Therefore all seasons shall be sweet to thee,
Whether summer clothe the general earth
With greeness, or the redbreast sit and sing
Betwixt the tufts of snow on the bare branch
Of mossy apple-tree, while the nigh thatch
Smokes in the sun-thaw; whether the eave-drops fall
Heard only in the trances of the blast,
Or if the secret ministry of frost
Shall hang them up in silent icicles,
Quietly shining to the quiet Moon.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Now Stir The Fire....

Now stir the fire, and close the shutters fast,
Let fall the curtains, wheel the sofa round,
And, while the bubbling and loud-hissing urn
Throws up a steamy column, and the cups,
That cheer but not inebriate, wait on each,
So let us welcome peaceful ev'ning in.

Oh winter, ruler of th' inverted year,
Thy scatter'd hair with sleet like ashes fill'd,
Thy breath congeal'd upon thy lips, thy cheeks
Fring'd with a beard made white with other snows
Than those of age, thy forehead wrapp'd in clouds,
A leafless branch thy sceptre, and thy throne
A sliding car, indebted to no wheels,
But urg'd by storms along its slipp'ry way,

I love thee, all unlovely as thou seem'st,
And dreaded as thou art! Thou hold'st the sun
A pris'ner in the yet undawning east,
Short'ning his journey between morn and noon,
And hurrying him, impatient of his stay,
Down to the rosy west; but kindly still
Compensating his loss with added hours
Of social converse and instructive ease,

And gath'ring, at short notice, in one group
The family dispers'd, and fixing thought,
Not less dispers'd by day-light and its cares.
I crown thee king of intimate delights,
Fire-side enjoyments, home-born happiness,
And all the comforts that the lowly roof
Of undisturb'd retirement, and the hours
Of long uninterrupted ev'ning, know.

William Cowper 1731-1800

I am a bear of very little brain this morning so I'm cheating a little by posting yet another poem with some paintings as illustrations. Not very inspired I'm afraid but the cold I'm currently dosing with elderberry rob seems to have deprived me of the power of coherent thought! I shall try and produce something better during the coming week. For now it's on with knitting a nice warm jumper for Gabriel I think. Stephen and his family are on their way to Heathrow at the moment - problems with the non arrival of visas meant they didn't travel last week and their flight now leaves on Tuesday evening. They are going down today and staying two nights in a hotel at Heathrow to be sure of actually getting there, having had to rearrange the flights once they don't want to find that the snow prevents them from getting to the airport. We are apparently due for another lot of snow later today up here in what is currently the Frozen North and I suspect that it might be slow going on the M1 and the M25 today as they were forecasting heavy snow for the southern counties last night. Never mind, every day is another day nearer to Spring and scenes like this!


Pomona said...

It's cold and snowy here, too - I wish I had some shutters to batten down my hatches! Spring seems almost unimaginable!

Pomona x

MoominMamma said...

I loved the poem and the images - they are just beautiful!
I hope those that are travelling arrive safely, and that you feel better soon! Keep warm xx

Morning's Minion said...

I often ponder during January that the benefits of electric light, central heating, hot water at the turn of a faucet, are so recent in the history of the world. The words of the Cowper poem transcend the generations--we all want to complain about the weather, whether we can do it lyrically as he did, or simply whine [as I do!]
I trust you will pamper yourself a bit in the sudden quiet of your home--be warm and be well again.

Tea with Willow said...

Lovely poem - sums up the season so well! Thanks for your comment on my blog ... I grew up in a little village called Willington, about 10 miles outside Chester - would dearly love to go back to that area to live one day! I know Macclesfield quite well - did some of my 'courting' around there!!

I hope your family have a safe trip back - it's always a worry when folks have to travel in this, isn't it.

Willow x

Roy said...

I think it was very inspired Rowan.
Hope you get well soon. Perhaps some Elderberry Wine instead.{:)

Thimbleanna said...

Ha! Ever the optimist! Spring will be here before we know it -- in the meantime, I'm loving the snow - hope you are too. Thanks for sharing that beautiful poem and the pictures!

Janet said...

I've been seeing on the news that you're getting a lot of snow. Just stay inside where it's warm and keep knitting. And some hot tea wouldn't hurt either!

Hildred and Charles said...

A nice posting, - never apologize for great poetry and lovely illustrations, - I have the January blahs and they lifted my spirits more than imperceptibly!!

