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Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Times Are Nightfall

(Red, Orange, Tan and Purple, 1954 by Mark
Rothko, 1903-1970, American painter)

The poet begins with winter as a metaphor for the bleak and dark and cold of despair, but then reminds us of the powerful choice within us, to use our free will.


The times are nightfall, look, their light grows less;
The times are winter, watch, a world undone:
They waste, they wither worse; they as they run
Or bring more or more blazon man’s distress.
And I not help. Nor word now of success:
All is from wreck, here, there, to rescue one —
Work which to see scarce so much as begun
Makes welcome death, does dear forgetfulness.

Or what is else? There is your world within.
There rid the dragons, root out there the sin.
Your will is law in that small commonweal…

~ Gerard Manley Hopkins, S.J. (1844-1899), British poet whose work has had a profound influence on modern poetry

1 comment:

Doug L said...

I like the comparison the author makes between despair and winter because some of the times during winter, it can be depressing. In addition, the author adds to the poem with the metaphor between free will and spring because the opposite to despair is positive thinking and seems light like the spring time. Finally, the poem is sort of a comparison between positive thinking and gloominess because things look bleak before they become enlightened. The comparisons seem to be a good way to change moods during a poem.