Monday, August 3, 2015

back in the saddle

Flipped over the calendar to a new month: 

Gifts from the sea settled in my soul after a few 
days on the beach. My heart is lighter after
 the wind, sun, sand, and waves battered any 
burdens. Time expanded and melted away.

Now Time is marching towards
me for letting my youngest fly the nest. 

Here is a test for literature: from vol. 4
Ourselves ( thinking of reading Part 2 with 
my high school class) 

How to recognise Literature.––Observe, there is a poor place close at hand, where pictures are painted for you and where people are introduced; but you cannot see the pictures with your eyes shut, and the people do not live and act in your thoughts; there is as much difference between this region outside and that within the Kingdom of Literature as there is between a panorama and the real, beautiful country it is intended to portray. It is a horrible waste of time to wander about in this outside region, yet many people spend a large part of their lives there, and never once get within sight of the beauties and delights within the Kingdom of Literature.

There is another test, besides the two of scenes that you see and people that you know, which distinguishes Literature from the barren land on its borders; and if he is to apply this test, Intellect must keep his Beauty Sense always by his side. Read over, and see if you find a difference of flavour, shall I say, between the two passages that follow. Try if the first gives you a sense of delight in the words alone, without any thought of the meaning of them, if the very words seem to sing to you;
           "That time of year thou mayst in me behold
           When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
           Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
           Bare, ruined choirs, where late the sweet birds sang."
Now read the next passage;
           "Household Deities!
           Then only shall be happiness on earth
           When man shall feel your sacred power and love
           Your tranquil joys."
Can you perceive that, though the second passage is true, thoughtful, and well expressed, it just misses a certain charm in the wording which makes words go home to our heart with living power? If you cannot see any difference in value between these two passages, perhaps you will do so some day. The thing is, to keep your eye upon words and wait to feel their force and beauty; and, when words are so fit that no other words can be put in their places, so few that none can be left out without spoiling the sense, and so fresh and musical that they delight you, then you may be sure that you are reading Literature, whether in prose or poetry. A great deal of delightful literature can be recognised only by this test.


melissa said...

Amazing. I see the difference! Must be all that Faulkner, you think? :)

Bonnie said...

Could be? Good writer and reading good writing tones the ear.