Wednesday, January 23, 2013

A Light Left On - May Sarton

In the evening we came back
Into our yellow room,
For a moment taken aback
To find the light left on,
Falling on silent flowers,
Table, book, empty chair
While we had gone elsewhere,
Had been away for hours.

When we came home together
We found the inside weather.
All of our love unended
The quiet life we demanded,
And we gave, in a look
At yellow walls and open book.
The deepest world we share
And do not talk about
but have to have, was there,
And by that light found out.

It's interesting to think of a room as having its own climate.  The things we keep around us are in some ways indicative of who we are, as this poem reflects upon.  A light left on by accident invited inspection into the love that dwelt in the home.  A "deep world" that exists outside of words, but in feelings, perhaps a feeling of light and lightness, as indicated by the light imagery of the poem.  I suppose my room, a light left on, reveals clutter.  That's not an unfair allegation to level against me as a person.  My thoughts are often cluttered, I've long tried to do too many things, and to move in too many directions.  Looking at my messy room does reflect that, all right.

The image of an open book is a reassuring one.  We are free to write the stories of our own lives, or at least we have that illusion.  Casting light on that open book invites introspection, which is what, as evidenced above, this poem has done for me.  The unusual syntax and occasional rhymes of this poem please my ear, and I think this is a lovely poem for reading out loud.

1 comment:

  1. i always saw this poem as the story of a couple that separated and were gone from each other for a long time. When they came back together many years later, they found the light of their love had been left on after all, and much remained the same. this poem has stayed with me ever since the first time I ever read it.