Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Welcoming Sumor (Summer) - 2016

The Southerner delights in myth-telling, which is to say, truth told through story rather than by rational argument.

Summer in the SouĂ°, with its warm, relaxing air, only tends to strengthen this ingoading of his, as one may see in this poem by the Georgia poet Paul Hamilton Hayne, ‘A Dream of the South Winds’:

O FRESH, how fresh and fair
Through the crystal gulfs of air,
The fairy South Wind floateth on her subtle wings of balm!
And the green earth lapped in bliss,
To the magic of her kiss
Seems yearning upward fondly through the golden-crested calm!

From the distant Tropic strand,
Where the billows, bright and bland,
Go creeping, curling round the palms with sweet, faint undertune
From its fields of purpling flowers
Still wet with fragrant showers,
The happy South Wind lingering sweeps the royal blooms of June.

All heavenly fancies rise
On the perfume of her sighs,
Which stoop the inmost spirit in a languor rare and fine,
And a peace more pure than sleep's
Unto dim, half-conscious deeps,
Transports me, lulled and dreaming, on its twilight tides divine.

Those dreams! ah me! the splendor,
So mystical and tender,
Wherewith like soft heat-lightnings they gird their meaning round,
And those waters, calling, calling,
With a nameless charm enthralling,
Like the ghost of music melting on a rainbow spray of sound!

Touch, touch me not, nor wake me,
Lest grosser thoughts o'ertake me,
From earth receding faintly with her dreary din and jars,--
What viewless arms caress me?
What whispered voices bless me,
With welcomes dropping dewlike from the weird and wondrous stars?

Alas! dim, dim, and dimmer
Grows the preternatural glimmer
Of that trance the South Wind brought me on her subtle wings of balm,
For behold! its spirit flieth,
And its fairy murmur dieth,
And the silence closing round me is a dull and soulless calm!

Source:  Poems of Paul Hamilton Hayne: Electronic Edition, http://docsouth.unc.edu/southlit/hayne/hayne.html#hayne105, 1999, p. 105, © This work is the property of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It may be used freely by individuals for research, teaching and personal use as long as this statement of availability is included in the text.

Russians, though living in a far different climate, likewise seem drawn to myth-telling.  In particular, we hope this musical composition by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, ‘The Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh’, will prove, along with Mr Hayne’s poem, to be an enjoyable way to enter into summer.

About the legend of Kitezh:

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