The World Too Much With Us
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Friends, I implore you to turn off your TVs and radios — to take at least a brief break from the cacophonous, hysterical 24/7 news barrage. Be good to yourselves. After all, it is October. Enjoy Nature's technicolor majesty. Contemplate what Robert Frost wrote:
O hushed October morning mild,
Thy leaves have ripened to the fall,
Tomorrow's wind, if it be wild,
Should waste them all...
Begin the hours of this day slow,
Make the day seem to us less brief,
Hearts not averse to being beguiled,
Beguile us in the way you know.
Though Wordsworth was referring to man's obsession with material things when he wrote 'The world is too much with us,' we can all understand what he meant from a 21st century perspective, especially now. The respite you all need is waiting just outside. All you need do is go there. Who knows, maybe Shelley's west wind will be blowing:
O, wild west wind, thou breath of Autumn's being,
Thou, from whose unseen presence the leaves dead
Are driven, like ghosts from an enchanter fleeing...
Drive my dead thoughts over the universe
Like withered leaves to quicken a new birth!...
Scatter as from an unextinguished hearth
Ashes and sparks, my words among mankind!
Be through my lips to unawakened earth
The trumpet of a prophecy! O, wind,
If winter comes, can spring be far behind?
Coming in back from a walk the other day I was blessed with an October scene. A high north wind was scattering leaves over the field. The sky was halved. Part of it was scintillant blue streaming with light. Part of it was darkling cloud battalions marching ever southward. Soaring above it all, barely visible, a red—tailed hawk circled in sublime benediction.
It is all out there, waiting for you, my friends. Get out there and refresh your souls and spirits. You might see what Dylan Thomas described in his 'Poem In October':
A springful of larks in a rolling
Cloud and the roadside bushes brimming with
Whistling blackbirds and the sun of October
On the hill's shoulder,
Here were fond climates and sweet singers suddenly
Come in the morning where I wandered and listened
To the rain wringing
Wind blow cold
In the wood faraway under me.
The lines of your own poem await. Go out into waning October and experience them.
John B. Dwyer is a military historian.