Accustomed to the Dark…

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In the deep, dismal depths of the Scottish Highland winter, Algy perched in a wee bush which still held a few decorative leaves and looked out into the darkness. Daylight was severely rationed now: the nights lasted well into the mornings, and started again in the mid-afternoons. But Algy knew that the year would soon be turning, and in the meantime he was growing accustomed to the darkness. He was reminded of a poem by Emily Dickinson, which he shares – with lots of fluffy hugs – with all his friends in the northerly latitudes of the world:

We grow accustomed to the Dark –
When Light is put away –
As when the Neighbor holds the Lamp
To witness her Good bye –

A Moment – We Uncertain step
For newness of the night –
Then – fit our Vision to the Dark –
And meet the Road – erect –

And so of larger – Darknesses –
Those Evenings of the Brain –
When not a Moon disclose a sign –
Or Star – come out – within –

The Bravest – grope a little –
And sometimes hit a Tree
Directly in the Forehead –
But as they learn to see –

Either the Darkness alters –
Or something in the sight
Adjusts itself to Midnight –
And Life steps almost straight.

[Algy is quoting the poem We grow accustomed to the Dark by the 19th century American poet Emily Dickinson.]

Dancing Softly to Himself

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For as far as Algy’s eye could see, delicate, lacy spiders’ webs and gossamers were strung across the grasses and low-lying plants of the moorland and peat bogs, each one glistening with its own special string of dew drop pearls. It looked like a magical, misty fairyland, and Algy was entranced. Choosing a spot that was not too impossibly soggy, he perched there for a while, watching the webs sparkle in the morning light and their tiny inhabitants going about their daily business. He remembered a poem by Emily Dickinson, and wondered just how many spiders were dancing softly to themselves in his tiny wee corner of the Scottish Highlands… and how many must therefore be dancing across the great wide world as a whole…

The spider holds a Silver Ball
In unperceived Hands –
And dancing softly to Himself
His Yarn of Pearl – unwinds –

He plies from Nought to Nought –
In unsubstantial Trade –
Supplants our Tapestries with His –
In half the period –

An Hour to rear supreme
His Continents of Light –
Then dangle from the Housewife’s Broom –
His Boundaries – forgot –

[Algy is quoting the poem The Spider Holds a Silver Ball by the 19th century American poet Emily Dickinson.]

Another day was drawing to a close, and for a short while the West Highland sky turned a colour rarely seen during this dismally dark and gloomy winter. But each day now was noticeably longer and brighter than the last, and when Algy gazed at the beautiful blue above him, and watched the world turn once again as the light slowly faded, he thought of the coming spring and felt a new surge of hope – so he sang the tune without the words, to send to all his friends, at home and abroad 🙂

“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –

And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard –
And sore must be the storm –
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm –

[Algy is quoting the first two verses of the poem “Hope” is the thing with feathers by the 19th century American poet Emily Dickinson.]

It was that time of year again, and a typical equinoctial gale was on its way. Algy decided that he had had enough of being buffeted and thrown about by the wind, so this time he took cover at the foot of a strange cliff near the end of the beach. As he perched on a low ledge, with his back firmly against the sheltering wall of rock, he thought of a poem by Emily Dicikinson:

The wind begun to rock the grass
With threatening tunes and low —
He flung a menace at the earth,
A menace at the sky.

The leaves unhooked themselves from trees
And started all abroad;
The dust did scoop itself like hands
And throw away the road.

The wagons quickened on the streets,
The thunder hurried slow;
The lightning showed a yellow beak,
And then a livid claw.

The birds put up the bars to nests,
The cattle fled to barns;
There came one drop of giant rain,
And then, as if the hands

That held the dams had parted hold,
The waters wrecked the sky,
But overlooked my father’s house,
Just quartering a tree.

[Algy is quoting a poem by the 19th century American poet Emily Dickinson.]

adventuresofalgy:

Algy was appalled and dreadfully saddened by the awful events in Paris last night. He quickly turned himself into a Tricolor fluffy bird, and perched beside a calm, silent pool, thinking of everyone suffering in France and elsewhere as a result of human violence.

Algy is thinking especially of his dear friends in Paris today, and in these dark and dreadful hours he sings this famous poem by Emily Dickinson for you, and says please do not let go of hope. Algy is praying a fluffy bird prayer for you all today, and for peace xoxo

“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –

And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard –
And sore must be the storm –
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm –

[Algy is quoting the first two stanzas of the poem “Hope” is the thing with feathers by the 19th century American poet Emily Dickinson.]

Algy is so terribly sad to have to reblog this image – which he had hoped never to have to use again after the awful attacks in Paris in November 2015 – but to his dismay, the horror continues…

He sends his fluffiest hugs to his dear friends in France, especially those on the Côte d’Azure, and to all his friends around the world who long for peace xoxoxo

It was another fine bright day, so Algy took a book of verse down to the place where the quiet burn tumbles through a wee channel with a soothing sort of gurgling, sploshing noise. He perched on the grass opposite the bed of wild irises, which were just beginning to shoot up their spiky green leaves again, and settled down with his book balanced on his knees to enjoy a happy Sunday morning’s reading. As he turned the pages he came upon a most appropriate rhyme:

          Bee! I’m expecting you!
          Was saying Yesterday
          To Somebody you know
          That you were due—

          The Frogs got Home last Week—
          Are settled, and at work—
          Birds, mostly back—
          The Clover warm and thick—

          You’ll get my Letter by
          The seventeenth; Reply
          Or better, be with me—
          Yours, Fly.

[Algy is quoting the poem Bee! I’m Expecting You! by the 19th century American poet Emily Dickinson.]                

The beach was flooded with stormy March light, and the dazzling surface of the water sparkled and shimmered like highly polished silver. But the gale-force wind howling in from the ocean was not to be taken lightly; it was vicious and cold, and Algy had to tuck himself tightly into a crevice in the rocks to prevent being blown away. With his feathers streaming backwards in the wind, Algy clung onto the rocks at each side and gazed out to sea, towards the black hail-clouds that were sweeping in rapidly from the west, and the blinding light which was flooding the beach from the south. Algy knew that very soon the brilliant light would be gone, and it reminded him of a poem by Emily Dickinson:

          A light exists in spring
           Not present on the year
          At any other period.
           When March is scarcely here

          A color stands abroad
           On solitary hills
          That science cannot overtake,
           But human nature feels.

          It waits upon the lawn;
           It shows the furthest tree
          Upon the furthest slope we know;
           It almost speaks to me.

          Then, as horizons step,
           Or noons report away,
          Without the formula of sound,
           It passes, and we stay:

          A quality of loss
           Affecting our content,
          As trade had suddenly encroached
           Upon a sacrament.

[ Algy is quoting the poem A light exists in spring by the 19th century American poet Emily Dickinson. ]