If Stump Watch comes, can Helen Hunt Jackson be far behind? No, she can’t – luckily for me, as I’m afraid the prospect of an intensive series of meetings about Savings and Cuts has rendered me incapable of independent thought. Dear God, what a squalid business.
Anyway, here’s Helen, with her thoughts for the month –
Still lie the sheltering snows, undimmed and white;
And reigns the winter’s pregnant silence still;
No sign of spring, save that the catkins fill,
And willow stems grow daily red and bright.
These are the days when ancients held a rite
Of expiation for the old year’s ill,
And prayer to purify the new year’s will:
Fit days, ere yet the spring rains blur the sight,
Ere yet the bounding blood grows hot with haste,
And dreaming thoughts grow heavy with a greed
The ardent summer’s joy to have and taste;
Fit days, to give to last year’s losses heed,
To reckon clear the new life’s sterner need;
Fit days, for Feast of Expiation placed!
What does she mean, I wonder by “These are the days when ancients held a rite/ of expiation for the old year’s ill”?