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29 December 2009 @ 03:48 pm
W.H Auden - For The Time Being

Well, so that is that. Now we must dismantle the tree,
Putting the decorations back into their cardboard boxes --
Some have got broken -- and carrying them up to the attic.
The holly and the mistletoe must be taken down and burnt,
And the children got ready for school. There are enough
Left-overs to do, warmed-up, for the rest of the week --
Not that we have much appetite, having drunk such a lot,
Stayed up so late, attempted -- quite unsuccessfully --
To love all of our relatives, and in general
Grossly overestimated our powers.
                                                                  Once again
As in previous years we have seen the actual Vision and failed
To do more than entertain it as an agreeable
Possibility, once again we have sent Him away,
Begging though to remain His disobedient servant,
The promising child who cannot keep His word for long.
The Christmas Feast is already a fading memory,
And already the mind begins to be vaguely aware
Of an unpleasant whiff of apprehension at the thought
Of Lent and Good Friday which cannot, after all, now
Be very far off.
                           But, for the time being, here we all are,
Back in the moderate Aristotelian city
Of darning and the Eight-Fifteen, where Euclid's geometry
And Newton's mechanics would account for our experience,
And the kitchen table exists because I scrub it.
It seems to have shrunk during the holidays. The streets
Are much narrower than we remembered; we had forgotten
The office was as depressing as this.
                                                                     To those who have seen
The Child, however dimly, however incredulously,
The Time Being is, in a sense, the most trying time of all.
For the innocent children who whispered so excitedly
Outside the locked door where they knew the presents to be
Grew up when it opened. Now, recollecting that moment
We can repress the joy, but the guilt remains conscious;
Remembering the stable where for once in our lives
Everything became a You and nothing was an It.
And craving the sensation but ignoring the cause,
We look round for something, no matter what, to inhibit
Our self-reflection, and the obvious thing for that purpose
Would be some great suffering. So, once we have met the Son,
We are tempted ever after to pray to the Father;
"Lead us into temptation and evil for our sake."

They will come, all right, don't worry; probably in a form
That we do not expect, and certainly with a force
More dreadful than we can imagine. In the meantime
There are bills to be paid, machines to keep in repair,
Irregular verbs to learn, the Time Being to redeem
From insignificance. The happy morning is over,
The night of agony still to come; the time is noon:
When the Spirit must practice his scales of rejoicing
Without even a hostile audience, and the Soul endure
A silence that is neither for nor against her faith
That God's Will will be done, That, in spite of her prayers,
God will cheat no one, not even the world of its triumph.
Current Mood: sleepysleepy
27 December 2009 @ 02:14 pm
*right, so the typist wants to continue this plot without crashing her browser, so new post! with enough space between it and the old post for Guil to start analyzing voice samples from the queen and Hamlet (what, you think he wasn't recording them the whole time?) and review some security video from the lobby that may or may not be relevant to the case. bother him if you like.*
Current Mood: curiouscurious
14 November 2009 @ 01:01 pm
*lingering near baggage claim at an airport in France, tracing the shape of a stone he keeps in his coat pocket as he searches the crowd pouring in for a glimpse of someone familiar, and tries not to look so impatient and excited (-- he is impatient -- he is excited -- but it would be unmannerly to look it --)*
Current Mood: anxiousanxious
13 August 2009 @ 11:35 am
*it's a rather elegant profession, Guildenstern thinks, the law of non-contradiction made practicable -- they don't simply look for lies and secrets, they look for inconsistencies, breaks in patterns personal and universal, patterns that exist whether one is aware of them or not -- and Guildenstern would rather be aware of them. that's why he spent years studying micro-expressions and manipulators and emblematic slips, becoming as fluent in them as he is in Classical Latin, and why he's at the office in Elsinore even now using a spare moment to test himself on the METT. (because whether or not he likes to say it's what they do -- in a place like Elsinore, there is always a business for lies and secrets. it was a wise move setting up shop there.)*
Current Mood: workingworking
17 April 2009 @ 10:33 am
Billy Collins - Marginalia

Sometimes the notes are ferocious,
skirmishes against the author
raging along the borders of every page
in tiny black script.
If I could just get my hands on you,
Kierkegaard, or Conor Cruise O'Brien,
they seem to say,
I would bolt the door and beat some logic into your head.

Other comments are more offhand, dismissive -
"Nonsense." "Please!" "HA!!" -
that kind of thing.
I remember once looking up from my reading,
my thumb as a bookmark,
trying to imagine what the person must look like
who wrote "Don't be a ninny"
alongside a paragraph in The Life of Emily Dickinson.

Students are more modest
needing to leave only their splayed footprints
along the shore of the page.
One scrawls "Metaphor" next to a stanza of Eliot's.
Another notes the presence of "Irony"
fifty times outside the paragraphs of A Modest Proposal.

