanks, Brenda.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. ooooooh! “And storms are formed behind the storm we feel:” I want this line. I’ve taken this line….this one is in my pocket. Thank you! I love the title, your chosen photograph and the tone of this poem. They all illustrate the day. Have a great week.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, Beth. I can’t feel very positive about him after his recent cabinet choices, his overly-close relationship with Russia and his berating a civil rights hero which are all part and parcel with how he behaved during the election. I think we are in for stormy seas.

      Like

  4. This was something which expressed how I felt in November but have reconciled myself to make the best of things, Brenda. I liked the first post of the new year which I found that lovely letter from 1973, E.B. White wrote to someone apparently who needed a pep talk for the horrible state of the country then.
    Anyway, I love Hermann Melville’s quote and “Misgivings!” Thanks for this one, Brenda. hugs, xoxo Robin

    Liked by 1 person

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