Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Personal/Professional Connection

I was in a very interesting meeting today at one of my museums. Next year is the 400th anniversary of Anne Bradstreet's birth and various museums/towns in Massachusetts are planning some celebration and recognition of "The Tenth Muse, Lately Sprung Up in America."  While perusing a selected works of Anne's before the meeting, I noticed this poem, which I had first read excerpted in Laurel Thatcher Ulrich's Good Wives.

Since my husband is eight months into a year-long military deployment, Anne's words in this piece touched me on a personal level. Enjoy the poem and keep an eye out for Anne Bradstreet events in Massachusetts in 2012!

A Letter to Her Husband, Absent upon Public Employment
My head, my heart, mine eyes, my life, nay, more, 
My joy, my magazine of earthly store,
If two be one, as surely thou and I, 
How stayest thou there, whilst I at Ipswich lie? 
So many steps, head from the heart to sever, 
If but a neck, soon should we be together. 
I like the Earth this season, mourn in black, 
My Sun is gone so far in's zodiac, 
Whom whilst I 'joyed, nor storms, nor frost I felt, 
His warmth such frigid colds did cause to melt. 
My chilled limbs now numbed lie forlorn; 
Return; return, sweet Sol, from Capricorn; 
In this dead time, alas, what can I more 
Than view those fruits which through thy heat I bore? 
Which sweet contentment yield me for a space, 
True living pictures of their father's face. 
O strange effect! now thou art southward gone, 
I weary grow the tedious day so long; 
But when thou northward to me shalt return, 
I wish my Sun may never set, but burn 
Within the Cancer of my glowing breast, 
The welcome house of him my dearest guest. 
Where ever, ever stay, and go not thence, 
Till nature's sad decree shall call thee hence; 
Flesh of thy flesh, bone of thy bone, 
I here, thou there, yet but both one.

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