A Friday Forge-On Treat

Friday, September 12, 2014


"When that I was and a little tiny [girl]" to paraphrase Twelfth Night, my mom used to reward my sister and me for forging through another week of school (we were not enthusiastic scholars). This happy treat was named a "friday forge-on." It was generally something food related. My favourite was tea with scones, the latter liberally heaped with clotted cream and jam. (All served by a very jolly Scottish women who one night suddenly closed her shop, leaving me bereft of my very best Friday joy. I suppose there is not much profit to be made in tea and scones these days.)

Still, the phrase "Friday forge-on" lives on. Yes, maybe it's more of a G&T and a glass of sherry these days, but it's the idea, darlings: something to reward yourself with for slogging through what can sometimes be the murk of life.

While I sip my sherry, I'm here to offer you a little literary Friday forge-on. If you like it, perhaps we can make it a weekly treat?

Today's comes courtesy of the poet Amy Lowell. I've been reading her collection, "A Dome of Many-Colored Glass," and this one is from that 1912 volume.

             Behind a Wall 
        I own a solace shut within my heart,
           A garden full of many a quaint delight
           And warm with drowsy, poppied sunshine; bright,
          Flaming with lilies out of whose cups dart
              Shining things
              With powdered wings.

          Here terrace sinks to terrace, arbors close
           The ends of dreaming paths; a wanton wind
           Jostles the half-ripe pears, and then, unkind,
          Tumbles a-slumber in a pillar rose,
              With content
              Grown indolent.

          By night my garden is o'erhung with gems
           Fixed in an onyx setting.  Fireflies
           Flicker their lanterns in my dazzled eyes.
          In serried rows I guess the straight, stiff stems
              Of hollyhocks
              Against the rocks.

          So far and still it is that, listening,
           I hear the flowers talking in the dawn;
           And where a sunken basin cuts the lawn,
          Cinctured with iris, pale and glistening,
              The sudden swish
              Of a waking fish

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