"Cyriack, this three years day these eyes, though clear
To outward view of blemish or of spot,
Bereft of light their seeing have forgot,
Nor to their idle orbs doth sight appear
Of sun, or moon, or star throughout the year,
Or man, or woman. Yet I argue not
Against Heav'n's hand or will, nor bate a jot
Of heart or hope, but still bear up and steer
Right onward. What supports me, dost thou ask?
The conscience, friend, t' have lost them overplied
In liberty's defense, my noble task,
Of which all Europe talks from side to side,
This thought might lead me through the world's vain mask,
Content, though blind, had I no better guide."
--Sonnet 22, John Milton, 1655--
Cyriack, according to one of the treasures on my bookshelf, The Annotated Milton, worked for John Milton as an "amanuensis," a recorder of the poet's thoughts. Dedicating himself as Milton's personal scribe, he stood in various roles as student, friend, and confidante. He chose to be privy to the genius's inner turmoil regarding progressive blindness, personal errors of judgment, deaths of two wives, social and political injustice, and impoverishment. Cyriack Skinner witnessed firsthand an incredible outpouring of expression. A poet's spiritual re-birth and subsequent growth generated an Artesian well of expression, and Cyriack must have worked long hours to write it all down, by hand. And I doubt if he made much money for all of that effort.
I have been waiting weeks for some sign of growth in one area of the garden. Can you guess what this plant is and what it will produce? A hint: James Joyce's writing was influenced by a profound lack of it at one time in his homeland.
Perfection has never entered my garden, and I don't intend for it to start now. I intend for that touch of eclectic chaos I enjoy in my literary studies to inform my work outside.
This morning before Daughter left for class, she popped back inside and told me I needed to take a look at something. She said it would look good on my blog. The fog outside had gradually subsided and left behind it a dew-drop strand of pearls on the still-dormant Japanese maple. A spider had abandoned its handiwork for catching food, and the tattered web now provides a framework for something new and wonderful.