In silence there is darkness, anxiety, fear. In darkness, lights fulfil their promise.
In silence, I remember the darkness of the first Christmas; the anxiety, the fear. I remember the Star of Wonder, the guiding light.
‘By my bed, on a little round table
The Grandmother placed a candle.
She gave me three kisses telling me they were three
And tucked me in just where I loved being tucked.
Then she went out of the room and the door was shut.
I lay still, waiting for my three dreams to talk;
But they were silent……..’
from The Candle by Katherine Mansfield
Silence, darkness, emptiness…all so intimidating, but so very rich.
Indeed! So rich, if we can only get past the initial fear.
A beautiful poem describing the hope of light in the dark.
Isn’t it wonderful! I especially like the reference to frightened children; I was one such child.
And speaking of candles, Eve has a small matted and wooden-framed copy of this poster:
In my book, it beats a lot of current ads.
It certainly does. The Pears ads were always lovely.
I agree. My grandmother loved Pears soap.
Eve has a treasure there!
This is one of those poems that so captures my own experience (in this case, going to bed as a child), I can only say to the poet, How did you know?
Indeed. I didn’t much like going to bed as a child because of the dark and the silence. When I was young there were no artificial light sources outside, or in the room; dark was dark. And I was not as brave as the child in the poem. Once I was in bed, I stayed there. After all there could be a goblin under the bed! Or a monster in the wardrobe. 😀
This has been such a nice series, so mellow and a little dreamy. I’ll be sorry when it’s finished.
Thank you, Kerry. I am enjoying the Quest. At times it is cathartic, too.
I recognized Katherine Mansfield’s name, but didn’t remember reading her. I was surprised to discover that she was quite a short story writer. I read one of her stories, from this site, and it was so dark, even your candle might not have brought light to it. When I read the entire poem you quoted from above, I felt the same darkness.
Still, Annie Dillard’s right: “You do not have to sit outside in the dark. If, however, you want to look at the stars, you will find that darkness is necessary. But the stars neither require nor demand it.”
How well that fits with these lines from Mansfield’s poem:
I crunched my teeth and crept out of bed,
I peeped through a slit of the blind.
There was nothing at all to be seen.
But hundreds of friendly candles all over the sky.”
The site to which you linked is one of my favourites for Katherine Mansfield. And I , too, have found darkness in her work, which is probably why I only read her in small doses and why I wouldn’t choose her for a bedtime read. Re the lovely quote from Annie Dillard, I was thinking today how stars are with us day and night, unchanging, ever present. Google tells me there are people who like to search for stars in the daylight sky.
Scary sometimes, the silence. But that is such a lovely image. So glad I found time. 🙂 🙂
I am so glad you found time, too. I hope you had time to enjoy the post with good coffee and cake. 😉
I love Katherine Mansfield’s poems and her stories too. An underrated woman of distinction! My aunt lived quite close to her home in Thorndon before all was demolished and moved about for the sake of the motorway …… And your gladiola in a jar is a fabulous sight. Your photos are inspirational.
We read a little of Katherine Mansfield at high school, and I have dipped into her work on and off over the years. I think she has been underrated but, to some extent, that has been counteracted by the wonderful Katherine Mansfield Menton Fellowhsip. Thank you for your kind words about my photos.
Katherine Mansfield was one of so many creative people who didn’t live past their 30s. (Mendelssohn, Schubert, and Mozart come to mind as three others.) When we were in Wellington I learned about the Katherine Mansfield House and thought about visiting it, but we ended up not doing that, given our limited time and the pull of so many other things there.
It’s a lovely place to visit but, as you say, there are many other more interesting places to go in Wellington. You made a good choice.
Lovely. I feel blessed to have your inspirational posts. Along with Karen Pickering’s daily musical posts, the two things are hugs of grace each day.
Aww…. a lovely comment. Your friendship is a hug of grace, too.
What a creative way of turning a flower into a candle! May the light of the candle always shine for you! Best wishes! Peter
Thank you, Peter, for your blessing. The flower actually snapped off in the wind, one day, and I decided the best way to keep its beauty alive for as long as possible was to place it in a jar with a little water. It lasted for more than 2 weeks!
Knowing this adds another dimension of loveliness and grace to the photo.
Thank you, Liz. It was such a vibrant colour, it really did feel as though it was a light in the room.
Ah, Katherine Mansfield. Too long since I read her. Time to search the bookshelves. She’s there somewhere.
I have been reading some of her poems online. I am in love with her poems which reference The Grandmother.
I didn’t know her poems, so thanks for the intro.
I didn’t know about them either, until recently.
just like Tish, I’ve had the same reaction:”ah, Katherine Mansfield!” – comme disait Voltaire:”les grands et beaux esprits se rencontrent…” 🙂
And I must say, “Ah, Voltaire!”
I had exactly the same thought, Tish!
Katherine Mansfield is good to re-read, I find. Some authors don’t lend themselves to re-reading but she does.
Off we go then 🙂
You can organize a read-along. 🙂 🙂 Do get you started you can listen to my (poor) recording of Katherine Mansfield’s poem, Butterfly Laughter. https://youtu.be/3IOljHrABtM I am sure a butterfly’s laugh is not heard by many of us. 🙂
This is lovely, Ann. Just been over to YouTube.
🙂 🙂 There is another Katherine Mansfield reading there, too. It’s one of my Tuesday Prose readings. The Butterfly poem is my favourite, though.
It stays with you that butterfly 🙂
It was lovely to hear the sound of your voice, Ann!
Thank you, Liz. The videos are a way for me to challenge my speaking voice. I only allow myself two takes. Sometimes that works well, sometimes not. 😀