According to the Church’s august calendar, this is the twenty-fourth anniversary of Accustomed Time, the numbered weeks amid the end of the Christmas division and the alpha of Lent, as able-bodied as the weeks afterward Pentecost Sunday until the aboriginal Sunday of Advent. Accustomed Time is the aeon in which the affectionate alive not in feasting or absolution but in all-overs and expectation. Littlepage Smith’s composition of the aforementioned name, “The Accustomed Time,” ogously advocates all-overs (l.22), but directs our absorption to creatures and abnormality that accord to a added accepted ogue of “the ordinary.”
The composition is structured in thirteen couplets that actualize a faculty of an alike and abiding movement forward, abundant like the numbered weeks in Accustomed Time that represent the ordered action of the Church. The poet’s use of three questions (l. 11; l. 13; ll. 20-21), the again descriptions of the action of awkward creatures, and the alliteration of present participles in about every brace (breathing, threading, singing, being, laughing, still-standing, wheedling, pleading, falling, rising) additionally accord to the poem’s anatomy and momentum. Internal beat and camber rhyme (advise/rise; feel/heal; wheedling/pleading/needed; lift/whip; plumb/grunt) accomplish the accustomed accent of the composition sing, basal the poem’s affair of award healing and affirmation by artlessly actuality present and by accessory to the actors and contest of accustomed life.
In these September weeks of Accustomed Time, with the slower clip of summer larboard behind, academy and assignment abuse to actualize gesic routines of assiduity that leave one activity bare and overwhelmed. “The Accustomed Time” offers the abating angel of a bird hurtling bottomward to what looks like approaching destruction: “It doesn’t affront about the minutiae/of rising. When needed, it rises.” Littlepage Smith’s poem, like the august division from which it takes its title, invites us to redefine success and the absolute business of living.
Goldfish in the horse troughnibble at morning’s surface.
They are not busy;they are breathing.
The sparrow threading strawunder the bump lifts whips
of time to his mate’s music.This is the adverse of business.
Birds, alike singing, can bethe architects of our silence.
Would you be healed by being?Then be here.
Of course, that’s obvious, isn’t it?There is no added where.
Last night, the horse laughingin the acreage grunted me to still-standing.
So I stood and listened aftermy acquaintance went to bed
having asked me, after wheedlingor pleading, Can you accomplish me feel
not like a failure? I can’t, I said.
the wagtail bead from this eavelike the plumb-line of rain falling.
It doesn’t affront about the minutiaeof rising. When needed, it rises.
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