Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Will You Be Mine?

For Valentine’s Day it’s hard to beat this anonymous 15th century poem:

Western wind, when wilt thou blow
That the small rain down can rain?
Christ, that my love were in my arms,
And I in my bed again!

Or if you prefer it in the original (I especially like westron and rayne):

O westron wynde when wyll thow blow
the smalle rayne downe can rayne
Cryst yf my love wer in my arms
and I yn my bed agayne

I confess I think of this poem whenever I feel discouraged about my work. Do my poems mean anything to anyone? Who would ever want to read them or remember them? I imagine this 15th century poet who may have spent their (his—or her?) whole life writing and their name is forgotten and their life’s work is forgotten except for four lines, but what does it matter? It encourages me to think that’s all it takes—just four good lines! Maybe even four words would be enough: “small rain . . . my love.”

1 comment:

Diane K. Martin said...

Wow! Some western wind out there tonight. I didn't pay attention to when it started, but by 3:30 this afternoon it was (shall we say?) full blown. Maybe you invoked it, Robert.

San Francisco houses are not well insulated. We've closed the chimney flue. Still, as I sit here on the sofa, I can feel the wind on my neck. And it is loud!