Wednesday Words

East Coker
T.S. Eliot

 

V

So here I am, in the middle way, having had twenty years —
Twenty years largely wasted, the years of l’entre deux guerres
Trying to learn to use words, and every attempt
Is a wholly new start, and a different kind of failure
Because one has only learnt to get the better of words
For the thing one no longer has to say, or the way in which
One is no longer disposed to say it. And so each venture
Is a new beginning, a raid on the inarticulate
With shabby equipment always deteriorating
In the general mess of imprecision of feeling,
Undisciplined squads of emotion. And what there is to conquer
By strength and submission, has already been discovered
Once or twice, or several times, by men whom one cannot hope
To emulate — but there is no competition —
There is only the fight to recover what has been lost
And found and lost again and again: and now, under conditions
That seem unpropitious. But perhaps neither gain nor loss.
For us there is only the trying. The rest is not our business.

Home is where one starts from. As we grow older
The world becomes stranger, the pattern more complicated
Of dead and living. Not the intense moment
Isolated, with no before and after,
But a lifetime burning in every moment
And not the lifetime of one man only
But of old stones that cannot be deciphered.

There is a time for the evening under starlight,
A time for the evening under lamplight
(The evening with the photograph album).
Love is most nearly itself
When here and now cease to matter.
Old men ought to be explorers
Here or there does not matter
We must be still and still moving
Into another intensity
Fro a further union, a deeper communion
Through the dark cold and the empty desolation,
The wave cry, the wind cry, the vast waters
Of the petrel and the porpoise. In my end is my beginning.

 

 

— This is the fifth and final section of “East Coker,” the second poem in Eliot’s Four Quartets

Reading Watching Listening

Reading…

What Happened by Hillary Clinton. It’s important.

Watching…

Good Girls Revolt. Fantastic writing. Kickass costumes. This show will make you want to stand up for something. And that is just about the most important thing these days.

Listening…

The The Is Us soundtrack. It’s so good. So. Good. For a show that makes me cry every single episode, the soundtrack makes me oddly happy. Plus, I’ve been waiting years for a new song from Mandy Moore, and she kills it on her cover of “Willin'”

 

Wednesday Words

When I have Fears That I May Cease to Be
John Keats

When I have fears that I may cease to be
Before my pen has gleaned my teeming brain,
Before high-pilèd books, in charactery,
Hold like rich garners the full ripened grain;
When I behold, upon the night’s starred face,
Huge cloudy symbols of a high romance,
And think that I may never live to trace
Their shadows with the magic hand of chance;
And when I feel, fair creature of an hour,
That I shall never look upon thee more,
Never have relish in the faery power
Of unreflecting love — then on the shore
Of the wide world I stand alone, and think
Till love and fame to nothingness do sink.

 

— from Complete Poems and Selected Letters of John Keats (The Modern Library, 2001)

Wednesday Words

In the Drawing Room

How they’re all around us, these gentlemen
in chamberlain’s dress and jabots,
like a night growing ever darker
around its Order Star, implacably,
and these ladies, slight and fragile, yet
made large by their dresses, one hand in their laps,
small, like a tiny dog with its collar:
how they’re around us all: around the reader,
around the peruser of these bibelots,
of which several remain their property.

Tactful, they let us live life undisturbed
as we conceive it and as they fail
to understand it. They wanted to blossom,
and blossoming is being beautiful. But we want to ripen,
and this means being dark and taking pains.

 

— from The Poetry of Rilke: Bilingual Edition, trans. & ed. Edward Snow (North Point Press, 2009)

Wednesday Words

Renamed. Reworked. Same basic premise as the “Required Readings” I was doing before.

I recently wrote a review of Sue Sinclair’s Heaven’s Thieves, and I still find myself thinking about it almost daily.

Vacation

The shoddy balconies,
sliding glass panels,
reflected swirl
of leaves.
 
Why does everything
that appears in glass
look like a face?
 
The mirror-trees stand half
in this world and half somewhere else,
a place not necessarily better than this one
 
but faraway
and therefore enviable.
 

— from Heaven’s Thieves (Brick Books, 2017)

Reading Watching Listening

Reading…

Wine. All the Time. by Marissa A. Ross. The book has blurbs from both Mindy Kaling and Leandra Medine, so OBVIOUSLY I was going to get it. And it’s great. I’m now swirling and smelling and sipping and taking tasting notes. I’ve learned A LOT. Plus Ross is hilarious and I kind of want to be her best friend.

Watching…

Fleabag. WHY DIDN’T I WATCH THIS SOONER!? Phoebe Waller-Bridge is brilliant. It’s dark. It’s twisted. It made me sob. Really sob. The pacing is so spot on. The comedic rhythm is just off kilter in a way that works so well. Breaking the fourth wall has never worked so well. I’m already excited about season two.

Listening…

Vanessa Carlton. Because it felt really right the other night and still feels pretty right.

Reading Watching Listening

Reading…

Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick. I would like to be best friends with Kendrick, please and thank you. This book is hilarious and smart.

 

Watching…

Company. I’m am fully on board basically any time I can watch a filmed version of a stage musical. It’s as close as I get to Broadway. The cast in this production is phenomenal (though my deep love for Raúl Esparza may make me a touch biased…).

 

Listening…

The soundtrack to Violet. It’s weird. It’s good. It’s Sutton Foster.

Reading Watching Listening

Reading…

Theory. Endless amounts of theory. But also this: Stephanie Bolster’s “Long Exposure“. I’m writing about it for the dissertation, which is why I am re-reading it now as I’m (hopelessly, inchingly, painfully) attempting to finish the proposal. But it’s good. It’s one of the texts in my dissertation that I’m almost scared to write about because I so don’t want to destroy it.

 

Watching…

Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life. Obviously.

 

Listening…

Hamilton Mixtape. Hamilton. Mixtape. All day every day. Especially Sia’s version of “Satisfied” because DAMN it is good.

Read (Watch) This

If you have about 17 minutes today, then I recommend you spend them watching this video of dialect coach Erik Singer analyzing movie accents. Accents are endlessly fascinating to me. And y’all know that I love a good critique. I appreciate that he provides lots of specific information; that bit appeals directly to my nerdy side.

(Video discovered via A Cup of Jo)

Reading Watching Listening

Reading…

How To Ruin Everything by George Watsky. I 100% purchased this book for two reasons: it has an amazing title and there is a review from Lin-Manuel Miranda on the front cover. Turns out these were solid reasons. I’m reading this probably as slowly as a human being can read any book, only making it through a handful of pages in bed every few nights, but I’m seriously enjoying it.

 

Watching…

Conviction. I have a handful of shows that I watch via network apps and this is one of them. The storylines are engaging, but what I am most enamoured with is Hayes Morrison, the lead character. She’s an anti-heroine of the first degree. And I love her. Hayley Atwell is killing it in this role. Oh, plus her wardrobe is a dream.

 

Listening…

Hiraeth, the new album from 100 Mile House. I’ve been a fan of 100 Mile House for many moons now, so I was tremendously excited to hear they were releasing something new. Stream it here right now: http://exclaim.ca/music/article/100_mile_house-hiraeth_album_stream?&utm_source=twitteren&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=entwitter