Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Poem: Uphill by Christina Rossetti

To be honest, I haven't been reading an awful lot of vintage novels lately, which might account for the actual sparseness of vintage novel reviews around here. The fact is that when I want to relax and read something that requires little effort these days, I usually turn to non-fiction. More and more, I put off reading fiction until I'm wide awake and ready to work at reading it.

And no, I didn't accidentally get that the wrong way around. I'm hesitant to say it based on my own experience, but I'm inclined to believe that if you're reading fiction to relax, you might not be getting your money's worth out of it. I love what Clayton Hamilton says in his A Manual of the Art of Fiction:
The purpose of fiction is to embody certain truths of human life in a series of imagined facts. The importance of this purpose is scarcely ever appreciated by the casual careless reader of the novels of a season. Although it is commonly believed that such a reader overestimates the weight of works of fiction, the opposite is true––he underestimates it.
All this aside, I shall certainly be digging into some more vintage books in the upcoming weeks, both non-fiction and fiction. Meanwhile, it occurred to me that I haven't posted a poem in a little while.

Christina Rossetti is one of my favourites, and her poem Uphill is one of my favourites among her poems. Although it is short, simple, and easy to understand, it has the deep sort of simplicity you get in haiku. Without further ado:
Does the road wind up-hill all the way?
Yes, to the very end.
Will the day's journey take the whole long day?
From morn to night, my friend.

But is there for the night a resting-place?
A roof for when the slow dark hours begin.
May not the darkness hide it from my face?
You cannot miss that inn.

Shall I meet other wayfarers at night?
Those who have gone before.
Then must I knock, or call when just in sight?
They will not keep you standing at that door.

Shall I find comfort, travel-sore and weak?
Of labour you shall find the sum.
Will there be beds for me and all who seek?
Yea, beds for all who come.

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