Thursday afternoon, and the fierce winds of the last few days are finally dying down. I’m glad I wasn’t out on the bay in a sailboat. How do people manage in winds like that? Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May (only it’s March, and supposed to be raining). Shakespeare’s sonnet #18. My mother used to recite it by heart when she put us to bed at night:
Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date;
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm’d;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance or nature’s changing course untrimm’d;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st;
Nor shall Death brag thou wander’st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow’st:
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.
My mother didn’t have much of a singing voice, so poems were our bedtime lullabys. I loved the ones about the sea–John Masefield’s “Sea Fever,”
I must go down to the sea again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship, and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking….
The “Seal Lullaby,” from, lord help us, Kipling’s The Jungle Book:
Oh! hush thee, my baby, the night is behind us,
And black are the waters that sparkled so green.
The moon, o’er the combers, looks downward to find us
At rest in the hollows that rustle between.
Where billow meets billow, then soft be thy pillow,
Ah, weary wee flipperling, curl at they ease!
The storm shall not wake thee, nor shark overtake the,
Asleep in the arms of the slow-swinging seas!
My mother’s voice soothed the night-time terrors, rocking me like that baby seal. The ogres and monsters crept back in the closet, and I was safe–not that the world was safer then than it is now, World War II raging, an invasion on everyone’s mind.
My two-year-old granddaughter is afraid of trees in the wind. She expects them to fall down on her. This may be a sensible response. When the wind blows and the trees sway, she grabs my hand and says, “Go inside! Go inside!”
One of my grandsons was afraid of trees, too, but it was their spooky shapes, sinister arms reaching out for him.
How do we make our children feel safe when the TV nightly news is filled with violence and death? School on Lockdown as Police Search for Possible Shooter; Police Capture Man Wanted for Shooting People Talking Outside his RV; Man Carjacks SUV with Boy Inside. You couldn’t make this stuff up.
Somebody said to me today, “How come the NSA can’t find that Malaysian plane? They can find everything else.” He told me a story about a lefty journalist–someone like Jeremy Scahill, though it might not have been him–watching whole sentences disappear from an article he was writing on his laptop, apparently being sucked away by some unseen hand. It wasn’t every sentence, only the ones attacking the NSA. Probably apocryphal, but believable enough in the present climate to make the rounds.
And what a climate it is. Per Bob Dylan, you don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows–and no wonder so many end up in the drink.