Sunday, April 15, 2012

Hi sweetheart, peaceful hour, the gloaming, or maybe not really, it's just become overcast. I hope you've had a wonderful day, I had a nice one, myself. I've done a lot of thinking, and gears seem to have slipped into place, sprockets into notches (as on a multi-speed bicycle chain). I feel a little more resolute -- though admittedly in a not terribly coherent way. I realize that I'm very badly mixing metaphors here, but it's as though I'm in a manageable body of water, a small lake, or large pond, in a rowboat -- only there's peasoup fog, I can't see a thing, and so rather than just sit there waiting for the fog to clear, I decide to pick up the oars and just row.... plash plash plash.... since it's all mysteriously gloomy and opaque, sounds become attenuated, and I feel my arms move, with strength and purpose, and the boat moves as the oars dip deep into the still water and back out again... and quite possibly I'm simply going around in circles, because I don't know how to row, not really, but it hardly matters, because it's just a metaphor... it's my metaphor and I'll move that boat if I want to... it's not going around in circles, it's moving forward... even if I don't know what's ahead. (Signed, Alice, in Wonderland.)

D's at the movies, has finally taken himself to go see Hugo, a movie I enjoyed very much, and knew that he would love. Really -- at the Oscars? -- as far as I'm concerned, that movie was robbed. It's beautiful, and magical, and brilliant, and I'm sure that D will come back completely enthralled and buzzed about it. I can't remember the last time he went to the movies... so I'm glad he was able to catch, like a Scarsdale train from GCT (or the Paris train station in Hugo), the 5:05...

I woke up, wakefully, very early this morning, before six, and got up, and so managed to get in a good brisk walk before church, where a bit later, I capably played the organ (I really enjoy this gig). Then, oh what then, my mind got to 'wanderin' and 'ponderin', to borrow from the singer-songwriter Laura Marling, aimlessly adrift, well not completely aimlessly, more like on the locks of the Panama Canal, transitioning from one phase of thinking to another...

I've just come back from a very charming and beautifully done poetry reading, in Hillsdale, a hill-town east of here, near the MA border. In the middle of a vast empty field there they've built a low-rise brand-new community library building -- it's quite nice, state-of-the-art -- architecturally a little cold, like a "modern" building on a venerable Ivy campus -- oh whatever -- it was nice. The reading was of love poems -- "love" defined very broadly, to encompass all sorts of love, not just romantic (to which of course poetry is justly & aptly suited). The readers & interpreters were marvelous; he, an erudite literary academician, who at least once upon a time had specialized in Henry James (and spoke in perhaps roughly the same gentle yet magisterial cadences -- unpretentious though!! -- as that -- well, we think of Henry James as an Old Master -- but I'm sure (or am I?) that he didn't to himself) -- and a woman, older, slim, fashionably appointed with lacquered nails, gray hair pulled back in a velvet clutch, dark lavender & black striped tunic dress paired with (aha! in mid-April!) opaque dark hose --- hopelessly chic -- and she read her verses -- they each took turns, including within some individual poems -- sounding very much --- well she had an English accent -- like one of those voices on a radio program that one hears Isaiah Shepherd [sp?] introduce, who will read aloud a short story one hasn't previously heard of, but once one hears the cadences of this confident, beautiful, expressive - just exactly right - voice launch into the preliminary lines -- one can sit back and relax and simply savor the telling of a wonderful tale - or in this afternoon's case, poem -- and know that one is in deft, expert, musical, theatrical, fantastically, unvainly declaiming hands.

Ah, darling, which only reminds me --- as you lie against me, listening to me tell my story, and you close your eyes (perhaps) against my breast and listen to the beat of my heart pounding as I go on & on, or perhaps in idle moments as you listen you get busy at my breasts, and do you know I really like a bit of a sense of teeth, not too hard, but not too soft either

oh darn - I've forgotten my thread!
just remembered - oh it wasn't such a great thread --
anyway, yesterday at the 'international' literary reading, there was a young woman writer from Poland, who’s written a book published not only in Poland -- but translated and published in England (quite an achievement). She was about to start reading, in front of the rapt group assembled in the top-floor loft space – when she asked, is there anyone Polish here? Because, you see, the writers each read aloud in their native tongues, and then the same pieces in translation --

but she was the only one who uncertainly thus queried the audience -- is anyone here Polish? I raised my hand. And she, at the small informal podium, at the front of the skylit room (outside the window the backdrop was of exquisite wedding-cake-like decorative cornices at the rooflines of the sunlit Main Street buildings), beamed with surprise and delight. Polish-American, I clarified...

And then she launched, in a very very low, soft voice - and at quadruple-speed – into reading from her piece.

Which I was dying to hear -- in Polish! I really wished to hear it!

So I said, politely but pointedly raising my voice from the back of several rows of plastic chairs -- proszę głośniej-- which she understood. She smilingly stopped, and suggested that I sit closer, in a front row, so that I could hear the Polish...

No, it wasn't about that, I stayed put – and I understand that she's a writer, and not a professional reader or verbal storyteller --

but it’s too bad
I missed the whole thing (as did the rest of the audience, I’m sure) - both in Polish, and in translation
because she read so inaudibly & at such speed that the meaning was completely lost

I mean -- it's really nice to be a writer --
and I can respect performance anxiety -- and nerves
but if you're reading aloud to people who genuinely would like to hear what you have to say -- then please try to utter it in a way that there’s a hope of being understood

and so --- well, that's the contrast between this nervous Polish young author, and the seasoned actress this afternoon, with her mellifluous & exquisitely polished cadences, declaiming poetic lines, in a most expressive, alive manner, her delivery itself -- poetry

I didn't stick around to meet/greet the young Polish writer at the elegant loft space in town
nor did I comment at -- as much as I enjoyed -- the poetry reading this afternoon, in an entirely different setting, spare modernist structure set in vast open space

I think too, from this morning, of my experience in church
I really love it when lay 'celebrants' are able to read, not vainly, but with comprehension and feeling -- the readings (unfortunately the gospels are too often garbled)
because it's not about 'you'
nerves shouldn't --- at least philosophically -- be a part of it
Read it -- tell it -- say it -- like you mean it -- like you feel it
like you want others to hear what you're saying
I want to hear what you're saying! and understand it too! whatever tongue -- including one -- Polish -- that I can understand --- as long as you're reciting it slow enough, for me, like a bird to catch your morsels...

Anyway, that's that, darling... three-D snapshot of my day... and I lack stereograph vision... but maybe -- I make up for it in this way

love you

No comments:

Post a Comment