Every now and then, I am reminded of the name of this blog, and the fact that more often than not, I write about food, but not literature or philosophy. And although Matt engages with philosophy more often than I, I still read and teach a course on writing about literature. I'm not making any promises, but I'd like to post about literature more often.
I taught this poem a few weeks ago, and had forgotten about how complex it is. Now that I'm grading student essays on poetry, I thought I'd revisit it and share it with you.
The Silken Tent
She is as in a field a silken tent
At midday when a sunny summer breeze
Has dried the dew and all its ropes relent,
So that in guys it gently sways at ease,
And its supporting central cedar pole,
That is its pinnacle to heavenward
And signifies the sureness of the soul,
Seems to owe naught to any single cord,
But strictly held by none, is loosely bound
By countless silken ties of love and thought
To everything on earth the compass round,
And only by one's going slightly taut
In the capriciousness of summer air
Is of the slightest bondage made aware.
My students often miss the comparison that begins the poem, and so I spend a couple minutes at the beginning of class explaining how it works. I also like this poem because it reminds me that summer is on its way, and soon.