Friday, July 1, 2011

Frail Voice

"Passerby, these are words. But instead of reading
I want you to listen: to this frail
Voice like that of letters eaten by grass."

How frail words can be, how exhausted I am.  But I take comfort in the fact that this must be the prelude to my reinvention.  With every book I write, I'm a new person.  I have to begin again.  Finishing a book, one begins to let go of what one has become.  Suddenly I'm writing two books.  A first draft of one is complete.  (Only 20 more drafts left to go....though how does one measure drafts, when one works on a computer?).  But then I've begun something different - short essays, or essay-poems about art, about ekphrasis.  So for a while I live in two spaces.  I didn't choose this, it arrived.

Meanwhile, summer holidays have officially arrived. The trick is to enjoy the disruptions, the upheaval, the changes to our delicate and important schedule.  So much easier to sleep in!  But I do vow, come Monday, to get back to the 5am writing sessions.  I'm able to keep this up for a month at a time, before slipping, in 15 minute intervals, until next thing I know it's 6am, then 6:30....I suppose the body can only take so much and it rebels.  But how productive I am so early in the summer!

"Trust me, in bliss I shall abide" goes the poem by Tennyson.  But in the end the Palace of Art is exchanged for  "a cottage in the vale."  The lofty sequesterment and proud isolation exchanged for humbleness and duty to others.  This was a page randomly opened, an 1891 edition that is inscribed with the name of my husband's grandmother.  A very worn volume.  The others in the stack belong to my mother-in-law, old school books for the most part.

I've seen a few people on Flickr shooting books in the grass, and couldn't resist trying my own take on this.

There is nothing more lovely than reading outside in summer.  And there are so many poems on the subject.  Like this one by Charles Wright.  "Go quietly, quietly."  In the winter, there is this one by Gerald Stern.  "How you loved to read in the snow..."

So, another writing prompt:  write about reading a book outdoors.

The subject of a woman reading has been so prevalent in the history of painting.  The juxtaposition of an exterior beauty with a secret interior journey.  But this is a much larger subject, isn't it, for another day when the sun isn't shining so invitingly, and the dog isn't whimpering for his walk in such a convincing manner....

1 comment:

  1. Oh, those photos of the books in the grass look so inviting. I'm wearing a perfume called Grass these days, and it smells like freshly mown grass. (It's one of those things you have to wear to believe how it works as a personal scent.) It evokes long days in the grass, under a tree with a great book.


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