08 April, 2008

for very Lunacy of Light/I had not power to tell

People have been full of grace for me this week. I am ineffably grateful.

I want to weed out all of the ugly, slanderous, cutting words from my mouth. They are poisonous weeds. I realized that the people I admire the most are the people with gracious tongues: people who are deeply honest and yet never speak ill of others. What an admirable way to be!

When the sun broke through that obdurate sky today I considered singing out loud as I walked to class.

I thought tonight, while we were mulling over a myriad of issues in Hosea 10, how the women in my small group are tremendously important to me. They remind me of simple and lovely truths. Par ex., tonight Linda reminded me that we are slaves of Christ but it is not such an unpleasant burden because He enslaved Himself to us first; and Brooke reminded me that shame and guilt are only a part of the process of repentance--not the final result. It's hard to believe we've spent almost a year together. Our time has slipped by swiftly but it has been so rich, so rewarding.

In Lit. Theory today we were talking about the problem of conveying your sublime experience with a work of literature. (See the Dickinson below.) How do you tell someone about how this string of words transformed you? A memory came quickly: deep in the sand at the edge of the beach. Hot day. I was reading The Waves and there were grains of sand in the creases of the pages. I watched Nick and Cara riding the tide; the afternoon sparkled on the sea. And it was as if everything converged: Woolf's narrative, the skipping from one thought to the next, the actual waves I heard, the perfect lightness, the steady rhythm of her prose, of the ocean itself! as if I could barely breathe, barely do anything at all. Carried away. Nick came back, salty, wet, and I could not speak to him even though I wanted to; I could not tell him what I felt. Language failed. He sat on the towel and looked at me and I looked at him and could not speak. He looked up at the sky. "I had not power to tell." It is for this inexpressible thing that I keeps me returning to literature, to Woolf, always.

I am wilting for lack of time to read the things I want to read, all of the great books I have acquired lately: the Hemingway, the Steinbeck, poetry from Wendell Berry and Robert Haas and Seamus Heaney. Finals will be here soon and then I will spend all of the time previously spent in classes reading outdoors, in the grass, under the blue sky.

Once upon a time I was a responsible, driven student...

I think I was enchanted
When first a sombre Girl—
I read that Foreign Lady—
The Dark—felt beautiful—

And whether it was noon at night—
Or only Heaven—at Noon—
For very Lunacy of Light
I had not power to tell—

The Bees—became as Butterflies—
The Butterflies—as Swans—
Approached—and spurned the narrow Grass—
And just the meanest Tunes

That Nature murmured to herself
To keep herself in Cheer—
I took for Giants—practising
Titanic Opera.

- Emily Dickinson, poem 627

Currently
Hearing: "Metal Heart," Cat Power and "Gone for Good," The Shins
Reading: my Basho script; articles and books about Asia; not the things I want to be reading
Drinking: Earl Grey tea from Alpine
Thinking: about the allure of contentment and I think I know a portion of it

4 comments:

Anna said...

over spring break I discovered wendell berry. I loved him. How good it is to be so passionate about something, Abb.

:) you are loved.

stickfigure said...

i'm not so sure i agree.

stickfigure said...

with the 'he enslaved himself to us' comment, i mean.

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