The Land of No More Night

The Song of the Lark  Jules Breton c1884 Art Institute of Chicago
The Song of the Lark
Jules Breton c1884
Art Institute of Chicago

“Heaviness may endure for a night, by Joy cometh in the morning.”

No thing is great on this side of the grave,
Nor anything of any stable worth:
Whatso is born from earth returns to earth:
No thing we grasp proves half the thing we crave:
The tidal wave shrinks to the ebbing wave:
Laughter is folly, madness lurks in mirth:
Mankind sets off a-dying from the birth:
Life is a losing game, with what to save?
Thus I sat mourning like a mournful owl,
And like a doleful dragon made ado,
Companion of all monsters of the dark:
When lo! the light cast off its nightly cowl,
And up to heaven flashed a carolling lark,
And all creation sang its hymn anew.

While all creation sang its hymn anew
What could I do but sing a stave in tune?
Spectral on high hung pale the vanishing moon
Where a last gleam of stars hung paling too.
Lark’s lay – a cockcrow -with a scattered few
Soft early chirpings-with a tender croon
Of doves-a hundred thousand calls, and soon
an hundred thousand answers sweet and true.
These set me singing too at unawares:
One note for all delights and charities,
one note for hope reviving with the light,
one note for every lovely thing that is;
Till while I sang my heart shook off its cares

And revelled in the land of no more night.

Christina Rossetti

Night has been challenging for me lately.   Sudden wakefulness will strike, and I often have no idea why.  I will look out the window for a while, slip back into bed, only to toss and turn.   I’ll eventually try to tiptoe down the very creaky hallway, grab a book, and curl up on the loveseat hoping to read myself to sleep.  Other times I’ll creep down the even creakier steps to get a drink of water from the kitchen and court sleep by watching something I’ve already seen on Netflix.   Eventually I will fall asleep, and wake up feeling cotton-ball-brained, until I go for a walk in the fresh air, and hear the birds chirping and calling to one another.  It’s particularly beautiful this time of year when the males are courting.  One morning last week  I found this poem by Christina Rossetti which so perfectly describes the frustration of the night, followed by the utter joy of the morning.

Lark song has inspired poems, paintings and musical composition.  I particularly like this work, The Lark, by Mikhail Glinka (Russian 1804-1857) arranged for piano.

Lately I can’t get enough of Vincent Van Gogh.

Edge of a Wheat Field with Poppies and a Lark, Vincent Van Gogh, Spring 1887 Private Collection
Edge of a Wheat Field with Poppies and a Lark, Vincent Van Gogh, Spring 1887 Private Collection

Thanks for reading!  You bless me.

 

 

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