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February 8, 2007

OGIC: Spring and all

Two matching takes on spring, which seems in this city, this week, impossible—a wild fiction.

First, the copious:

Spring, of all seasons most gratuitous,
Is fold of untaught flower, is race of water,
Is earth's most multiple, excited daughter;
And those she has least use for see her best,
Their paths grown craven and circuitous,
Their visions mountain-clear, their needs immodest.

(Philip Larkin, "Spring")

And the succinct:

Spring is nearly here,
and I want.

(Rachel Ries, "Sad Saturday")

That's a fantastic full stop.

A nice essay on Larkin, including reflections on receiving "Spring" for publication in the author's poetry magazine, lives here. I don't know that I'm very satisfied with its reading of the lines above, however. It doesn't account for what seems to me the most interesting phrase in these lines: "their needs immodest." Who are these needy creatures, and why are they useless to her? This has bothered me for some time and, since I was born on the vernal equinox and have always put some vague stock in the coincidence, I hold something of a personal stake in understanding it better. Please write to me if you have a reading.

Meanwhile, Rachel Ries plays tonight at Chicago's Hideout, where I saw her perform splendidly before the holidays. I'm going to try to be there, but it might prove a little late for me on a school night.

Posted February 8, 2007 1:53 AM

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