Friday, October 30, 2015

In The Land of Crinoline

Here I am hanging out with the shorter side of the family.
Left to Right: My mother, Olga Butler Hopper, her mother, Susie Redd Butler, 
my aunt, Marita Butler Brimhall, myself: The Bride, twin cousin, Mocella Brimhall,
cousin Marilym Brimhall not in a good mood, twin cousin Marita Brimhall.
This was taken the day of my wedding, June 21, 1955, or perhaps the day before.
I am wearing one of my favorite dresses with more expensive fabric than I usually used.
It was a modern cityscape print in browns and tans with touches 
of bright peach and turquoise. Fitted bodice, full flared skirt. 
No crinolines; Marilyn was horrified and loaned me a slip for under my wedding dress.
I had remembered I made this dress after I married; I know I bought the fabric at my favorite
fabric store in Provo, Utah (a woman names Crilla worked there, but that is another story) 
and I was only at BYU for that school year, so I must have made it then. 
I wore it for years and years, and still wish I had kept a piece of the fabric.
When she learned I had not planned a reception 
(I had always planned to get my PhD. before even thinking about marriage!)
Aunt Marita stepped up to the plate and made me an outdoor party
complete with home-made hamburger buns. Lots of family friends came.
My mother bought a cake with a white sugar bell on the top.
This picture was taken on slide film with my mother's Contax camera, 
perhaps by my father. It was underexposed, but I have lilghtened it.


My body, now that we will not be traveling together much longer
I begin to feel a new tenderness toward you, very raw and                                                                                                          unfamiliar,
like what I remember of love when I was young---

love that was so often foolish in its objectives
but never in its choices, its intensities.
Too much demanded in advance, too  much that could not be

My soul has been so fearful, so violent: 
forgive its brutality.
As though it were that soul, my hand moves over you cautiously,

not wishing to give offense
but eager, finally, to achieve expression as substance:

it is not the earth I will miss,
it is you I will miss.

Louise Gluck
A Village Life, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2009, page 62.
One critic has called this poem perhaps the most moving in this moving volume of poems. 
In three three-line stanzas and two two line stanzas, the ideas are beautifully expressed.
It is worth it to read the whole book! This is what I recommend! It is not a terribly long book
and is work by a poet who has mastered the lyric peom.  jhh

1 comment:

  1. I was a little dense on the first reading, thinking at first that the poet/persona was speaking to and caressing a lover, a life's partner. Then I got it that the "I", nearing the end of her live, is addressing her own body. The poem seems to be a holy trinity: the body, the soul, the I.