Youmans (pronounced like 'yeoman' with an 's' added)
is the best-kept secret among contemporary American writers.
--John Wilson, editor, Books and Culture

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Dreeing your weird*** in THE THRONE OF PSYCHE

The Throne of Psyche - just out from Mercer University Press!
My copies of The Throne of Psyche shipped out from the warehouse yesterday, and so I imagine I will see them on Monday. But some people already received them this afternoon. So far I have heard of one store where they were purchased, and the word was that the bookseller was exuberant over how beautiful they are! Rah for beauty and frolic!

I am in a good mood because we had sunshine today, and though there are some drifts and snow dumps remaining here and there, I have scilla, aconite, snowdrops, and lots of crocuses. Although it is never entirely safe to think the big snows are over until after May 25th, the snow appears to have paused to meditate on sunshine for a couple of months . . .


Jin, Julia, Marly, Rebecca in thekitchen
Also I had fish tacos and fingerlings for a Friday Lenten dinner at Alex and Ika's, a thing which could put the most dour in a good mood. Since I am in such fine fettle, I shall toss out a poem--a somewhat autobiographical (rare for me--I like to make up things) and a rather bleak poem! Because I am feeling so very jolly that I probably need something to rein me in.

This piece is in that small but select genre of poems by happy Southern souls who go North and must weather the brunt of cold. Right about January or February, we get tired and discouraged by all the dratted snow walls and dumps and towers. Then we must dree our weird, and by February the weird we are busy dreeing seems to be nothing but a cold, hard, and particularly icicular weird to dree.

The Lake here is Otsego, and indeed I did see the Northern Lights there once, but much paler than I have seen them elsewhere. The arrow mentioned is a great white arrow on the platform by the water in Council Rock Park in Cooperstown. It does point to the North. Which seems often to be the weird I dree.

***And for those of you who are neither Scots nor fans of Terry Pratchett's "wee big hag" and her "wee free men," "dreeing your weird" is something like facing up to your fate--mine being a fate having something to do with living in a snow pocket by a lake and living in a condition that feels like a sort of Narnia with always witch-cold and never spring. But though it is chilly, we at last have birds and flowers and sunshine and, yes, a sort of springtime.

"The Exile's Track" was originally published in storySouth and can also be found at youtube as a video by Paul Digby.


THE EXILE'S TRACK


At midnight I went down to the lake, and there
I saw the Northern Lights as seven swords
Of long-dead kings that glimmered in the sky.
They were as thin and cold as icicles,
Set evenly above a shoal of cloud—

The winter’s glittering eyes drew low to see,
Its glories made into one burning look.
I stepped onto the marble arrowhead
That points the way to North forevermore,
And though I stood below a canopy
Close-crowded with the bright burrs of the stars,
And though I held my love, and though our children
Were safe and sleeping at my back, I met
And knew a loneliness beyond all heal.

A silvery voice arose out of the spires,
Out of the dark’s offhanded elegance:
You gave your heart away, oh, long ago,
So there’s no help—now you must bide in frost,
And when you die, the reaper’s men will scar
The ground for your grave, or else will burn your limbs
And bury the ash in a wall of stone.

10 comments:

  1. A great book by one of America's finest writers. Buy two and give one to someone you love.

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  2. Dandy poem, Marly! And 'jolly' becomes you!

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  3. jabot21,

    Due to my usual insatiable curiosity, I have tracked you to your lair--you are the magical glassman, David Rondinelli! Nice to think that the wise men (or wise guys) of Athens are reading me this morning.

    I like "jolly." It is preferable to the anguish of youth.

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  4. Extremely fond of this poem. A real 'keeper' - as they all are, quite honestly.
    Looking forward to holding this volume in my hands! It really is a beautiful book.
    Marly, Spring bludgeons forth. Things are going on underground that don't bear thinking about but... summer is on it's way too!

    By the way - that is one smashing photo you have up there!

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  5. Paul,

    Thank you, thank you--both for liking the book and the picture. I should add a caption to credit the photographer.

    Being a bit airheaded, I'd forgotten that of course you have the whole manuscript, Mr. Video Man! Thank you for reading and liking it and coming by and saying so.

    "Bludgeon": that is the way of the northern spring, isn't it? No slow, delicate unfurling, just a lot of cold hurlyburly to get the life up out of the ground and thrust us into summer.

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  6. Lovely and magical poem. I am looking forward to having the whole book, which I have pre-ordered. I hope it finds me at my new place.
    Our spring here is so subtle. It is more a smell in the air than anything else, and it is brief as a breath.

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  7. Hope you like it, Robbi!

    I miss a Southern mountain spring, with all those diaphanous layers, each week a new kind of blossoming...

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  8. Exciting times now that the book is out, like the launching of one's suddenly grown up child into the world.

    Love the poem, Marly - just magical, like you!

    I'd never heard of 'dree the weird' and looked it up, and lo, was surprised to find it there. Always learning something from you.

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  9. Hi marja-leena--

    Yes, we hope it will toddle somewhere now... And I am glad that you liked the poem. Thanks!

    I suppose that I am just a magpie. Little shiny scraps of knowledge.

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Alas, I must once again remind large numbers of Chinese salesmen and other worldwide peddlers that if they fall into the Gulf of Spam, they will be eaten by roaming Balrogs. The rest of you, lovers of grace, poetry, and horses (nod to Yeats--you do not have to be fond of horses), feel free to leave fascinating missives and curious arguments.