Work as Blessing
His life was a mess-unhappy marriage, frustrated passion for his best friend's sister-in-law, and an incurable addiction to laudanum, the 19th-century version of Oxycontin.
Among the great poets, he's probably written the smallest number of great poems, most of them before he was 30-including "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner," his "Dejection" ode (an inspired poem about the loss of inspiration), and two mysterious masterworks, "Christabel," which he never finished, and "Kubla Kahn," which he regarded as unfinished and finally published 18 years after he wrote it.
At 53, he wrote his saddest poem, a poem he waited only three years to publish-called "Work without Hope." He regarded work as natural, and having at times worked brilliantly, even effortlessly-he knew what he was missing, and was devastated by that loss. One footnote: "Amaranth" is defined in the American Heritage Dictionary as both "an imaginary flower that never dies" and as a real plant also known as pigweed.
"Work without Hope,"
by Samuel Taylor Coleridge:
All Nature seems at work. Slugs leave their lair-The bees are stirring-birds are on the wing-And Winter slumbering in the open air, Wears on his smiling face a dream of Spring! And I the while, the sole unbusy thing, Nor honey make, nor pair, nor build, nor sing.
Yet well I ken the banks where amaranths blow, Have traced the fount whence streams of nectar flow. Bloom, O ye amaranths! bloom for whom ye may, For me ye bloom not! Glide, rich streams, away! With lips unbrightened, wreathless brow, I stroll: And would you learn the spells that drowse my soul? Work without Hope draws nectar in a sieve, And Hope without an object cannot live.
Labor Day is an ironic holiday, a festival celebrating an end to festivity. Summer is gone. Vacation, however brief it may have been, is over. We face another year of struggling in the mines-and for some of us, that's not just a metaphor.
In hard times, we're lucky to have any work at all. But at any time, there's little in life that's luckier than having work we love. On this Labor Day, let Coleridge's poem be an object lesson for those of us who, though we may complain, can truly celebrate returning to the work we love.
Author Wendell Berry will make a rare appearance Thursday, August 28th at Good Foods Market & Café. Berry will take part in the Karma In The Café series.. The second author for the evening is Rebecca Howell, instructor at U.K. and editor of Wind magazine. The event will start at 6pm with a wine tasting.
The University of Kentucky has its home football season against University of Louisville on Sunday, August 31. And rather than sit in your car and wait for spots to open up, there will be a shuttle service available from Downtown Lexington to Commonwealth Stadium for all home football games.
Just park downtown before the game in the Transit Center Garage, Lexington Center parking lot, in Ramsey's Diner lot, or in designated Central Parking System lots. Then hop a LexTran shuttle bus to Commonwealth Stadium. Shuttle service begins at 3:30 p.m. A round trip shuttle ticket costs $2.50 per person and can be purchased three hours prior to kickoff at the shuttle stops.
Kentucky's chief Supreme Court justice will soon appoint a special judge to hear Lexington's condemnation case against Kentucky-American Water Company.
Earlier this week, Chief Justice Joseph Lambert nixed Fayette Circuit Judge Rebecca Overstreet because of questions raised by city officials over a potential conflict of interest.
Overstreet's husband, Jerry Wright, works with the Fraternal Order of Police, one of many organizations that has lobbied against the city's bid to seize the water company.
Overstreet had said that her husband's position would not hamper her impartiality.
UK students who have trouble parking near campus can expect additional problems this fall when the city begins cleaning city streets around campus.
City officials announced this week that they would begin scrubbing more than 60 streets surrounding campus between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. on the first Wednesday or Thursday of each month beginning in September. Officials are making the effort is to accommodate city residents on streets that never receive the benefit because of the presence of parked cars.
Violators parking in the designated areas could be towed, officials said.
The University Press of Kentucky will be holding a book clearance sale September 3rd and 4th from 10am to 4pm behind the UK Student Center. Info, www.kentuckypress.com.
Chef and author Alice Waters will be the guest at a dinner and reception at the Smith-Berry Winery in New Castle, Kentucky, on Friday, September 5. Waters and her California restaurant, Chez Panisse, revolutionized how Americans eat and think about eating fresh produce that is grown locally.
Waters will sign books and discuss her food philosophy at the event.
For details and reservations call the Smith-Berry Winery at 502/ 845-7091.
The Red Mile will host Lexington's first "Freedom Festival" Sunday, September 7th. Sponsored by the Lexington Fayette County Food and Beverage Association (LFCFBA), all proceeds from the concert will fund a legal challenge to Lexington's smoking ban, legislation recently passed by the Urban County Council to ban smoking in public places, including bars and restaurants. The ban is scheduled to go into effect at the end of September.
Tickets are $12 in advance and $15 at the door, and can be purchased at many Lexington bars and restaurants. Gates open at 1pm, rain or shine. FInfo, visit the LFCFBA's website at www.bantheban.com.
The 11th annual Women Mean Business Conference will be held on September 9 at Holiday Inn North. The all-day event, sponsored by the Kentucky Small Business Development Center, will provide opportunities for professional women to network and learn more about owning and operating businesses. The conference will offer keynote speeches by female entrepreneurs and sessions on obtaining grants and low-interest loans and building successful home-based businesses, among other things. Registration is $99. Info, 859/257-7666 or 888/475-7232.
Unfortunately, The Dame has canceled plans for an Alejandro Escovedo Benefit that was scheduled for September 4.
Donations to help the popular Texas rocker Escovedo, and his family, can be made by visiting www.alejandrofund.com.
(A benefit for Alejandro is scheduled for September 17 at Starlight.)
The University of Kentucky has established a President's Award for Diversity in order to recognize groups or individuals who have helped promote of diversity at the university. The winners will receive $500 and a plaque. Nominations for the award are currently being taken in the categories of UK student, UK administrator or faculty member, UK staff member, or Kentucky agency, company, organization, or individual not connected with the university, but has helped the university diversify in some way. The nomination deadline is September 29. For more information visit www.uky.edu/PCD or call 859/ 257-3493.