Friday, August 16, 2013

This world is all on wax, on wane



Apollo 15 Flight Journal Image

Today I'm en route to Nashville, where my oldest will begin attending Vanderbilt University. Seems like a good time to think about waxing and waning and life rolling on in fleetness.

Since the new school year is about to start, this also seems like a good time to thank teachers. Some of my favorites have included Janice Roback (elementary school), Gwendolyn Chenault (middle school, Latin), Ray Van Dyke (high school, English), Carol Manning (undergraduate advisor), and the late Samuel Becker (graduate, Communications). It doesn't get any better than these folks. Thank you.

**********

THE HALF MOON SHOWS A FACE OF PLAINTIVE SWEETNESS
By Christina Rossetti

The half moon shows a face of plaintive sweetness
   Ready and poised to wax or wane;
A fire of pale desire in incompleteness,
   Tending to pleasure or to pain:-
Lo, while we gaze she rolleth on in fleetness
   To perfect loss or perfect gain.
Half bitterness we know, we know half sweetness;
   This world is all on wax, on wane:
When shall completeness round time's incompleteness,
   Fulfilling joy, fulfilling pain?-
Lo, while we ask, life rolleth on in fleetness
   To finished loss or finished gain.

**********

Steps and Staircases is our Poetry Friday round-up host.

11 comments:

Author Amok said...

Tabatha, this must be one of the most glorious poem titles ever. Beautiful and fitting for your beginnings and endings today.

Pop said...

It is an excellent time to remember those teachers that meant the most to us...second only to the end of the school year. :-)

Funny thing, whenever I go through the catalog of my teachers to name the best, I cannot help but remember the not-so-good ones, too.

This, in a way, really emphasizes just how good the good ones were!

Great poem by Rossetti. Thanks!

Tara @ A Teaching Life said...

I had to read and re read this .... Just beautiful. Especially those last two lines, which say so much.

BJ Lee said...

This is stunning! Rossetti at her best!

Jone said...

"Half bitterness we know, we know half sweetness;
This world is all on wax, on wane"
I love this line. Was trying to explain tides to my eight year old recently. thank you for sharing.

LInda Baie said...

I say often how much I love poems about the moon, but I don't know this one. How gorgeous it is, filled with such thoughtfulness: "To perfect loss or perfect gain." Exactly! Thank you!

Madelyn said...

Fabulous choice! And hey, I recognize those teachers =)

Mary Lee said...

Life does "rolleth on," doesn't she? Perfect poem!

Lisa said...

We had a few moon poems this Friday...interesting connections. Thank you for sharing, Tabatha.

I think we all relate to the feelings expressed by Rossetti, as another school year begins.

Hope your trip to Nashville went well. Appreciate you taking time to post during this special moment in you and your child's life.

Lisa
www.stepsandstaircases.tumblr.com

Heidi Mordhorst said...

Why is "fleetness" such an intriguing word? Maybe because by itself or with -ing, it MOVES, but with -ness it becomes a more solid, slow thing. Beautiful and perfect for right now. All the best for Vanderbilt...and thanks for thanking teachers. : )

Liz Steinglass said...

I love the title too but I also love the line you picked out as the title for your post. The world teetering on the edge. Which way will it go? Wax? or Wane?