Friday, July 13, 2012
The Hours: Tulips, Ejaculation, and Shadows
"I have let things slip/a thirty year old cargo boat stubbornly hanging onto my name and address" (Sylvia Plath, "Tulips") A thirty year old cargo boat...each time I hear the rushing water, each I find myself locked in homemade shackles, each time I accept defeat, that description comes to mind. Whoever I was, whoever I was suppose to be, whatever life is, I often fail to see the meaning. Yes, "there is a beauty in the world, but its often harsher than we expect it to be" (Michael Cunningham, THE HOURS) Why is one man blessed and another cursed? I somehow doubt that answer lies in cheap cliches about hard work or a positive mantras. Maybe there isn't an answer. Maybe that's the joke. If there is a plan than why do I so often find more comfort in poems of atheists and agnostics than scripture? "In this short interval to tear/The living words from dying air/To pull them to me, quick and brave/ As swordfish from a silver wave/To drag them dripping, cold and salt/To suffocation in this vault/The which a lid of vapour shuts/To shake them down like hazel-nuts/Or golden acorns from this oak/Whose twigs are flame above the smoke/To snatch them suddenly from dust/Like apples flavored with the frost/ Of mountain valleys marbled-cupped/To leap to them and interrupt/Their flight that cleaves the atmosphere/As white and arrowy troop of deer/Divide the forest,--make my words/Like feathers torn from living birds!" (Elinor Wylie "Ejaculation") Perhaps, I was left groping in the dark for too long. The shutters have closed over my eyes. Once expired can something be brought back? Are we Lazarus? "And if, in the changing phases of man's life/I fall in sickeness and in misery/ my wrists seem broken and my heart seems dead/ and strength is gone, and my life isonly the leavings of a life;//and still, among it all, snatches of lovely oblivion, and snatches of renewal/odd, wintry flowers upon the withered stem, yet new, strangeflowers/such as my life has not brought forth before, new blossoms of me--//then I must know that still I am in the hands [of] the unknown God/he is breaking me down to his own oblivion/to send me forth on a new morning, a new man" (D.H. Lawrence "Shadows": According to Harold Bloom, the Sterling Professor of Humanities at Yale University: "Like Shelley, Hardy, and Whitman,the poet Lawrence was not a Christian but a seer of the invisible.") Thirty year old cargo boats, feathers torn from living birds, breaking us down to his oblivion...are we made new again? Even if we are resuscitated, why must we wait? Why stumble so long in the black? Why must some continue to cry out and scrape against walls while others dance in the sun? Those are questions no one can answer. Those are the ones we think about in the dark. "Because there are still the hours, aren't there? One and then another and you get through that one and, my god, there's another" (Cunningham) A Thirty Year Old Cargo Boat stubbornly hanging onto my name and address.