Seems that death has been in the air, sniffing around, sampling from too many people this week, so a bit of Ms. Dickinson is in order, I think, as well as a powerful piece from US poet Laureate Louise Bogan. And of course, Tom Jones adds back in a bit of levity.
The Bustle in a House, by Emily Dickinson
Read by Xe Sands
This one is for all those who’ve recently lost someone, for all those who have gotten up the day after that loss, made breakfast, swept the floors, done the dishes, prepared to received guests they won’t notice and don’t really want.
I usually shy away from Dickinson. We wave politely at each other from opposites sides of the street. Confession: I sometimes find her obsession with death to be melodramatic instead of affecting, and of course there is the rhyming (which although she does admirably, I can scarcely abide). But this poem…this one spoke to a particular moment so perfectly. The visual it creates is clear and piercing.
Image credit: Basil & Tracy, CC BY-NC 2.0
Tears in Sleep , by Louise Bogan
Read by Diane Havens
US Poet Laureate Louise Bogan’s “Tears in Sleep” ….
All night the cocks crew, under a moon like day,
And I, in the cage of sleep, on a stranger’s breast,
Shed tears, like a task not to be put away—
In the false light, false grief in my happy bed,
A labor of tears, set against joy’s undoing.
I would not wake at your word, I had tears to say.
I clung to the bars of the dream and they were said,
And pain’s derisive hand had given me rest
From the night giving off flames, and the dark renewing.
Tom Jones – Book 6, Chapter 6, by Henry Fielding
Read by Mark Turetsky
Book 6 Chapter 6 of Tom Jones.
This is part of an ongoing project in which I will record and post one chapter per week of Henry Fielding’s Tom Jones over the course of four years.
So, in this chapter we get introduced to Mrs. Honour, who, much according to her name, will take every opportunity to remind everyone that she’s a maid (and here Fielding is making absolutely sure we get that he’s punning on both meanings of the word). Honour spends much of the chapter trying to get Sophia to tell her what she already knows, since she spent the previous chapter listening at the keyhole of Sophia’s room. Still, though, she seems to have Sophia’s best interests in mind, because she tells her that Tom Jones is hanging out down by the canal. Sophia rushes off to see Tom, but not before getting herself dressed up. But of course, in the time it takes Sophia to fret over her ribbon, Tom leaves the canal just as Sophia arrives, and our two lovers don’t get to meet.