This post is going to seem very strange, perhaps even a tad loony and maybe you'll just roll your eyes and think that I've got entirely too much time on my hands, but I'm off to a ball atWillow's Manor.Yes, I've been invited to attend this annual event of romance, intrigue and dancing -- and I've fallen completely under Willow's beauty and her manor's spell.
I was told to find my date, but my date found me. Mr. Yeats, when he heard of the ball, wrote me an exquisite poem and sent it to me with quite an impassioned request to allow him to escort me. Here's the poem, although typing it out on a blog doesn't do justice to its poignancy and deeply personal intent, and you must, you really must, read it aloud:
Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
With that sort of stringing together of the most gorgeous words, how could I refuse him (although I'd had my sights set on Michael Ondaatje -- has there ever been a male writer whose understanding of women is more evident in words than Michael's?)?
Mr. Yeats sent, with the poem, an antique dance card similar to the one that Willow showed us this week, and on every line were the initials W.B. Dear William. Here's the little bag in which I'll be carrying my dance card and pencil:
Attached to the card, too, was this sweet comment:
O body swayed to music, O brightening glance,
How can we know the dancer from the dance?
And I will be dancing, all night with Mr. Yeats and perhaps he'll leave me for a brief time, as I know he pines for dear Ms. Gonne, who has broken his heart so many times, but my heart strays, too -- I'll see my old and dearest, most morose friend, Mr. Dostoevsky, sitting over in the corner because he rarely dances,
and he'll kindly enquire about my daughter Sophie, empathetic to her struggles with epilepsy. Dear William Carlos Williams (asphodel, that greeny flower), ever the pediatrician, despite his cerebral poetry, will probably join our brilliant conversation about the strange and wonderful, sometimes terrible, workings of the brain.
So, too, will I make a point to have a few words and perhaps some secret laughs with the dashing Marcello (my god, he always looks good) --
and Virginia and I yes Virginia Woolf and I yes will steal away perhaps outside in the air with flowers in our arms and a line between our eyebrows and knit we will we'll knit our eyebrows expressing how perfect how perfectly perfect it is to be amongst those we love those we admire but how tiresome it must get sometimes the wear, the tear the tear not of the eye but of the heart
When we come back, we'll pass one of Willow's glorious rooms, I believe a parlor, and see Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, perhaps having had a bit too much to drink and up to their old hijinks, but, really, aren't they truly the most glamorous couple that ever was?
Which reminds me that I haven't even described my dress -- imagine Anita Ekberg in all her voluptuous glory
with very dark hair.
That would be me.
Mr. Yeats will be dressed in the appropriate poetic style -- a bit mussed, a bit melancholy, belying his fiery passion.
Please stop by, or stare through the windows, if you'd like -- Now, I'm off to the Ball!