“uncomforted as I have ever been”

Day 227: Rain. Photo by Snugg LePup at Flickr. Creative Commons License

Marilyn Hacker’s lament about a dreary April in upstate New York mirrors the experience of many in this stay-at-home world we inhabit these days. It’s going to be a rainy weekend here in Indiana if the weather forecast proves accurate, so this may just be the perfect poem for today.

• • •

April Interval IV
By Marilyn Hacker

There was no spring in Saratoga Springs.
I’ve spent a month under relentless rain,
uncomforted as I have ever been
though not in jail, love, anguish, debt, or pain.
No deft phrases or well-proportioned lines
relieve the repetitions of routine.
Sodden, the leaflings spoil. Only the pines
are green. My solace has been buying things:
a white duck jacket, insulated boots,
three patchwork quilts dead countrywomen pieced.
It snowed last week, then thawed. A few released
yellow and purple crocuses uplifted
between shade trees on lawns. The wet wind shifted
and rain battered them back against the roots.

23 thoughts on ““uncomforted as I have ever been”

  1. Mike, I’ve been wondering how the crisis has affected you and your work as hospice chaplain. Will there be a blog post about it?

    A lot of your work must be in hospitals and nursing homes, which are now off-limits to you. Are you able to connect with patients and family members by phone or electronically? Do you meet with people for a walk?

    The tragedy is that there must be an increased need for your service, at a time when your hands are tied. So far in this state, more than one-half of the covid-19 deaths have been in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. I think the figures are similar nation-wide.

    It’s OK to feel frustrated. And it sounds like you need a chaplain, too. We’re praying for you.


  2. That’s what I’m saying, Robert. I didn’t think you were being critical, I was just being honest. I don’t do well with lack of structure in the best of times. These days…well let’s just say I’m pretty useless most of the time.

    As today’s poem said:

    No deft phrases or well-proportioned lines
    relieve the repetitions of routine.


  3. When we moved to the Albany NY area from Middle Tennessee, I was afraid of the cold. But it was tolerable until April came. In the south April is the month everything starts to come put, although some things are out in March… but by April the renewal of life is well on its way. In Albany the days were 13 hours long and still nothing would grow because it was below freezing every night. I remember the first year, I saw my first forsythia on May 6. I love the Capital District in August, but not so much this time of year.

    Here the spring is a little earlier. I was afraid the frost would kill the magnolia blossoms, but they were magnificent for a good long time. The hard freeze didn’t show up until the tree was half gone to leaf, and now it just looks brown from a distance. They’ll come back, they always do… but the look of death still makes me sad.


  4. My lament was not meant as a criticism of you, CM, and I’m sorry if it came off that way. It’s a hard — and strange — road we are on now, the landmarks have disappeared, and the sense of forward movement of any kind is missing. The landscape has altered completely. The restaurants are not open, and the brunches have all been suspended.


  5. Oh for the Saturday iMonk Brunch’s of yore. Pandemic has taken them away, along with a good many other things. Perhaps one day they will return — only time will tell.


  6. We had an extremely mild winter here in Our Nation’s Capital but ever since Spring officially began it’s been cool and rainy. We’re supposed to have a glimmer of sun this afternoon before the rain moves in again. The walls started closing in so yesterday I went over to the entrance to Rock Creek Park nearest me and spent the afternoon walking through drizzly woods. The crows were out in force and I spent a while watching a tiny spider climbing a park bench. In these times such things keep us sane.


  7. Yes, same here, Christiane. May God fill you with some divine comfort and peace today and the days ahead.


  8. I can’t find words, Christiane, other than these poor pitiful ones.

    God be with all of you in whatever lay ahead.


  9. to all who offered prayers yesterday and words of comfort, I thank you so much

    God Bless you all, and keep you safe of virus and all evil.


  10. Hello Susan
    thank you for your words of comfort yesterday,
    that meant so much

    there’s a poem that fits with your special day, this is an excerpt:

    “They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
    Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
    They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted;
    They fell with their faces to the foe.

    They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
    Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
    At the going down of the sun and in the morning
    We will remember them.”

    (from ‘For the Fallen’ by Laurence Binyon)

    remembrance is important, ‘lest we forget’

    my Jim is on a ventilator, signs are very poor, they give no hope for when he is taken off . . . .
    my dear son is home from Alaska to be with us at this time

    two days ago, my husband told me about a rabbit in the back of the property,
    this morning, I looked out and yes, I saw the rabbit too, more of a ‘bunny’
    God Comes Near 🙂

    My prayers for you and your John, that things be as good as they can be for you both
    God Bless !


  11. We’ve been having a late winter here in Saskatchewan too, till earlier this week when things suddenly swung round. Combined with everything that is going on in the world it was a dreary month indeed. But spring is about to kick off, what with our first rain yesterday, so things are looking up!


  12. through early grey fog
    we remember our fallen
    they died so we live

    Lest we forget

    Anzac Day in Australia and New Zealand
    25th April, 2020


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