Well thank goodness for Diane Havens and Mark Turetsky this week, because left on our own, David Herbert and I would just make y’all cry.
In Trouble and Shame, by D.H. Lawrence
Read by Xe Sands
Oh yes, definitely a week for Lawrence, in all his dysfunctional, messy, conflicted glory.
This poem reads like a wish, a dedication, to all of us who struggle with our demons and just grow weary of that battle. We want to lay it down, shed it, just leave it behind on the baggage carousel after a grueling visit to the Land of Judgment.
Imagine it: the trip was long, and tiring, and left you feeling worse than before you went. You get off the plane. You take the escalator to baggage claim. All the equally weary people around you. The conveyor belt, spitting out all the bags but yours. And when your bag does emerge, you look at – really look – and realize you no longer want be defined by what’s in the damn thing.
And you just walk away.
How free do you feel?
Image: CC BY-NC-ND 3.0, Xe Sands
America, by Claude McKay
Read by Diane Havens
There is such strength in this poem, by Harlem Renaissance poet Claude McKay, it is inspiring to anyone for any number of reasons. From the Poetry Foundation website: “McKay does not seek to hide his bitterness. But having preserved his vision as poet and his status as a human being, he can transcend bitterness.”
Tom Jones – Book 6, Chapter 7, by Henry Fielding
Read by Mark Turetsky
Book 6 Chapter 7 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.
This chapter begins with one of the most awkward dates in literature. Blifil and Sophia sit in silence for almost fifteen minutes, before Blifil starts blurting out awkward compliments all at once, to which Sophia doesn’t respond, and eventually leaves in tears. What’s best, Blifil is oblivious to this being any kind of a problem.
Sophia then begs her father not to force her to marry Blifil. Squire Western sees all this as maidenly hysterics, of course, because he’s got it on good authority that she’s in love with Blifil. He then threatens to disinherit her if she doesn’t agree to the marriage. He leaves in a huff, and bumps into Jones, whom he tells everything. Jones, seeing his opportunity, asks Western his permission to speak with Sophia.