Tuesday, September 18, 2018

"Too Painful To Notice" by Howard Stein

Too Painful To Notice
Howard Stein   
"Monochrome" Ink on Paper
By J. Artemus Gordon
  
For how many decades
of lost spring have I
failed to notice your arrival?

Can yearning be so immense,
despair be so leaden,
that I cannot bear
to give myself over to

          the white sea of Bradford Pear blossoms,
          the unfurling of purple redbud,
          the jaunty heads of yellow jonquils,
          the fiery reds of plump azaleas,
          the fluffy white seeds of cottonwood?

What is spring
to eternal winter?
Winter’s desolation
lasts not a season.

Perpetual winter
is a curse.
Who will dispel it
and let you in?

Poet's Notes:  Yearning for spring during the cold grip of winter is a subject many poets and other artists have long addressed. This poem comes from a different wellspring--an inability to experience spring and rejoice in its renewal, even when blossoms and lavender green leaves grow everywhere, year upon year. The poem uses the inability to appreciate the pleasure of spring as a metaphor for the anhedonia experienced by those suffering from depression.

Editor’s Note:  I read this one as a metaphor for aging or chronic illness rather than depression, but depression is certainly a kind of chronic illness.

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