Monday, March 9, 2009


This morning I'm in a perverse state of mind, for which I blame congress' decision to begin daylight savings time so early that there's not enough daylight.

Many people go around with songs in their heads, and I do that sometimes, but more often I go around for a few days with a poem in my head, and the one that's in there today is really not appropriate for my mood, which is restless. I have a lot of work to do, and rather than finish one project and move on to the next, I'm flitting from one thing to another, as daft as the kitten, who just dug three toys out from under our oven storage drawer and is trying to play with all of them.

Maybe my unconscious is trying to tell me something by dredging up this Wordsworth poem:

Nuns fret not at their convent's narrow room;
And hermits are contented with their cells;
And students with their pensive citadels;
Maids at the wheel, the weaver at his loom,
Sit blithe and happy; bees that soar for bloom,
High as the highest Peak of Furness-fells,
Will murmur by the hour in foxglove bells:
In truth the prison, unto which we doom
Ourselves, no prison is; and hence for me,
In sundry moods, 'twas pastime to be bound
Within the sonnet's scanty plot of ground;
Please if some souls (for such there needs must be)
Who have felt the weight of too much liberty,
Should find brief solace there, as I have found.

Usually I agree with the point that it's easier to work in a form than to make something up entirely, and most days I work at what I've set myself pretty contentedly (if occasionally contentiously). Usually I think it's the least bad choice for my kids to go to the local public school. But today, in the aftermath of Saturday's 70-degree weather and the time change, I'm not so sure. Eleanor has to take the Ohio Graduation Test first thing every morning this week, which combines fatigue, boredom, and stress. Walker will start soccer practice tomorrow if the doctor says he can practice with his fractured arm. And I need to get done all the things that are due at the end of this week, the second week of spring break at the local college.

Too much liberty. Maybe I need to reread Walker Percy's The Last Gentleman, about a character who is paralyzed by too many possibilities. Maybe I need to...oh, I don't know. What puts restlessness to rest?


Harriet M. Welsch said...

The perfect poem for this morning. I've been thinking about this very thing. Although I think Wordsworth is completely whacked in his interpretation of student contentment, he is definitely onto something with the weight of too much liberty. Mr. Spy and I have recently finished watching Into Great Silence, a nearly wordless film that takes you into the world of the Chartreuse monks. And I have to say, they look like some of the happiest people on earth.

Jeanne said...

Harriet, I think I'll add "student contentment" to my list of oxymorons!

Anonymous said...

Love the Twilight Commentary Links!


Cschu said...

I'm feeling really restless, too. Don't know what is up with that. I have an especially severe case of "itchy feet" and want to cross an ocean in the worst way. I am especially cross that we probably can't afford to.

If you find a cure for restlessness, let me know.