Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Changing Light (Ferlinghetti)

The Changing Light

I like this one because it talks about quality of light, which is something that I've noticed before. There's a particular type of late-afternoon golden sunlight that's sort of my favorite, because it seems to make everything more intensely colored, more vibrant. Whereas morning light seems colder, crisper, thinner somehow. Reading this, I ended up thinking of that morning light as the "East Coast light" and the afternoon as the "island light" - it's the kind you get on vacation when you're someplace with long days that seem like they'll never end, when it's like a physical thing that's reaching out and oozing over you like honey.

The other thing I like about this poem is that Ferlinghetti is so clearly from there. There's an identity of place - when he talks about "your East Coast light" and "your pearly light of Paris" there's the implication that San Francisco light is his light. It's personal. I think I find that appealing because even though I'm not from here, I'm really enjoying being a Boston person. Boston is my home. It's sort of the same reason that people get attached to sports teams, only since I'm not really a sports person, my local attachments are to things like the tone of the light and the color of the leaves in autumn and the smell of the marshes on my favorite walking trail.

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