Friday, November 30, 2012

Mists Upon the Water


For those readers who follow these weekly posts, you know that I have moved from the hot, dry plains of Oklahoma to the hills and valleys in the Ozarks. My husband and I long longed to live near water where we could heed its siren song and bear witness to its beauty.

The lake we see throughout the day in all seasons of the sun is dark and deep. It shivers in the wind, stirring up shirred fabric so delicate and light. Water birds teach us geometry as they make their way across the cove before breaking for the skies above the hills. So much life, so much movement, yet I would describe my new home as placid because a soft blanket comforts me as I walk along its shore or sit mesmerized as if a gifted hypnotist swung a medallion back and forth.

My favorite time is early, early morning, especially if the moon has yet to disappear behind the hills. This morning, the moon was fat and full, a soft yellow gold baton orchestrating the dawn. The stars had given way pianissimo as the mists upon the water rose toward warmer air, a crescendo of intense interplay between realms on high and those below.

Nothing more would I ask of the day that presented itself in such stealth and beauty.

Reading Challenge:

Enjoy William Wilfred Campbell’s poem about mist upon the water.

            A Day of Mists

The crags and the low shores kneel
Like ghosts, in the fogs that reel,
And glide, and shiver, and feel
For the shores with their shadowy hands.
Earth and heaven are grey;

The worlds of waters are grey,
And out in the fog-haunted day
A spectre—the lighthouse—stands.
And far from some caverned shore,
There cometh the distant roar

Of the lake-surf’s beat and din;
While wraith-like over the land,
From low white isles of sand
Of far off Michigan,
The fogs come drifting in.

I stand in the shrouded day,
But my heart is far away
With a grave in a lonely bay
Where the crags like eaglets cling;
And under the drive and drift

Of the vapors that sometime lift,
And loom, and lower, and shift,
The lake-birds scream and sing.

William Wilfred Campbell

Writing Challenge:

Recall the beginnings of a day that filled you with peace. Describe it.

GUM (Grammar, Usage and Mechanics):

While discussing the opening paragraphs of two excellent novels, Into the Woods by Tana French (11.2.2012) and The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers (11.9.2012), I noted the power of alliteration to emphasize meanings and add rhythm to prose passages. Campbell’s poem makes liberal use of alliteration. Note, for example, the last lines and words that begin with “L:” lift, loom, lower, lake. By selecting such diction, Campbell has delivered a strong closing, one that reverberates, carrying us along with the movement he describes. Find other examples of alliteration used to good effect in Campbell’s poem.