November (Helen Maria Hunt Jackson)

Dolce far niente


November’s Last Light door Allison Eklund, 2017



This is the treacherous month when autumn days
With summer’s voice come bearing summer’s gifts.
Beguiled, the pale down-trodden aster lifts
Her head and blooms again. The soft, warm haze
Makes moist once more the sere and dusty ways,
And, creeping through where dead leaves lie in drifts,
The violet returns. Snow noiseless sifts
Ere night, an icy shroud, which morning’s rays
Will idly shine upon and slowly melt,
Too late to bid the violet live again.
The treachery, at last, too late, is plain;
Bare are the places where the sweet flowers dwelt.
What joy sufficient hath November felt?
What profit from the violet’s day of pain?


Helen Maria Hunt Jackson (18 oktober 1830 – 12 augustus 1885)
Een collegegebouw in Amherst, de geboorteplaats van Helen Maria Hunt Jackson


Zie voor de schrijvers van de 18e november ook mijn twee vorige blogs van vandaag.


A Calendar Of Sonnets: July (Helen Maria Hunt Jackson)

Dolce far niente


Japanse brug met waterlelies door Claude Monet, 1890


A Calendar Of Sonnets: July

Some flowers are withered and some joys have died;
The garden reeks with an East Indian scent
From beds where gillyflowers stand weak and spent;
The white heat pales the skies from side to side;
But in still lakes and rivers, cool, content,
Like starry blooms on a new firmament,
White lilies float and regally abide.
In vain the cruel skies their hot rays shed;

The lily does not feel their brazen glare.
In vain the pallid clouds refuse to share
Their dews, the lily feels no thirst, no dread.
Unharmed she lifts her queenly face and head;
She drinks of living waters and keeps fair.


Helen Maria Hunt Jackson (18 oktober 1830 – 12 augustus 1885)
Amherst, de geboorteplaats van Helen Maria Hunt Jackson


Zie voor de schrijvers van de 12e juli ook mijn vorige blog van vandaag.

Helen Maria Hunt Jackson

De Amerikaanse dichteres, schrijfster en activiste Helen Maria Hunt Jackson werd geboren als Helen Fiske in Amherst op 18 oktober 1830. Jackson beschreef de kwalijke gevolgen van het beleid ten opzichte van de indianen in “A Century of Dishonor” (1881). In haar roman “Ramona” (1884) schetste Jackson het zware leven van een meisje van gemengde Schots-indiaanse origine in Zuid-Californië in de periode na de Mexicaans-Amerikaanse Oorlog. Hoewel de roman erin slaagde om voldoende aandacht te vestigen op de indiaanse zaak, werd “Ramona” vooral immens populair door de sterk geromantiseerde beschrijvingen van Zuid-Californië en niet door z’n politieke inhoud. “Ramon: a is naar schatting 300 keer herdrukt en heeft bijgedragen aan de groei in het toerisme in de regio.

Uit: Ramona

“It was sheep-shearing time in Southern California, but sheep-shearing was late at the Senora Moreno’s. The Fates had seemed to combine to put it off. In the first place, Felipe Moreno had been ill. He was the Senora’s eldest son, and since his father’s death had been at the head of his mother’s house. Without him, nothing could be done on the ranch, the Senora thought. It had been always, “Ask Senor Felipe,” “Go to Senor Felipe,” “Senor Felipe will attend to it,” ever since Felipe had had the dawning of a beard on his handsome face.
In truth, it was not Felipe, but the Senora, who really decided all questions from greatest to least, and managed everything on the place, from the sheep-pastures to the artichoke-patch; but nobody except the Senora herself knew this. An exceedingly clever woman for her day and generation was Senora Gonzaga Moreno,—as for that matter, exceedingly clever for any day and generation; but exceptionally clever for the day and generation to which she belonged. Her life, the mere surface of it, if it had been written, would have made a romance, to grow hot and cold over: sixty years of the best of old Spain, and the wildest of New Spain, Bay of Biscay, Gulf of Mexico, Pacific Ocean,—the waves of them all had tossed destinies for the Senora. The Holy Catholic Church had had its arms round her from first to last; and that was what had brought her safe through, she would have said, if she had ever said anything about herself, which she never did,—one of her many wisdoms. So quiet, so reserved, so gentle an exterior never was known to veil such an imperious and passionate nature, brimful of storm, always passing through stress; never thwarted, except at peril of those who did it; adored and hated by turns, and each at the hottest. A tremendous force, wherever she appeared, was Senora Moreno; but no stranger would suspect it, to see her gliding about, in her scanty black gown, with her rosary hanging at her side, her soft dark eyes cast down, and an expression of mingled melancholy and devotion on her face. She looked simply like a sad, spiritual-minded old lady, amiable and indolent, like her race, but sweeter and more thoughtful than their wont. Her voice heightened this mistaken impression. She was never heard to speak either loud or fast. There was at times even a curious hesitancy in her speech, which came near being a stammer, or suggested the measured care with which people speak who have been cured of stammering. It made her often appear as if she did not known her own mind; at which people sometimes took heart; when, if they had only known the truth, they would have known that the speech hesitated solely because the Senora knew her mind so exactly that she was finding it hard to make the words convey it as she desired, or in a way to best attain her ends.”

Helen Maria Hunt Jackson (18 oktober 1830 – 12 augustus 1885)