"Where are the songs of spring? Ay, Where are they?"
Keats once posed this rhetorical question, although in a poem that was actually, and famously, about autumn.
Well, here's one of them, up on the new August 2020 issue of Verse-Virtual.org. It's titled "Et in Arcadia Ego," and is actually about June, a month most of which makes it into the 'spring' category according to the astronomical calendar. (Meteorologists prefer to say summer begins on June 1.)
I wrote the poem looking at our perennial flower garden on a day in early June when the Iris were blooming and the blossoms on the lilac tree were still holding strong. The poem also names some of the other plants blooming within my viewspace on that day.
The title is the sort of phrase that people now call a "meme." Translated as "And I was in Arcadia." Or, "I too was in Arcadia," the phrase has been traced back to various origins. To famous paintings, in which the "I" stands for the figure of Death. To Virgil. To other other sources.
My understanding is that "Arcadia" means the most perfectly untouched natural paradise you can find on earth. One line of scholarship locates that place in the most remote rural part of Ancient Greece, where 'shepherds' -- another meme, standing for those who were naturally good and completely uncorrupted by civilization -- composed pastoral love songs in good clean unsophisticated fun.
This notion of "Arcadia" places it in the Greek peninsula -- called the Peloponnesus -- where Anne and I and our adult children visited a few years back. So, in one sense, I too have been in Arcadia.
My poem, of course, is simply about finding that perfectly natural place in your own backyard, or wherever your special places are.
Here it is:
Et in Arcadia Ego
The characteristics of rustic charm: Will an Adirondack chair do? Temperature: near eighty Companions: Summer Snowflake Viburnum, hands to the side, fingers stretched, a don't-touch-me from the nervous bride. Flag iris, white also, and a couple blue, as if bidding for a role in the wedding. Sadly missing: the show-off yellow, kidnapped, perhaps, by the steadily advancing shadow of Grandfather Oak. Spreading Korean lilac, showing the Japanese maple and the two-toned fashion-plate Wiegelia who's boss in this corner of things. Music? Piano melt. Good government? Hmmm, I've heard the phrase Sports? No. The multi-millionaires are squabbling. You can't have everything. Enjoy the silence while it lasts.
I have two other poems in the August Verse-Virtual. You can find them here.
To find all the poems and other content in this month's issue go here:
Please take a look!
fer.. get ee s... s s