Hope that your cold weather soon leaves, and that you soon feel more like 'yourself'.

Yarrow said...

Hope you feel better soon, Rowan. Take care and wrap up warm :)

FireLight said...

Rowan, this is absolutely perfect and beautiful! I really enjoyed the poem and the images are right on time....even for Alabama....we have had very cold nights for a solid week now .... in the teens....brrr! I think there is a slight warming trend for the coming week. Feel better!
PS I had tried to send you an eCard for the holidays...which has remained unopened...I just checked and you have a new address...I will resend!

Wanda said...

I enjoyed your lovely post Rowan, the picture of the lambs in the snow was very special...It's been snowing here for 3 days now and very cold. Stay warm and feel better soon.

Dog Trot Farm said...

Rowan, feel better soon. I enjoyed the poetry and art illustrations. I delight in the cozy feeling that winter brings to me. I sit close to the wood stove and bring out my latest hooking project and time just seems to slip away.

Julie said...

Poems are always welcome, and the paintings are wonderful. I used the sheep one in December for a post.

The weather finally moderated today after being -33 F. earlier this week. I have been doing a lot of cocooning - drink hot cocoa, reading, etc.

Hope it warms up there too.

Von said...

Lovely post, hope that wasn't an apology I saw there,watch that Rob he can be quite intoxicating!
A peaceful evening? With those two furry scamps knocking over the teacups? Macclesfield,know it well, lived in Derbyshire for a time.Here in SA we have a Macclesfield too, named after the British one because the countryside is rather similir.It has stone walls too.

Cat said...

Stay warm and safe!

Hollace said...

You do better on your "off" days than most of us on our best days, so don't try to rustle up more! I love the warmth of the Cowper poem and it's so good to be reminded of beauties from the past.
Hope your family makes their flight connections in weather conditions--my brother and his family missed out on their Christmas cruise in the Caribbean because of flights jammed up in Chicago and snow in Philadelphia...sad. They spent 4 days trying to get out of Chicago instead!

Hope you feel better soon.

Rosie said...

I've really anjoyed the poem and accompanying illustrations! Hope you feel better soon and that your family arrive at their destination safely. Take care and keep warm:)

Derrick said...

Hello Rowan,

Sorry you're feeling under the weather; no surprise! but feel well soon.

Love your new template, so I've pinched one for the shop blog too! Enjoyed the poem and pics as well. 'Now stir the fire' indeed!

Hope your son and family had a safe journey south and that all goes well with their flight. S.A. will be a lot warmer!

Roy said...

Forgot to mention Rowan that I really like the Sheep in the Snow painting by Joseph Farquharson.

Diane said...

Poor Rowan - wrap up warm. There is no end to it is there!!! I just hope we are compensated with a long hot summer! xxxx

sally said...

Poems great! Hope to see you soon.Cowper kept pet hares - did you know?

Shirl said...

Lovely poem, I too am feeling the effects of the low temperatures. Thankfully we are starting to thaw here. Hope your son's journey goes well.

Shirl xxx

PAT said...

I enjoyed the poem and images, Rowan.

I rarely have a cold but have had two this winter! I hope you are feeling better soon!

We are at the lake. The temps are warming so our snow will be melted away, soon. There is ice on the lake. I shot a few photos this afternoon. Weather guys tell us this isn't the January Thaw. I'm sure we are going to see more snow, before winter is finished.

Gracie said...

I'm back home after 4 freezing days in London....I won't complain never again about cold here where I live, I swear!
Gracie @

Bovey Belle said...

Keep warm and I hope you are better soon, despite more snow! I posted a letter to you the day before yesterday so it should be with you soon.

We got off lightly with the latest fall of snow yesterday morning and the previous afternoon. Pembrokeshire had it much worse, looking at a friend's blog, and "they" say parts of Wales had drifts 7 ft deep . . .

Lovely Cowper poem and illustrations. Just off to stir our fire before venturing out with a shovel to clear the road in front of our driveway, which is getting a wall of slush across it.

P.S. G and her friend got safely back to Durham yesterday after we dropped her off early at A's house on Monday.

Jenny said...

I hope that you're feeling better by now. I don't mind the poems with paintings at all! I especially wanted to thank you for the lovely picture at the end- it's very dark and gray here today and your picture gives me hope!