December 1, 2013

I cannot find my way; there is no star
In all the shrouded heavens anywhere
. . .
— Edwin Arlington Robinson, 1869-1935
American poet

holi13badge-snowflakeHello Advent, hello Holidailies, hello readers familiar and new. It’s the first Sunday in Advent 2013. “lu [look up] — Edwin Arlington Robinson – “Credo” – an Advent poem.” I found the note scribbled in the margins of my journal for this date last year. I can’t find any evidence that I followed up on that.

Edwin Arlington Robinson is most famous for his poem “Richard Cory,” about a man who appears to have every advantage but who nevertheless succumbs to despair. Robinson’s work in general is pessimistic, and though he won the Pulitzer Prize three times, he is, nearly eighty years after his death, an undervalued and seldom read poet, except for “Richard Cory” and “Miniver Cheevy,” another poem about a character bent on self-destruction.

Is that any way to start Holidailies, a glad and giddy romp through the weeks leading up to Christmas?

Robinson continues:

No, there is not a glimmer, nor a call,
For one that welcomes, welcomes when he fears,
The black and awful chaos of the night . . .

I’ve been looking forward to the start of Holidailies for most of November, when once again the sheer size of the NaBloPoMo community and the clutter of its web portal just made me tired. Holidailies, in its community and its structure, always perks me up and carries me through, even when the season presents more reasons to be glum than to be glad. I write more, and I write better material, both in my public nonfiction and in my continuing efforts to grow as a fiction writer. This morning in church we sang one of my favorite Advent songs, the one that calls us to be brave and loving and fearless. My Advent wreath is in place and operational, and the tree is assembled, waiting for lights and ornaments and gifts beneath it. I didn’t even bring it up from storage the last two years.

“Credo” is a sonnet, a form which often wrestles with a problem through most of its fourteen lines before making a turn toward resolution. In the nick of time, Robinson gets it:

For through it all — above, beyond it all —
I know the far sent message of the years,
I feel the coming glory of the light

Journey with me this year. I don’t promise gladness and giddyness, but I do promise thirty-one meditations on what it means to be alive and well and full of forward motion as I beat back the awful chaos of the night.

Thank you for reading, so much, so often.

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One thought on “Credo

  1. I’m not familiar with Robinson’s work – I’ll have to check it out! I gave up on NaBloPoMo a while ago myself when it went from feeling quaint to corporate. I look forward to stopping by again! Cheers!

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