Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Archive for April 30th, 2022

Virginia creeper and Victorian verse

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The Victorian British poet Arthur Hugh Clough is probably best remembered now for his inspirational 1849 poem that begins: “Say not the struggle nought availeth.” That thought came to mind on April 20th after I looked out at the deck behind our house and saw that some Virginia creeper vines (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) had climbed the wooden railing. In particular, I noticed some of the vines’ tendrils were questing upward into empty air, where they stood no chance of finding anything to latch on to. Of course the tendrils didn’t know that; all they “knew” was to quest and climb. That reality also reminded me of a line from the 1855 dramatic monologue “Andrea del Sarto,” by British poet Robert Browning. In that poem he had the Italian painter named in the title say: “A man’s reach should exceed his grasp / or what’s a heaven for?”

© 2022 Steven Schwartzman




Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 30, 2022 at 4:27 AM

Posted in nature photography

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