October 26, 2010 11 Comments A life all turbulence and noise A life all turbulence and noise may seem,To him that leads it, wise and to be praised;But wisdom is a pearl with most successSought in still water, and beneath clear skies. ~ William Cowper, The Task (1785). Book III. The Garden
This was still water in the middle of a busy day.
Good words, Ann.
(if only the person in the picture had a fly-rod)
She was borrowing the equipment you see…but someday, I could see her with one.
Wow. The strange thing is that I know who William Cowper is. I recently read a biography of John Newton (by Josiah Bull) and I learned that they were very close friends. Cowper was a troubled man, but a prolific and renowned poet. I love this poem for its simplicity and its veracity. Thanks for sharing, Ann.
So would you say he didn’t have much in the way of still waters or clear skies?
Maybe it reflects his longing for them…and for wisdom?
Newton’s biography portrays Cowper as inclined towards depression and having a temptation towards “self-destruction.” At least this was so, 10-13 years before your poem was written. Fits the stereotype of the melancholy artist/poet doesn’t it?
The picture, the words – they minister. I have felt the call to the stillness for a long time now. It really is the very best of places.
I love it. And I’m slowing down today.
Janis@Open My Ears Lord says
Well, I’ll try to disregard the melancholy/depression aspect of this writer and just say that I liked the call to quiet the noise in our lives. (Didn’t know the other stuff until I read the comments.)
Have a peaceful week,
Same here–I liked the original message. But can’t the words stand on their own and have meaning without knowing the author’s circumstances?
Gosh, I didn’t mean to take anything away from the words or sentiment or value or meaning of Cowper’s poem or anyone’s enjoyment of it. I apologize. It is a wonderful, wonderful poem. I think knowing that little bit of background on Cowper actually lends more credence to his words. As you said, Ann, it may reflect his longing for still waters and clear skies and wisdom. I admit that maybe it’s not profitable to overlay anything over poetry…I’ll be more careful in future. Blessings.
Angela Doll Carlson says
It goes to show that the words we put to page take on a life of their own, apart from us. It’s a sign of a great writer that we can find ourselves in the work. 🙂