In which we find Bec, seized by an un-poetic and unforgiving mood, interrogating a Ralph Waldo Emerson poem, because the sages say boredom is its own excuse for being.
In May, when sea-winds pierced our solitudes,
Evocative, but is starting with weather clichéd scene setting?
I found the fresh Rhodora in the woods,
That’s nice, but who is this I, a botanist and where’s the ‘our’ gone?
Spreading its leafless blooms in a damp nook,
Interesting image, but lacks concreteness, tell me more…
To please the desert and the sluggish brook.
Anthropomorphism alert. Why assume brooks can be pleased?
The purple petals , fallen in the pool,
No specifics. Gonna have to look up Rhodora aren’t I?
Made the black water with their beauty gay;
Nice, ‘black water’. Again with the knowing the water is made happy or bright.
Here might the red-bird come his plumes to cool,
Might? Surely this is more probable than happy brooks?
And court the flower that cheapens his array.
Huh. Just like the birds and bees. You do know it’s a metaphor?
Rhodora! if the sages ask thee why
This charm is wasted on the earth and sky,
It’s a biological imperative and not wasted.
Tell them, dear, that if eyes were made for seeing,
Dear? Bit condescending. And what’s with the ‘if’?
Then Beauty is its own excuse for being:
So beauty is the big boss around here?
Why thou wert there, O rival of the rose!
Anthropomorphosis Rhodora’s thinking – what’s a rose? Imported rubbish I bet.
I never thought to ask, I never knew:
Because you’re condescending. Remember?
But, in my simple ignorance, suppose
Now we’re talking. Getting to some truth.
The self-same Power that brought me there brought you.
Yeah. You mean Evolution? Or that ‘Manifest Destiny’ claptrap?