An excerpt from the Wallace Steven's poem "Sunday Morning"
Complacencies of the pegnoir, and late
Coffee and oranges in a sunny chair,
And the green freedom of a cockatoo
Upon a rug mingle to dissapate
The holy hush of ancient sacrifice.
She dreams a little, and she feels the dark
Encroachment of that old catastrophe,
As a calm darkens among water-lights.
The pungent oranges and bright, green wings
Seem things in some procession of the dead,
Winding across wide water, without sound.
The day is like wide water, without sound,
Stilled for the passing of her dreaming feet
Over the seas, to silent Palestine,
Dominion of the blood and sepulchre.
Poet Wallace Stevens was an attorney for Hartford Accident and Indemnity, an insurance company; he was also a major American poet of the 20th century.
Sundays are luxuriant yet bittersweet. I love the expanse of a Sunday afternoon, and the weather here in coastal South Carolina is exquisite, if pollen-drenched. Yet I am thinking ahead to Monday and the rest of the week, and there is a pile of ungraded papers in my work bag (I'll get to those very soon). I'm looking out the window of my little book-filled office, looking at the sunlight on the leaves; the leaves are that new green of spring, and particularly beautiful. What will I be reading in the coming week or so? I have ambitious plans.
I am taking on my first reading challenge (I've read so much about challenges on book blogs) with the Persephone challenge. The challenge is May 3-9, and I have two Persephone classics on hand for my challenge. I plan to begin with The World that was Ours by Hilda Bernstein. This is an account of the author's experiences in South Africa during apartheid, when both she and her husband were jailed for their anti-apartheid activities. I'm really looking forward to this book; I've already read the preface, and am impressed by Bernstein's writing style. The book itself is a beautiful object, finely made, and pleasurable to hold. Bernstein was an early activist in South Africa, and knew all of the major players in the ANC, including Nelson Mandela. This should be a fascinating read. My back-up, should I finish the first book (unlikely) is Frances Hodgson Burnett's The Making of a Marchioness, which should prove a dramatic change of pace, if I get to it.
Also on my list are The Wedding Dress by Fanny Howe, Caucasia by Danzy Senna, and Passion by Jude Morgan. I'm also still reading the poems and letters of Keats whenever I have a moment.
There are lots of other books on my radar. I'm especially jealous of all those who are reading or have read Hillary Mantel's Wolf Hall.