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A Writer's Prayer to the Hours

Lo! where the rosy-bosomed Hours,
Fair Venus' train, appear,
Disclose the long-expecting flowers,
And wake the purple year!
The Attic warbler pours her throat,
Responsive to the cuckoo's note,
The untaught harmony of spring:
While, whisp'ring pleasure as they fly,
Cool Zephyrs thro' the clear blue sky
Their gathered fragrance fling.
"Ode on the Spring" by Thomas Gray (1716-1771)

The Hours, a stipple engraving by Francesco Bartolozzi (1725-1815), based on a painting by Maria Cosway (1760-1838), based on the poem "Ode on the Spring" by Thomas Gray (1716-1771)

Oh, those frolicsome maidens with their butterfly wings! They tantalize me in the purpleness of the year. They dance and flutter on the drafts that sneak between commutes, work in the office and at home, toddler bubble baths, mealtimes, stretches of exhausted sleep wedged between the days, and neverending chores and home repairs without a single animal helper.

My writers' prayers at this season of the year--and this season of my life--is to the Hours and not the Muses. Though the latter claim most writers' prayers, I have nothing to say to the Muses right now. The Muses leave me no peace. They are loyal as dogs. They lick my eyelids open each morning and follow me around all day, especially while driving and in the shower, when I have no writing utensil (except maybe one of my daughter's bath crayons). They pester me in my dreams, at work, and on the playground. They chatter incessantly, urging me to scribble down all kinds of ideas on Post-its and cram them like pillow stuffing into my laptop case for the next time I get to sit down and write. The Muses are more persistent than any of my pre-baby, child-free friends. "Hey girl," they shout into every quiet moment in my head. They tempt and taunt me. "Come have a drink, come dance, come play!"

The ones I am begging for help in my time of need are not the Muses but the Hours. They dance too fast for me these days. I snatch at the tiny fluffed and winged seeds they scatter to the wind--an extra hour at the office between work and dinnertime, an early waking before sunrise, a Sunday morning's hour-long playdate with Daddy--and I plead for more.

O fair, fresh-garlanded maids! If you could only sync your gifts with the Muses' blessings, so many finished works would flow out of my hands like full-formed crystal palaces from the palms of my child's favorite Disney princess. Appear, wake, whisper, fly, fling!

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