Light, Chill and Yellow

For a few days, it seemed too good to be true: all that heat at the end of March, the sun spilling fool’s gold. It was true though, however, it was too good to last – at this time of the year anyway. I don’t mind the change back to chill. I don’t mind that spring feels like spring, that the walls between the seasons have been re-instated, and that the brisk nip of early April has returned. I have a vivid memory of sledging once on Easter Sunday, of seeking out a fresh fall of snow up by the Knockagh Monument that stands on a height on the north shore of Belfast Lough. I’m talking twenty or more years ago, but all the same, I don’t associated Easter with balmy weather and barbecues and beaches (other than windswept and freezing ones). So, whenever people tell me – with astonishment – that snow and freezing temperatures are forecast, I wonder at their inability to remember that it’s barely April. Despite the fall in temperature, I feel a gentle bubbling up of something today, it could be madness because I have woken up too early and my brain is still a bit befuddled, but I’m inclined to call it hope. And it is not tethered to any particular expectation or ambition. Maybe it is down to the pale light of morning, today’s clear, blue sky, and the smudges of white cloud that seem to herald a future that is less doom laden than the last year has been. I know it is only a mood, but after having enough food to eat, a roof over one’s head and a bed to sleep in, one’s mood makes all the difference. What does it matter if there is some freezing weather in the offing? It’s nothing a triple layer of clothing and a bobble hat can’t deal with (followed by an easter egg and a cup of tea).

Coming, Philip Larkin

On longer evenings,
Light, chill and yellow,
Bathes the serene
Foreheads of houses.
A thrush sings,
Laurel-surrounded
In the deep bare garden,
Its fresh-peeled voice
Astonishing the brickwork.
It will be spring soon,
It will be spring soon—
And I, whose childhood
Is a forgotten boredom,
Feel like a child
Who comes on a scene
Of adult reconciling,
And can understand nothing
But the unusual laughter,
And starts to be happy.

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