“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
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,
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
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