“Ask her what she craved, and she’d get a little frantic about things like books, the woods, music. Plants and the seasons. Also freedom.” ~ Charles Frazier, from Nightwoods

Writer Anne Sexton (1928-1974)

A Different Two for Tuesday

Tuesday afternoon, mostly cloudy and colder, 36 degrees.

Greetings to those of you out there in the ether. Hoping you are well. Luckily, we’ve missed the massive storm that’s hitting everyone, and all of the dogs are better and doing well. So that’s a definite relief.

Apologies for the dearth of posts in recent days; we’ve had Wi-Fi issues, as I stated last night. I hope to be able to do a regular post tomorrow, but I’ve had this particular post planned for a couple of weeks.

Instead of two shorter poems, I’ve been saving this beautiful longer poem by one of my favorite writers, Anne Sexton—

Letter Written During a January Northeaster

Monday

Dearest,
It is snowing, grotesquely snowing
upon the small faces of the dead.
Those dear loudmouths, gone for over a year,
buried side by side
like little wrens.
But why should I complain?
The dead turn over casually,
thinking:
Good! No visitors today.
My window, which is not a grave,
is dark with my fierce concentration
and too much snowing
and too much silence.
The snow has quietness in it; no songs,
no smells, no shouts nor traffic.
When I speak
my own voice shocks me.

Tuesday

I have invented a lie,
there is no other day but Monday.
It seems reasonable to pretend
that I could change the day
like a pair of socks.
To tell the truth
days are all the same size
and words aren’t much company.
If I were sick, I’d be a child,
tucked in under the woolens, sipping my broth.
As it is,
the days are not worth grabbing
or lying about.

Monday

It would be pleasant to be drunk:
faithless to my own tongue and hands,
giving up the boundaries
for the heroic gin.
Dead drunk
is the term I think of,
insensible,
neither cool nor warm,
without a head or a foot.
To be drunk is to be intimate with a fool.
I will try it shortly.

Monday

Just yesterday,
twenty eight men aboard a damaged radar tower
foundered down seventy miles off the coast.
Immediately their hearts slammed shut.
The storm would not cough them up.
Today they are whispering over Sonar.
Small voice,
what do you say?
Aside from the going down, the awful wrench,
The pulleys and hooks and the black tongue . . .
What are your headquarters?
Are they kind?

Monday

It must be Friday by now.
I admit I have been lying.
Days don’t freeze
And to say that the snow has quietness in it
is to ignore the possibilities of the word.
Only the tree has quietness in it;
quiet as a pair of antlers
waiting on the cabin wall,
quiet as the crucifix,
pounded out years ago like a handmade shoe.
Someone once
told an elephant to stand still.
That’s why trees remain quiet all winter.
They’re not going anywhere.

Monday

Dearest,
where are your letters?
The mailman is an impostor.
He is actually my grandfather.
He floats far off in the storm
with his nicotine mustache and a bagful of nickels.
His legs stumble through
baskets of eyelashes.
Like all the dead
he picks up his disguise,
shakes it off and slowly pulls down the shade,
fading out like an old movie.
Now he is gone
as you are gone.
But he belongs to me like lost baggage.


Music by Down Like Silver, “Any Day”

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2 thoughts on ““Ask her what she craved, and she’d get a little frantic about things like books, the woods, music. Plants and the seasons. Also freedom.” ~ Charles Frazier, from Nightwoods

  1. Hmm. Is there some kind of extraterrestrial radiation frying all the wireless routers? Ours had to be replaced… We were waiting for Son #2 to return the spare he borrowed, but he couldn’t find it, after all… so we bought a used one. It seems to be working… Meanwhile: lots and lots of reading. Finished “The Good German,” and enjoyed it. Now I am churning through “Villette,” frustrating, because when it comes to some good part, she changes to francaise and I have to look it up, as I no longer remember much, and I won’t tell you HOW many years I had…
    Whole book is worth it, if just for this:
    “Petite chatte, doucerette, coquette!” sibillated the sudden boa- constrictor; “vous avez l’air bien triste, soumis, rêveur, mais vous ne l’êtes pas: c’est moi qui vous le dis: Sauvage! la flamme à l’âme, l’éclair aux yeux!”
    “Oui; j’ai la flamme à l’âme, et je dois l’avoir!”
    Translation:
    “Little pussy, sweetie, flirt!” Sibillated the sudden boa constrictor; “You look very sad, submissive, dreamy, but you are not: I say it to you: Savage! the flame to the soul, the lightning in the eyes! ”
    “Yes; I have the flame to the soul, and I must have it! ”
    (From Villette, by Charlotte Bronte)

    1. Okay, so the few words I couldn’t recall were soumis and l’éclair, because I immediately associated the latter with the dessert. I love the phrase lightning in the eyes/l’éclair aux yeux. So would that be J’ai l’éclair aux mon yeux for I have the lightning in my eyes?

      Every time there’s wind here, and it’s pretty furious because we’re at the top of the ridge but the house is in a declivity, we lose either the cable, or the internet, or the power, or all three. Fun times.

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