Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Moon and the Yew Tree

By Sylvia Plath

This is the light of the mind, cold and planetary
The trees of the mind are black. The light is blue.
The grasses unload their griefs on my feet as if I were God
Prickling my ankles and murmuring of their humility
Fumy, spiritous mists inhabit this place.
Separated from my house by a row of headstones.
I simply cannot see where there is to get to.

The moon is no door. It is a face in its own right,
White as a knuckle and terribly upset.
It drags the sea after it like a dark crime; it is quiet
With the O-gape of complete despair. I live here.
Twice on Sunday, the bells startle the sky --
Eight great tongues affirming the Resurrection
At the end, they soberly bong out their names.

The yew tree points up, it has a Gothic shape.
The eyes lift after it and find the moon.
The moon is my mother. She is not sweet like Mary.
Her blue garments unloose small bats and owls.
How I would like to believe in tenderness -
The face of the effigy, gentled by candles,
Bending, on me in particular, its mild eyes.

I have fallen a long way. Clouds are flowering
Blue and mystical over the face of the stars
Inside the church, the saints will all be blue,
Floating on their delicate feet over the cold pews,
Their hands and faces stiff with holiness.
The moon sees nothing of this. She is bald and wild.
And the message of the yew tree is blackness - blackness and silence.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Time for a Slow Down

When I'm at home for various breaks, I work at a small bar in a small town called Staplehurst. I do whatever they need, some nights I wash dishes, sometimes I wait tables. Today I waited tables. Saturdays are always pretty quiet. A few men will come in for lunch, some kids will come in to buy candy or pop, and there will always be a couple customers in to buy $5 cigarettes or chew. Today, like every day but Sunday, around 3 o'clock the old men of Staplehurst come in. They trickle in slowly, one or two at a time, hobbling slowly. All of them wearing their caps and blue jeans. They shoot the shit for a while, waiting for everyone to show up. Talk about the weather, the upcoming farming season, the weather, whatever so-and-so did...when everyone has made his way to the bar they move to a round table in the corner to play cards. There they sit with their beers, whiskey and waters, root beers, and play. They play until supper time, talking low and moving the cards quickly. For me, used to the speed of the city, its exciting to watch something so slow moving and deliberate. I enjoy the change of pace, it keeps me on my toes.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Longest Night

Winter Solstice
"Since the event is seen as the reversal of the Sun's ebbing presence in the sky, concepts of the birth or rebirth of sun gods have been common and, in cultures using winter solstitially based cyclic calendars, the year as reborn has been celebrated with regard to life-death-rebirth deities or new beginnings such as Hogmanay's redding, a New Years cleaning tradition. Also reversal is another usual theme as in Saturnalia's slave and master reversals."

The days will only get longer.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

E.B. White-A train of thought

"There are roughly three New Yorks. There is, first, the New York of the man or woman who was born there, who takes the city for granted and accepts its size, its turbulence as natural and inevitable. Second, there is the New Yrok of the cummuter — the city that is devoured by locusts each day and spat out each night. Third, there is New York of the person who was born somewhere else and came to New York in quest of something ….Commuters give the city its tidal restlessness, natives give it solidity and continuity, but the settlers give it passion."

When I read that in the subway one day on my way to one New York Event or another, it made me really happy to be in New York. To feel like even me, a girl from Nebraska, has a place in this grand city. Grand it is, perfect it is not. But that doesn't make me love it less.

Saturday, December 6, 2008


I found this game a few years ago when working on an essay about escaping from people and places. It is the first thing that comes up when you search the word "Escape" on Google. I like it because I think it is a good analogy for escape. You are a red square in the center of a black box and you must dodge the blue squares floating around without hitting the edges of the box. There is no exit and no actual way to win the game. Its all about how long you can dodge the blue squares. The blue squares travel in a distinct pattern so as you learn the pattern of the blue squares it becomes easier and easier to dodge them.

In the same way we can't actually escape people or places or our history. We must learn to maneuver around them but there is never a clean escape from anything. Most of us learn that the hard way. I know I did.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Iodized Salt

Check out this NYTimes video on the benefits of funding the incorporation of iodine into the salt of poor countries.