Or they are fans who cheer from the empty bleachers,
Hands cupped around their mouths.
"Absolutely," they shout
to Duns Scotus and James Baldwin.
"Yes." "Bull's-eye." "My man!"
Check marks, asterisks, and exclamation points
rain down along the sidelines.

And if you have managed to graduate from college
without ever having written "Man vs. Nature"
in a margin, perhaps now
is the time to take one step forward.

We have all seized the white perimeter as our own
and reached for a pen if only to show
we did not just laze in an armchair turning pages;
we pressed a thought into the wayside,
planted an impression along the verge.

Even Irish monks in their cold scriptoria
jotted along the borders of the Gospels
brief asides about the pains of copying,
a bird signing near their window,
or the sunlight that illuminated their page-
anonymous men catching a ride into the future
on a vessel more lasting than themselves.

And you have not read Joshua Reynolds,
they say, until you have read him
enwreathed with Blake's furious scribbling.

Yet the one I think of most often,
the one that dangles from me like a locket,
was written in the copy of Catcher in the Rye
I borrowed from the local library
one slow, hot summer.
I was just beginning high school then,
reading books on a davenport in my parents' living room,
and I cannot tell you
how vastly my loneliness was deepened,
how poignant and amplified the world before me seemed,
when I found on one page

A few greasy looking smears
and next to them, written in soft pencil-
by a beautiful girl, I could tell,
whom I would never meet-
"Pardon the egg salad stains, but I'm in love."
26 March 2008 @ 02:07 pm
Dana Gioia - Words

The world does not need words. It articulates itself
in sunlight, leaves, and shadows. The stones on the path
are no less real for lying uncatalogued and uncounted.
The fluent leaves speak only the dialect of pure being.
The kiss is still fully itself though no words were spoken.

And one word transforms it into something less or other
illicit, chaste, perfunctory, conjugal, covert.
Even calling it a kiss betrays the fluster of hands
glancing the skin or gripping a shoulder, the slow
arching of neck or knee, the silent touching of tongues.

Yet the stones remain less real to those who cannot
name them, or read the mute syllables graven in silica.
To see a red stone is less than seeing it as jasper
metamorphic quartz, cousin to the flint the Kiowa
carved as arrowheads. To name is to know and remember.

The sunlight needs no praise piercing the rainclouds,
painting the rocks and leaves with light, then dissolving
each lucent droplet back into the clouds that engendered it.
The daylight needs no praise, and so we praise it always
greater than ourselves and all the airy words we summon.
(if you've been following, Golda is now, despite life-long efforts and professed ideals (compromised only because Rosie is just so cute), in a relationship -- this is worth stating, and re-stating, because she still can't quite believe it, still doesn't know how it happened, though she knows well enough that it did. even after accepting the development and taking it as an assumed premise, she still has no idea how, and by what logic, to proceed (awkward and uncertain, like a teenage girl with her first-only crush) -- so she goes for advice to the only people she can trust -- the published pedants at the campus library.

picking up a book on lesbian relations, she soon discovers it is not a discourse on the emotional metaphysics involved, but a sort of technical manual, with illustrations -- and she blushes scarlet, snapping it shut, thrusting it back on the shelf. this may take an afternoon.
Current Mood: embarrassedembarrassed
29 March 2007 @ 07:46 pm
a letter(laertes/guildenstern)Collapse )
Current Mood: depresseddepressed
Current Music: sing me anything
(a familiar scene -- Guildenstern at work in his clean work clothes and bright work apron, sitting at a stool behind the desk amidst the coffee-scent and machinery that make up his job -- and not, of course, doing anything of it, but reading the back-and-forth argument of articles in an academic journal, pages spread (wing-like) on the counter for enjoying the long pause between customers.)
Current Mood: calmcalm
12 December 2006 @ 02:39 pm
(nobody talks in libraries. that's what Guildenstern likes about them -- it's a place where idle, friendly conversation is not only scarce but discouraged, in which the books outnumber the people by far and take the first importance -- Guildenstern almost wrote a book himself once, and several articles for miscellaneous, independent journals, on free thought, on criticism -- he was once almost something of an orator, speculating aloud on the most ordinary of topics with all the heavy gravity a philosopher can spare them. now he doesn't like to talk, except to Rosencrantz, at home; now he works at a library in England, a modern one with art deco elevators and open spaces no less quiet for it, shelving books that aren't his own, that he has no interest in reading, notlookingat nottalkingto anybody. he thinks he likes it.

so today he is working, sleeves rolled up and coat and hat left neatly at a table, with the certain blank look of someone who expects to see no one he knows --
Current Mood: apatheticapathetic