I measure time by how a body sways

ENTRY # 25 A long time ago, I interpreted “A Midsummer Nights Dream” with another sign language interpreter – male. We attended the show to begin our translations.

“We must starve our eyes of loves food til morrow deep midnight”

He blinked, “Damn, a guy could get laid with a line like that!” Okay, broken down to its most base level, but, yeah, a guy could. Words are powerful that way. Poetry more so. So, languid days…thinking of shining bodies in the sun brings me here…

I Knew a Woman BY THEODORE ROETHKE

I knew a woman, lovely in her bones,
When small birds sighed, she would sigh back at them;
Ah, when she moved, she moved more ways than one:
The shapes a bright container can contain!
Of her choice virtues only gods should speak,
Or English poets who grew up on Greek
(I’d have them sing in chorus, cheek to cheek).

How well her wishes went! She stroked my chin,
She taught me Turn, and Counter-turn, and Stand;
She taught me Touch, that undulant white skin;
I nibbled meekly from her proffered hand;
She was the sickle; I, poor I, the rake,
Coming behind her for her pretty sake
(But what prodigious mowing we did make).

Love likes a gander, and adores a goose:
Her full lips pursed, the errant note to seize;
She played it quick, she played it light and loose;
My eyes, they dazzled at her flowing knees;
Her several parts could keep a pure repose,
Or one hip quiver with a mobile nose
(She moved in circles, and those circles moved).

Let seed be grass, and grass turn into hay:
I’m martyr to a motion not my own;
What’s freedom for? To know eternity.
I swear she cast a shadow white as stone.
But who would count eternity in days?
These old bones live to learn her wanton ways:
(I measure time by how a body sways).

comments

Francois Lachance, lachance@chass.utoronto.ca, http://www.chass.utoronto.ca/~lachance/jardin/html/TEIblog.htm, , 128.100.160.1, 1084320701, 2004-05-16 20:41:17, It would be tempting to respond to reading the Roethke line “Whats freedom for? To know eternity” with a passage from Tim Dlugos “New Music” — “It gets moe complicated with the years / And less so. there must be ten million ways / Of making love, but all I need are three: / The new, the old, the unexpected. Grace” but since I have been threading readings in pairs and the one paired with this one involves the image of children asleep and a picture of a pillow cushioning the trace of an absent head. http://weez.oyzon.com/archives/000828.html (March 14, 2004) and so I call on Sappho to sew the themes together. From Sappho fragment 16 as translated by Anne Carson “I would rather see her lovely step / and the motion of light on her face / than chariots of Lydians or ranks / of footsoldiers in arms.”

elouise, elouise@Oyzon.com, http://weez.oyzon.com, , 24.93.30.88, 1084362726, 2004-05-16 20:41:17, Very nice counterpoint.

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