Thursday, March 2, 2023

Quote of the Day (William Rose Benet, on an Icy Lake)

“Ghost Lake’s a dark lake, a deep lake and cold:
Ice black as ebony, frostily scrolled;
Far in its shadows a faint sound whirs;
Steep stand the sentineled deep, dark firs.”—American poet and editor William Rose Benet (1886-1950), “The Skater of Ghost Lake,” from Golden Fleece: A Collection of Poems and Ballads Old and New (1935)
This narrative poem in a mysterious, Gothic mode is not the kind of work that tends to get written today. I suspect that it is not as heavily anthologized as it once was.
Sadly, I think its setting, a lake with “ice black as ebony,” is also one that is becoming increasingly beyond the experience of younger readers. 

In my childhood here in the Northeast, it was common for lakes and ponds to ice over in the wintertime, as was sliding down short hills in sleds.
But climate change has made such experiences more of a rarity. (Ski resorts, for instance, are turning to manufacturing fake snow to survive.) 

At some point in the future, I think it entirely possible that for readers in certain areas of the country, such chilly scenes of winter will have to be found in books and on film.

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