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Waiting - John Burroughs (1837-1921)
Posted by: Hugh Clary (192.168.128.---)
Date: January 19, 2006 02:37PM

Anyone care to speculate on what Burroughs is going on about in this one? What is his 'own' that he awaits, that is.


Waiting

Serene, I fold my hands and wait,
Nor care for wind, nor tide, nor sea;
I rave no more 'gainst time or fate,
For lo! my own shall come to me.

I stay my haste, I make delays,
For what avails this eager pace?
I stand amid the eternal ways,
And what is mine shall know my face.

Asleep, awake, by night or day,
The friends I seek are seeking me;
No wind can drive my bark astray,
Nor change the tide of destiny.

What matter if I stand alone?
I wait with joy the coming years;
My heart shall reap where it hath sown,
And garner up its fruit of tears.

The waters know their own and draw
The brook that springs in yonder height;
So flows the good with equal law
Unto the soul of pure delight.

The stars come nightly to the sky;
The tidal wave unto the sea;
Nor time, nor space, nor deep, nor high,
Can keep my own away from me.


Re: Waiting - John Burroughs (1837-1921)
Posted by: PamAdams (192.168.128.---)
Date: January 19, 2006 04:50PM

Again with the death- I think his girl has died and awaits him in heaven.

pam


Re: Waiting - John Burroughs (1837-1921)
Posted by: IanB (192.168.128.---)
Date: January 19, 2006 06:21PM

Is he possibly satirising the proponents of predestination in the Free Will versus Predestination debate? Is his 'own' his destiny?

Ian

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/19/2006 06:23PM by IanB.


Re: Waiting - John Burroughs (1837-1921)
Posted by: lg (Moderator)
Date: January 20, 2006 01:25AM

I would guess, "fate".

Les


Re: Waiting - John Burroughs (1837-1921)
Posted by: Hugh Clary (192.168.128.---)
Date: January 20, 2006 01:55PM

On first reading, I had the same thoughts you all mention.

No wind can drive my bark astray,
Nor change the tide of destiny.

That sounds like determinism to me, right. And the second stanza sounds like he is waiting at heaven's gate.

This part metaphors water seeking its own level to 'good' flowing into the best of souls:

The waters know their own and draw
The brook that springs in yonder height;
So flows the good with equal law
Unto the soul of pure delight.

But how can this dude be so serene, when another stanza seems to indicate that bad stuff will arrive, not good?

What matter if I stand alone?
I wait with joy the coming years;
My heart shall reap where it hath sown,
And garner up its fruit of tears.

He waits with joy the fruit of tears? Reap what ye sow, right. Ergo, he must have brought tears to many other folks in the past?

I then though it must be 'likes attract', but that left me unsatisfied, doncha know. Perhaps it's just 'we all get what's coming to us'. Or, doan worra, be hoppy!


Re: Waiting - John Burroughs (1837-1921)
Posted by: lg (Moderator)
Date: January 20, 2006 03:38PM

Regardless, if whether, the outcome is good or bad, "fate" still fits. Even prisoners on death row wait their fate, as does the expectant mother.


Les


Re: Waiting - John Burroughs (1837-1921)
Posted by: Veronika (192.168.128.---)
Date: January 20, 2006 10:23PM

I'd say fate. Reminds me of the Invictus a bit. Also feels a bit repetitive.

"But how can this dude be so serene, when another stanza seems to indicate that bad stuff will arrive, not good?"

Probably the reason why I don't like it much. Anguish and fear seem (usually) more genuine.

V.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/20/2006 10:56PM by Veronika.


Re: Waiting - John Burroughs (1837-1921)
Posted by: IanB (192.168.128.---)
Date: January 21, 2006 12:13AM

He waits with joy the fruit of tears? Reap what ye sow, right. Ergo, he must have brought tears to many other folks in the past?

Probably his own tears, rather than those of other folks, for that reference in S4 to garnering up the fruit of tears is reminiscent of the biblical advice to rejoice if you are maligned and persecuted, etc, because great will be your reward in heaven (Matthew 5:11-12). On the other hand, 'the coming years' sound like time on earth rather than time in heaven (do they measure time in heaven by earth years?!), and the rest of the poem doesn't seem to be contemplating dying.

So I stick with my theory that the poem is about predestination. (Which is fate by another name, except that 'fate' usually has negative connotations, whereas something referred to as 'predestined' may be good or bad).

There's a limerick on the subject written in about 1905 by Maurice Hare (1886-1967), one version of which goes:

    There was a young man who said ďDamn!
    Iíve suddenly found that I am
    A creature that moves
    In predestinate grooves.
    Iím not even a bus, Iím a tram.Ē

To which I cannot forbear to quote the anonymous reply:

    "Young man you should stay your complaint,
    For the grooves that you call a constraint
    Are there to contrive
    That you learn to survive.
    Trams arrive. Buses may or they mayn't."

Ian

Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 01/22/2006 08:18AM by IanB.


Re: Waiting - John Burroughs (1837-1921)
Posted by: ns (192.168.128.---)
Date: January 23, 2006 02:30AM

Perhaps it's just 'we all get what's coming to us'. Or, doan worra, be hoppy!
My thoughts about this:
I think he is just tired of trying and failing.
"I rave no more 'gainst time or fate,"
He has had enough. Perhaps a niggling doubt tghat he should be still trying and that doubt he tries to silence with a whole lot of philosophising about how my own shall
come to me and if i am meant to get it - i will.
This poem has a sense of trying to convince (himself or others) something about which he is not entirely convinced. That is why the contradictions.

My heart shall reap where it hath sown,
And garner up its fruit of tears.

Fruit of tears is what he might get if he sits on his ass and does nothing.


