Monday Morning Musings:
Tell all the truth but tell it slant — (1263)
“Tell all the truth but tell it slant —
Success in Circuit lies
Too bright for our infirm Delight
The Truth’s superb surprise
As Lightning to the Children eased
With explanation kind
The Truth must dazzle gradually
Or every man be blind —“
A brilliant she is born
here, there, in the past, now
she lived, flowered—perhaps
a rose with thorns—
or a pale bud that only blooms unseen,
but the fever, the desire to create
is not enough,
confined by men,
(only a woman)
put in a box
on a shelf
in a cage
(shackled and punished)
Don’t think too hard, they say to her
your insides will be twisted,
you’ll go mad,
but she rises, resists
her voice rings out
and we wake
We see a new movie about Emily Dickinson
I learn afterward that
before she confined herself to life to Amherst,
to her home, garden, and poetry
she traveled a bit,
and to Philadelphia
walked the streets we’ve walked
I imagine her ghost lingering still
though the streets are paved and surrounded by new buildings,
she published only a few poems during her life
though she wrote thousands
she admired the Brontës,
women who had their work published
(though first under pseudonyms )
they loved their homes and families,
neither Emily married
(wives did not have time to write)
What was her truth
and what is truth
and does it slant,
or do we slant it?
Are facts facts
or alternate facts,
difficult, didactic, diffused
gradually, dazzlingly, deliciously
We see a performance of Gypsy
I remember watching the movie on TV
with a bit of a crush on Natalie Wood–
the way girls admire older teenage girls–
we let them entertain us
and make us smile.
the orchestra sweeps us along with Mama Rose,
the ultimate stage mother,
annoying, unyielding, and yet we feel sorry for her
as she seeks the American dream for her children
during the Great Depression
and watch, listen to the music and words of Laurents, Styne, and Sondheim,
the great American musical
I think the real Gypsy Rose Lee must have dazzled
but not all at once–
or rather showing only some, not all–
so that men would not be blinded,
but rather left with wanting more
as she entertained them and made them smile.
After the performance
on this Memorial Day weekend
the sky suddenly clears
delaying the delectable,
revealing the late spring night of beauty
and we sit, eat, drink
and watch the people walk by
listen to their conversations
wonder about their plans
the young woman leaning on the car taking a selfie
the man with his children waiting for their table,
the trio at the table next to us, discussing diets,
a couple strolls by, the woman says,
“But he’s no longer addicted.”
my husband and I agree that’s good,
even if it seems unlikely.
I think about Memorial Day
the day to honor and remember the military fallen,
the long weekend celebrated with parades, barbecue grills,
and trips “down the shore”
Isn’t it strange?
though perhaps not,
to celebrate life, instead of death
and isn’t that what they fought for–
so that we could sit and eat with our families in peace
so that all can receive educations, and not just those who can afford private schools
so all will be able to sort fact from fiction
so that all men and women, all genders, all races, and religions
can live in freedom
isn’t that why they fought
so that I can write these words
and you can read them?
slanted like the sunglow as evening falls
coming full circle
Today is Memorial Day here in the US. I am mindful and thankful for all the men and women who served and sacrificed their lives, even if I have not supported the wars and conflicts in which they fought.
We saw A Quiet Passion and Gypsy. We ate at Cuba Libre.
I dreamt poetry last night, but sadly I will not have much time to write it this week. As some of you know, I am reading, writing, and editing articles on rape, and my manuscript deadline is. . .um, gulp. . .this week. So. . .I may not be so active in Blogland for the next week or so. Then again, I do need to take a break occasionally. 😉
A lovely tribute to the Emilys and all the fallen soldiers who fought for their truths in order that we can see truths slanting slightly … Thanks Merril and good luck with deadlines 🙂
Thanks so much, Susan! 🙂
I will miss you and your dazzling poetry while you’re away on your writing deadline mission. Yes, we must dazzle slowly, so as not to blind – as writers, poets, strippers, lovers. Thanks for the review on the “Emily” movie – can’t wait to watch it. xo
Thanks so much, Pam!
