Friday, February 22, 2013

April Twilights by Willa Cather (The Willa Cather Project).

When I launched my Willa Cather project, I was actually surprised to see that Cather had a volume of poetry, and that it was the first thing she ever had published! I never thought of Cather as a poet, since I hadn't run across her poems before. Just shows you that good research on authors is invaluable. ;)

Anyway, I began my Cather reading by diving into her poetry and was surprised to see that I really enjoyed it. Granted, there were a few that didn't strike a chord with me, but Cather was a pretty good poet. As I read through April Twilights, I found myself drawn to the pastoral poems, since that is the writing I have read and associated with her.

One of my favorites was "The Hawthorn Tree:"
Across the shimmering meadows--
Ah, when he came to me!
In the spring-time,
In the night-time,
In the starlight,
Beneath the hawthorn tree.
Up from the misty marsh-land--
Ah, when he climbed to me!
To my white bower,
To my sweet rest,
To my warm breast,
Beneath the hawthorn tree.
Ask of me what the birds sang,
High in the hawthorn tree;
What the breeze tells,
What the rose smells,
What the stars shine--
Not what he said to me!
I just love the flow and feeling behind that poem-and it reminds me of O Pioneers!

Another favorite was "Eurydice:"
A bitter doom they did upon her place:

She might not touch his hand nor see his face
The while he led her up from death and dreams
Into his world of bright Arcadian streams.
For all of him she yearned to touch and see,
Only the sweet ghost of his melody;
For all of him she yearned to have and hold,
Only the wraith of song, sweet, sweet and cold.
With only song to stop her ears by day
And hold above her frozen heart alway,
And strain within her arms and glad her sight,
With only song to feed her lips by night,
To lay within her bosom only song—
Sweetheart! The way from Hell's so long, so long!

I suppose I felt drawn to that one because of my recent mythology class. But the feeling and emotion just grabbed me.

In all, I really enjoyed the collection of poems. You can tell that Cather was trying some things out as the poems progressed, and that she was still finding her voice as a writer. I'm looking forward to seeing how that transitions as she moves into short stories and novels!

*This title was read as a part of The Willa Cather Project-my focused attempt to read Cather's complete works in chronological order. Click on the link for more information about the project and my goals.*

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