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Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Fifteen Wild Decembers

On a frozen December night, what could be more apt than Emily Bronte's heartfelt 'Remembrance' or 'Fifteen Wild Decembers'? As someone who, to all outward appearances, could not have experienced the sentiments expressed in this poem, Emily Bronte appears to have written it from the mouths of the characters in her imagination but how could she write this unless she knew on some inner level the depths of emotion it expresses? It's endlessly fascinating that so private a person who preferred the company of animals and the freedom of the Moors to being in company (and who became physically ill when deprived of that freedom) had such an incredible power of empathy at the highest level. I think she experienced, on some level, all that wrote not only in her poems but also in one of the most passionate stories of all time, "Wuthering Heights." Nothing is ever as it appears and sometimes those who seem most silent and removed from what passes for depths of emotion, are really experiencing it most deeply. I think Emily Bronte's pen would have thrived on so cold a night as this one!

Cold in the earth, and the deep snow piled above thee!
Far, far removed, cold in the dreary grave!
Have I forgot, my Only Love, to love thee,
Severed at last by Time's all-wearing wave?

Now, when alone, do my thoughts no longer hover
Over the mountains on Angora's shore;
Resting their wings where heath and fern-leaves cover
That noble heart for ever, ever more?

Cold in the earth, and fifteen wild Decembers
From those brown hills have melted into spring--
Faithful indeed is the spirit that remembers
After such years of change and suffering!

Sweet Love of youth, forgive if I forget thee
While the World's tide is bearing me along:
Sterner desires and darker hopes beset me,
Hopes which obscure but cannot do thee wrong.

No other Sun has lightened up my heaven;
No other Star has ever shone for me:
All my life's bliss from thy dear life was given
All my life's bliss is in the grave with thee.

But when the days of golden dreams had perished
And even Despair was powerless to destroy,
Then did I learn how existence could be cherished,
Strengthened and fed without the aid of joy;

Then did I check the tears of useless passion,
Weaned my young soul from yearning after thine;
Sternly denied its burning wish to hasten
Down to that tomb already more than mine!

And even yet, I dare not let it languish,
Dare not indulge in Memory's rapturous pain;
Once drinking deep of that divinest anguish,
How could I seek the empty world again?

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