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Frank Lloyd Wright’s “The Four Seasons in Four Verses”

Frank Lloyd Wright | Mar 21, 2018

The following excerpt titled “The Four Seasons in Four Verses,” was taken from Book Four, Freedom, of Frank Lloyd Wright’s “An Autobiography.”

Somewhat akin to the unconvincing Allegory, here is an early study in aspirates: sybilant verses to be whispered. My mother came over when she read “the study” and said gravely, “My boy, when a young man starts versifying it is a sign.” She didn’t say a sign of deterioration, but I knew.

This early abstraction and design in the fashioning of a verse to render the movement of the subject—the Breeze—into its own rhythm, starting slowly, enlivening and dying down, belongs to the same period as the Work Song. Both, as you see, are experiments in straight-line or streamlined design that really belong on the drawing board because both are abstract-pattern in line and color. Unfamiliar at least, and unlikely in words, although Edgar Allan Poe seemed often to come pretty close.

Emphasize the aspirates a little.

Slender grows the tender mesh of silken threads and films of green. 

Sunbeams glimmer through between the leaves in nesting sheen, 

Gently wavering and fluttering like butterflies awing, 

As in melody the raiment of the Spring . . . 

Stirs and is still. 

Languid vapors veil in torpid heat the deep of azure, 

Lazy insects drone in drowsy bloom and glow of verdure, 

Faintly uttering the gutturals of Summer’s lush o’errun, 

As in sultry ease the ripe of Summer’s sun . . . 

Stirs and is still. 

Gleaming crystal overarches seas of gilded leaves, 

Flaming vine entwines the flowing oak, and deftly weaves

Rustling radiance in fashioning of iridescence fair, 

As with transient heat the rhythmic Autumn air . . . 

Stirs and is still. 

The frozen earth in starry night lies waiting tense and proud, 

Glistening moonbeams shadow askance her glittering shroud, 

Frail with frost the breath of life wreathes and rises to a shrine, 

As the dying breeze, adream in Wintry pine . . . 

Stirs and is still. 

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