Yes. Yes, indeed. There should be at least one day of the year we set aside to honor our efforts to express the inexpressible, to make the relentless march of time freeze in its tracks, to glimpse the border of light around all the dark shapes in front of us. Yes, there should be a day like this one.
There should be a day upon which we descend for a time into Milton’s Hell or ascend into Dante’s Heaven. There should be a day upon which we dig into Heaney’s earth, or sing the praises of Cavafy’s women. There should be at least one day to honor gentle Will or bear Achilles on his shield. One day is the least we can spend crossing over into Xanadu or walking in the gardens of Li Po.
Would it not be worthwhile to spend a single evening in Byzantium, or to view the prospect over the Thames? Would it not be splendid to sit at sunset in a boat on Bishop’s lake and catch a glimpse of the shimmering fish she let go? One night is not too much to spare to listen to Rilke’s art (the lyf so shert, the craft so longe to lerne, his teacher says), or to watch the woods fill up with snow. And what would any of us not give to drift at last from this world to that place prepared for us, the eternal isle of Innisfree?