A Quiet Passion is by the same director who did Sunset Song that I wrote about a few weeks ago. There are lots of slow beautifully lit scenes and wonderful music, as well as some funny lines, too.
Marvellously put together, Merril. So thoughtful with the slow revelation theme running through.
Thank you very much, Derrick. I’m glad you thought it so.
I love that last stanza, the reminder that life is to be lived, and not taken for granted.
Thank you, Sarah. I think that’s my favorite part, too. 🙂
Lots to chew on here, Merril! I love Emily. I could say more, but why? That says it all. As far as Gypsy goes, have you read Carolyn Quinn’s book Mama Rose’s Turn? So good. I loved getting all the behind the scenes info about the family and also the musical, too.
No, I haven’t read the book. I will have to look for it.
Cheers to your weekend … and a toast to you for weaving with poetic words.
Thank you, Frank. That’s a lovely comment.
I hope all is well with you.
Natalie Wood was truly magic on screen. I read recently that her sister, Lana, is homeless after having lost her house. She mentioned Natalie and said that if she were alive, Natalie would always watch out for her. Tragic.
I enjoyed your slide show. For a moment, I thought the rose was between your teeth. Do you tango, Merril? Lol. Great photos!
All the best with your project, darling! xo
Thank you, Rose. I hadn’t heard that about Natalie Wood’s sister. That is very sad.
No, I don’t really tango–just pretend. 🙂
It was such a beautiful night to be outside.
There’s some recent good news. A Go Fund Me campaign for Lana was started, and it read that 10k was needed to pay the back mortgage on her house, and over 29k has been collected since March.
Ah, you’re a tango pretender! Lol. I’m sure you’re adorable. 💃 Glad to hear the night was lovely for you!
As i mentioned on twitter- musical and magical these musing are Merril!
And you are delightful, dear Damien! I shall catch up with your poetry later. 🙂
“Yes” to get to say yes…that’s what they fought for and what we celebrate by this pause in time. (it really did feel like one this year…).
I’ll try to sent some extra energy to get you through the week! (K)
Thank you, Kerfe! 🙂
I remember Gypsy with Natalie Wood, too. It was one of my favorite musicals when I was a girl. Somehow it led me to learning about Josephine Baker, but I’m not sure how that would have come about way back then.
I wish I had your subtlety when it comes to incorporating current events. You do it in a lovely, gentle, way. Or so it seems to me on a day when I’m not feeling quite so gentle or lovely when it comes to current events.
“and isn’t that what they fought for–
so that we could sit and eat with our families in peace”
Yes, it is. That and all the other things you mentioned. 🙂
Awww–thank you for your lovely comment, Robin.
I’m not feeling too great about current events either, so I’m glad you appreciated what I wrote and how I wrote it. 🙂
I guess if you were looking up burlesque, you’d find Josephine Baker, too. She’s in my Cultural Encyclopedia of the Breast.
Love the poem. Fabulous thing to read in the morning. Thanks for motivating me to live my life to the fullest first thing in the morning.
Thank you. I’m glad you enjoyed it!
Look forward to your return from the harsh topic of rape.
Thank you, Cindy. I do, too!
This held a lot within its beautifully chosen words, Merril. Theatre, movie, poetry and everyday freedoms we take for granted. I didn’t read Memorial Day posts, just read the replies on my post and went to bed.
Busy work week and happy to read something lovely and full of meaning (coming full circle) tonight.
I liked the turquoise with the color contrast of the rose in your photograph. You can tell you and your husband have such fun and warmth between the two of you.
Thank you, Robin. It was a beautiful afternoon/evening–perfect work break.
Sorry you had such a busy work week. I hope you have a chance to relax and do something fun.
I hope your week was productive, with your plate so full of opportunities that neither Emily would have known.