Friday, February 20, 2009

Fie:

A friend who said he'd come by this afternoon was a no-show, but beyond that slight (though in this case, well known,) disappointment, the day was ravishing. Phyllis is here with Cebah, so for the first time in many months I had a day I could spend in my studio. There was a little long overdue work, trying out guitar sounds for the next recording session of Oft the Loner. That was soon done, and such a pleasure. I've really missed my space - the way that it engenders creativity and seems to protect and enclose every expression till its due moment.

That done I drifted upstairs, with the warmth, to loll about in my beloved nest, on the apparently cheesy but really luxuriously metaphysical fake jaguar bedspread, gazing at the brilliant cerulean sky through the skylight above the bed, and reading poetry.
Ha!

Actually I started with the I Ching, but I found it impenetrable, as usual, only dry this time. So I pulled out a slim little volume of poems, sent to me ages back by Larry, but as yet uncracked, by possibly my favorite author of fiction, Sylvia Townsend Warner.
At the back was an "Afterword" by another of her admirers, Claire Harman ~

"Sylvia Townsend Warner has, as she foresaw, turned out to be a posthumous poet, but whether her books wander in or out of print is rather beside the point. No fashion can extinguish writing as fine as hers."

Well put. All sorts of literary droogs are esteemed finer in published history than Sylvia, by their peers. She, however, is peerless. Take them away from my bookshelf and keep her.

Sylvia and I communed for a several timeless hours and I read the little book at last from cover to cover. Having just sent, in a state just shy of despondency, the impossible puzzle of Cebah's Kitchen off to Cathy, like a terminal patient to a faithhealer, I picked out a poem with kitchen associations, with a message I needed to read, to share with you.

"Fie on the heart ill-swept..."

Fie on the heart ill-swept
Where sorrows over-kept
Sodden with tears and foul
Lie mouldering cheek by jowl
With mildewed revenges
Grown tasteless with time's changes,
Limp wraths and mumbled visions,
Fly-blown into derisions,
Delights jellied to slime
And tag ends of rhyme.

Life! Grant me a harder
Housewifery in my larder,
And if I may not eat
Fresh-killed meat,
Crisp joy and dewy loathing,
Let me have done with loving.
Aye, though philosophy's
Wan pulse my palate freeze
Ere I to carrion swerve
Carrion-like, let me starve.

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