Monday, August 27, 2012

St. Botolph's: Red Scarves and Stamping Feet

"I was stamping and he was stamping on the floor, and then he kissed me bang smash on the mouth and ripped my hairband off, my lovely red headband scarf which had weathered the sun and much, and whose like I shall never again find, and my favorite silver earrings: hah, I shall keep, he barked.  And when he kissed my neck I bit him long and hard on the cheek, and when we ccame out of the room, blood was running down his face..."

In February of 1956, Fulbright Scholarship winner, Sylvia Plath found herself a date and headed to a Cambridge party with one goal in mind: Locating Ted Hughes.  In fact, "their meeting that night, as Hughes relates" in his poem "St. Botolph's," is "now literary legend."  So the story goes, prior to their introduction, Plath had read and memorized Hughes' poems.  When the two met that night their"attraction was immediate and mutual."  In fact, as soon as she arrived at the party, Sylvia abandoned her escort and set out to find Hughes, and find him she did.  In the noisy main room, Hughes "mentioned his girlfriend".  Sylvia paid no attention.  Instead, she stamped her foot and quoted his own poetry back to him.  He stamped his foot back at her, until they could no longer resist one another.  The rest is history.

My Darlings, you want to know my point?  Well, here it is: Some people are worth waiting on and fighting for, but, my Sweethearts, you'll never win a match if you always run away in fear. Instead, adorn yourself in the color red and make your Hughes feel your heat.  In Chapters of Mythology, Judith Kroll writes of Sylvia's favorite color: It is a color naturally associated with blood, danger and violence, as well as vitality.  Red, in Kroll's view, is the color that calls to the true, vital self sleeping within the poet."  And, keep in mind, all foot stamping aside, you're gonna have to learn a little patience here.  Now, listen to me, the result you're hoping for probably won't happen overnight.  It didn't for Sylvia.  Hughes remained attached to his "loaded crossbow" for a few more months, but Miss Plath was nonplussed.  The truth is, my precious Sylvia Wannabees, if you do not believe you are worth the investment, why should he?  Now take courage, tie a red scarf in your hair, stamp your foot, and let him take your silver earrings as a reminder of how hot your fire burns.

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