Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Poetry of Departures

It's spring break at the local college, and we're cat-sitting for our friends who were lucky enough to go off to Harry Potter world in Florida.

I think everyone wants a spring break trip to somewhere warm, and few of us get it.  Let's try to think of it like this Philip Larkin poem:

Poetry of Departures

Sometimes you hear, fifth-hand,
As epitaph:
He chucked up everything
And just cleared off,
And always the voice will sound
Certain you approve
This audacious, purifying,
Elemental move.

And they are right, I think.
We all hate home
And having to be there:
I detest my room,
Its specially-chosen junk,
The good books, the good bed,
And my life, in perfect order:
So to hear it said

He walked out on the whole crowd
Leaves me flushed and stirred,
Like Then she undid her dress
Or Take that you bastard;
Surely I can, if he did?
And that helps me stay
Sober and industrious.
But I'd go today,

Yes, swagger the nut-strewn roads,
Crouch in the fo'c'sle
Stubbly with goodness, if
It weren't so artificial,
Such a deliberate step backwards
To create an object:
Books, china; a life
Reprehensibly perfect.

Or perhaps it would be perfect if I spent all the time I spend wishing to be elsewhere dusting the books, washing the china, and putting clean linens on the good bed. And if Tristan would stop bringing the same dead cardinal in through the cat door.

Do you get wanderlust in the spring? Where would you go, if you could "chuck up everything" at this moment?

8 comments:

FreshHell said...

Assuming there would be the money to do it, I'd head to the beach, any warm beach will do and spend the next couple of months there. Or at least two weeks. I need to get back to the garden which is where my heart lives.

Harriet said...

I'm still just trying to figure out if I'm going to Cincinnati on Thursday. But after I figure that out, I'll be dreaming of burying my toes in the sand at the beach in a couple of weeks. It's not instant gratification, but I'm feeling lucky that I get to go to the place I most want to be in an amount of time I can get my head around. But still, a lot of miles on the odometer between now and then.

villanegativa said...

I get my wanderlust in the fall. To myself I've always thought of it as wanting to go questing. In spring I just get a kamikaze sort of urge to move house. It's a negative emotion compared to Larkin's, more, "Oh the hell with it!" than a pull toward stubbly goodness.

I've always loved the phrase "clear off."

Books don't need dusting. It's a protective coating, to be removed upon use.

Time for a cardinal funeral?

Jeanne said...

FreshHell, oh me, too. Any beach.

Harriet, I love the beaches where you're going, although I've never been there this time of year.

Villanegativa, my wanderlust feels kind of like a kamikaze urge, since no one's spring break lines up with anyone else's. And I love the phrase "move house," which I haven't heard since a performance of C.S. Lewis' Shadowlands.

I kind of agree about dusting books. If you don't use them often enough to get dust off, why keep them?

No funerals for cardinals around here, though. It's bad enough by cat logic that I don't eat the bird they bring in as an offering, but to put it in a hole and cover it up like I don't want it? That would just be rude.

Nature is pretty red in tooth and claw around here; there will be no more bird corpse by tomorrow.

Jenners said...

I've definitely been feeling this way. Actually I have a recurring fantasy (influenced by an Anne Tyler book I read) of just driving away one day and randomly stopping in a little town and just starting a new life. I used to think that all the time when I was a new mom and so so tired.

But now I'd just take a few days at the beach.

Jeanne said...

Jenners, oh yeah, Celestial Navigation (the Anne Tyler novel). That's really chucking it all!

PAJ said...

We're heading south in a few weeks. For me that will be enough--just going south, where all budding and blooming plants will be few weeks ahead of those here at home.
Who hasn't wanted to just chuck it all? And then, of course, there are those of us who are always eager to "move house." We're adventurers at heart.
(I learned the word "fo'c'sle" and how to pronounce it from my daughter!)

Jeanne said...

PAJ, I long for Conway, Arkansas this time of year, where things are beginning to bloom. And at the end of March, I long for Laurel, Maryland, with the ornamental pears lining our street and the cherry blossoms opening around the tidal basin.