#wintersolstice Sheep in Fog by Sylvia Plath #iNeedFeminismBecause

Sheep In Fog

The hills step off into whiteness.
People or stars
Regard me sadly, I disappoint them.

The train leaves a line of breath.
O slow
Horse the colour of rust,

Hooves, dolorous bells –
All morning the
Morning has been blackening,

A flower left out.
My bones hold a stillness, the far
Fields melt my heart.

They threaten
To let me through to a heaven
Starless and fatherless, a dark water.

sylvia Plath

image

photos by:

Buy the Faber Book of 20th Century Women’s Poetry, ed. Fleur Adcock, from an indie bookseller here.

The Gas Fire by Stevie Smith #wintersolstice #TransIsBeautiful #iNeedFeminismBecause

5468827540_0e550739b5_o.jpg

Near Williamstown, MASS, credit: Peter Rintels.

The gas fire
Seemed quite a friend
Such a funny little humming noise it made
And it had a name, too, carved on it you know,
‘The Persian’. The Persian!
Ha ha ha; ha ha.

Now Agnes, pull yourself together.
You and your friends.

Stevie Smith

Florence Margaret Smith, known as Stevie Smith (20 September 1902 – 7 March 1971) was an English poet and novelist.

“When suffering from the depression to which she was subject all her life she was so consoled by the thought of death as a release that, as she put it, she did not have to commit suicide.

She wrote in several poems that death was “the only god who must come when he is called”. Smith suffered throughout her life from an acute nervousness, described as a mix of shyness and intense sensitivity…

Sylvia Plath became a fan of her poetry and sent Smith a letter in 1962, describing herself as “a desperate Smith-addict.” Plath expressed interest in meeting in person but committed suicide soon after sending the letter…

Smith was celibate for most of her life, although she rejected the idea that she was lonely as a result, alleging that she had a number of intimate relationships with friends and family that kept her fulfilled.

About Not Waving But Drowning: Jannice Thaddeus suggests that the speaker of the poem, like other figures in Smith’s works, changes from male to female as part of a theme of androgyny that exists in many of the poems found in Selected Poems.”

Buy the Faber Book of 20th Century Women’s Poetry, ed. Fleur Adcock, from an indie bookseller here.

Walt Whitman- queer white man on Bumble Bees. Can you even imagine swarms of thousands of them bumbles?!

Walt Whitman was against slavery but held “the widespread opinion that even free African-Americans should not vote.” He believed all religions to be equally important. He was a supporter of temperance, the movement to set limits to drinking alcohol. White, lower middle class, I think.

Walt Whitman, diary entry on Bumble-Bees.

MAY-MONTH… I am out just after sunrise, and down towards the creek.

The lights, perfumes, melodies—the blue birds, grass birds and robins, in every direction—
For undertones, a neighboring wood-pecker tapping his tree, and the distant clarion of chanticleer.
Then the fresh earth smells—the colors, the delicate drabs and thin blues of the perspective. The bright green of the grass has receiv’d an added tinge from the last two days’ mildness and moisture.

Later.— But for the last two days it has been the great wild bee, the humble-bee, or “bumble,” as the children call him. As I walk, or hobble, from the farm-house down to the creek, I traverse the before-mention’d lane, fenced by old rails, with many splits, splinters, breaks, holes, &c., … Up and down and by and between these rails, they swarm and dart and fly in countless myriads.

As I wend slowly along, I am often accompanied with a moving cloud of them. They play a leading part in my morning, midday or sunset rambles, and often dominate the landscape in a way I never before thought of—fill the long lane, not by scores or hundreds only, but by thousands.
Large and vivacious and swift, with wonderful momentum and a loud swelling perpetual hum, varied now and then by something almost like a shriek, they dart to and fro, in rapid flashes, chasing each other, …

As I write, I am seated under a big wild-cherry tree—the warm day temper’d by partial clouds and a fresh breeze, neither too heavy nor light—and here I sit long and long, envelop’d in the deep musical drone of these bees, flitting, balancing, darting to and fro about me by hundreds—big fellows with light yellow jackets, great glistening swelling bodies, stumpy heads and gauzy wings—humming their perpetual rich mellow boom.

How it all nourishes, lulls me, in the way most needed; the open air, the rye-fields, the apple orchards…

…my spirit at peace. (Yet the anniversary of the saddest loss and sorrow of my life is close at hand.)

Almost every bird I notice has a special time in the year—sometimes limited to a few days—when it sings its best; and now is the period of these russet-backs.