Thursday, January 17, 2013

This morning frost was falling like snow

"Mr.{Desmond} McCarthy was very quick to see my difficulty in establishing a style for an Alcestiad.{a play Wilder was planning on a classical plot}
He suggested I look at [Sir George] Dasent's translation of the Icelandic epics."
{from the first page of the text of  The Journals of Thornton Wilder}

So, in case we/you need something to do tomorrow afternoon, there will be Icelandic Sagas!
Note: I just went away to Kindle and have downloaded the free copy of Popular Tales from the Norse by the same Sir George. And I found, while there, a story I dearly loved as I child and have often wondered where it was "East of the Sun and West of the Moon." I had to pay for that because of the illustrations.
One shudders to think how much more steeped in the ancient texts Thornton could have been had he only had a Kindle! I have really been enjoying the biography, and just bought the Journals and some Letters in used copies. Before I started this biography--and I am only halfway through, having decided to bop around while reading, instead of finishing one book at a time. It's very freeing, enlightening,and slightly nutty.
After I learned to read,my goal was one book every day, finished before other obligations. Mom left the dinner dishes for me in the sink--I'd wash them, do homework, and go to bed in the midnight hour. Only War and Peace took me about a week. I was shocked my first year in college to discover that I only had time for about 3 books a week. That was my Maxwell Anderson and Thomas Wolfe period.

I never took up eye makeup, as being a waste of time if  one's lashes and brows
were dark enough to show.

I'm continuing with Louis Simpson; here is a short poem from his Selected Poems, p.99.

The Morning Light

In the morning light a line
Stretches forever. There my unlived life
Rises, and I resist,
Clinging to the steps of the throne.

Day lifts the darkness from the hills,
A bright blade cuts the reeds,
And my life, pitilessly demanding,
Rises forever in the morning light.

I don't think he needs the commas at the end of lines, or the Capital Letters
that begin each line, but I am sure he thought he did.  Good Night.

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