Re: Waiting - John Burroughs (1837-1921)
Posted by: Hugh Clary (192.168.128.---)
Date: January 23, 2006 01:17PM

It is probably safe to infer Burroughs anticipates the Christian heaven, so searching King James Bible varation sites for the fruit of tears reference, I get:

Psalms 126:5 They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.

Tons of references are to be found regarding 'fruit', 'tears' and 'reap' (garner), but I suspect the Psalms one is correct. Feel free to set me straight. It seems the same analogy as Ian's Matthew 5 one. That is, suffering here on earth will be rewarded in heaven. Not a philosophy I can subscribe to personally, but it seems ok to most of us.

And, I cannot really buy the philosophy put forth by the author:

For lo! my own shall come to me.

And what is mine shall know my face.

The friends I seek are seeking me

What matter if I stand alone?

Nor time, nor space, nor deep, nor high,
Can keep my own away from me.

Let's assume he is right - kick back and relax; instead of frantically searching for correct answers good friends, let them come to you. Sounds easy enough, but if we all adhered to such an outlook, no one would end up coming to anyone else, no? No answers would ever be found.

Such a prospect duddunt make ME very serene!




Re: Waiting - John Burroughs (1837-1921)
Posted by: Marty (192.168.128.---)
Date: January 23, 2006 11:44PM

I don't necessarily see him saying....just sit around and do nothing.

Death is the one "given" fate or destiny that is common to all men, regardless of how they live their lives.
There is no sense in fighting death, for it will come just the same.

A parallel to this fact.....what goes around, does indeed, come around. Hands needn't be wrung, teeth gnashed, ranting is to no avail....neither regarding the years spiralling towards death, nor worrying about how things will play out (both in later years of life and in afterlife?). I would go so far as to say also that bad things or evil will occur no matter what as well.

Regarding the "fruit of tears", I agree with Ian and Hugh's references to biblical passages and add, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for they shall inherit the earth"....etc., etc. I can't help but also read an inference, between the lines, that every dog has his day...every man is given his due...wrongdoers will get their just rewards (deserts).

Just be patient, and wait.

Marty


Re: Waiting - John Burroughs (1837-1921)
Posted by: dan (192.168.128.---)
Date: February 06, 2006 10:31PM

I think he's waiting for a table in a restaurant.


Re: Waiting - John Burroughs (1837-1921)
Posted by: JohnnySansCulo (192.168.128.---)
Date: February 06, 2006 10:57PM


What do you see when you turn out the light?
I canít tell you, but I know itís mine.

The Beatles


Re: Waiting - John Burroughs (1837-1921)
Posted by: PamAdams (192.168.128.---)
Date: February 07, 2006 01:27PM

This week's re-read is On The Beach, a classic example of 'death comes to us all.'

pam


Re: Waiting - John Burroughs (1837-1921)
Posted by: PamAdams (192.168.128.---)
Date: February 07, 2006 08:57PM

JohnnySansCulo Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

What do you see when you turn out the light?
I canít tell you, but I know itís mine.

The Beatles

Are you using the glow-in-the-dark condoms again?

pam


Re: Waiting - John Burroughs (1837-1921)
Posted by: JohnnySansCulo (192.168.128.---)
Date: February 08, 2006 09:40AM

"A fly flies in,
A fly flies out,
Most flies they got three legs
But mine got one."

Paul McCartney


Re: Waiting - John Burroughs (1837-1921)
Posted by: JohnnySansCulo (192.168.128.---)
Date: February 08, 2006 12:29PM

Good Gosh, they're REAL :

"We would like to give the phrase 'rise and shine' a whole new meaning," said company founder Davin Wedel.

[www.ripnroll.com]

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/08/2006 12:30PM by JohnnySansCulo.


Re: Waiting - John Burroughs (1837-1921)
Posted by: Debutant (192.168.128.---)
Date: February 11, 2006 10:47AM

My thoughts for what're worth.

A predestined lover in the future and at the moment they are both seeking each other.

All these lines seem to be saying that:

The fist stanza he unconcerned as it will happen.
For lo! my own[lover] shall come to me.


It'll happen when the time is right:
For what avails this eager pace?


I am looking out for her as she is amongst friends and she too is looking out for me. I don't know which one yet.
Asleep, awake, by night or day,
The friends I seek are seeking me;



She'll recognise me:
And what is mine shall know my face.

It doesn't matter I'm alone now:
What matter if I stand alone?
I wait with joy the coming years;

He waits with joy and HUGE anticipation and when it happens he'll weep with joy and relief!
My heart shall reap where it hath sown,
And garner up its fruit of tears.

They'll know each other as they'll have the same values/social standing and come from the same noble/high brook/society:
The waters know their own and draw
The brook that springs in yonder height;

They'll be equally good to one another as they both believe in "good begets good":
So flows the good with equal law

And each will be deleriously delighted.
Unto the soul of pure delight.


The last stanza:
Predestined; it'll happen.
Can keep my own[lover] away from me.


Edited 9 time(s). Last edit at 02/11/2006 11:27AM by Debutant.


Re: Waiting - John Burroughs (1837-1921)
Posted by: peternsz (192.168.128.---)
Date: February 22, 2006 12:27AM

His 'own 'time or fate.'


Re: Waiting - John Burroughs (1837-1921)
Posted by: hfpepperbean47 (71.230.169.---)
Date: October 27, 2007 01:08AM

Maybe ya'll are being a bit wishy-washy and giving too much meaning to John's little poem. I think he is making a mockery of the world in his own fanciful and twisted way. He's daydreaming, Its not a poem that needs to be looked into and picked apart so thoroughly. Maybe sitting outside, against an apple tree, leisurely passing a day.




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