Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Sunning with Smiles


Casting a long, thin shadow
Rooftop, ArcLight Cinemas, Los Angeles


I was called out by Anonymous yesterday who observed that I'm often angry (mea culpa) and that my particular anger isn't the right kind. He said, I'm frequently angry, righteously angry, smarter than you angry and superior angry. He did compliment my writing, though, so there's that. I'm going to take this comment to heart and work on being -- well -- rarely angry, unrighteously angry, stupider than you angry and inferior to you angry. But angry, all the same.

Here are three poems:

A Poison Tree


I was angry with my friend:
I told my wrath, my wrath did end.
I was angry with my foe:
I told it not, my wrath did grow.

And I watered it in fears,
Night and morning with my tears;
And I sunned it with smiles,
And with soft deceitful wiles.

And it grew both day and night,
Till it bore an apple bright.
And my foe beheld it shine.
And he knew that it was mine,

And into my garden stole
When the night had veiled the pole;
In the morning glad I see
My foe outstretched beneath the tree. 

William Blake


When Ecstasy is Inconvenient

Feign a great calm;
all gay transport soon ends.
Chant: who knows --
flight's end or flight's beginning
for the resting gull?

Heart, be still.
Say there is money but it rusted;
say the time of moon is not right for escape.
It's the color in the lower sky
too broadly suffused,
or even the wind in my tie.

Know amazedly how
often one takes his madness
into his own hands
and keeps it.

Lorine Neidecker


Spellbound

The night is darkening round me,
The wild winds coldly blow;
But a tyrant spell has bound me
And I cannot, cannot go.

The giant trees are bending
Their bare boughs weighed with snow.
And the storm is fast descending,
And yet I cannot go.

Clouds beyond clouds above me,
Wastes beyond wastes below;
But nothing dear can move me;
I will not, cannot go.

Emily Bronte

36 comments:

  1. Oh yes. Please. Let us forever be stupid angry and inferior angry. Yes. All of those things. Because it would make everyone feel so much better.

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    1. Anonymous has a point that I am often angry. But I'm not always angry, and perhaps Anonymous hasn't read more than my recent tirades against people who cut down trees and build gross behemoth dwellings.

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  2. Anonymous should try living with a disabled child and dealing with a world who often does not give a shit about disabled people. That tends to produce a fair amount of anger.

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  3. I'll be honest, I'm here mainly for the poetry recommendations because I consider this mainly an angry blog. Not saying that you don't have just cause but I'd be terrified to meet you in person because you seem so angry.

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    1. Yikes. Not sure if you're joking or not. If you're joking, good one! If you're not, I assure you that I'm about as terrifying as your profile name.

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    2. wow, beehive. terrified to meet elizabeth? hmmm. all i can think is that you don't get her or her situation one bit. i wouldn't characterize the blog as angry. it is so many things, including, at times, angry. it's more about simply not being quiet about things that count. besides, anger is useful and healthy, especially when we can express it is non-violent ways, don't you think?

      elizabeth, keep on keepin' on. you do what you do with such grace, even when you're vexed.

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  4. It is just possible that Anonymous has anger issues of her/his own, and is projecting. Perhaps your freedom of expression frightens Anonymous. How very odd, to Anonymously pass judgment upon a writer, whose blog we read of our own free will. In any case, your poetry choices are illuminating. XO

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    1. Thanks, Karen. Like I replied to Ms. Moon, my anger is sometimes exactly what defines me but certainly not all that defines me.

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  5. No woman should apologize for her anger. Or perceived anger. Fuck it. nor should she be chided for being "scary" to meet in person. Seriously, that makes me angry.

    Sara, who says Behold, my field of fucks lies barren.

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    1. I love the word "chided." I love my fierce friends.

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  6. Wow. Just wow. (I obviously am not as gifted of a writer as you are.) It's so easy to say nasty things when you can be anonymous. Just be you.
    Signed, Anonymous. ha ha ha! (That made me laugh.)

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    1. Thank you, Anonymous Paula. I'm trying to be myself -- anger and all.

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  7. I say - forgive anonymous. We all deserve it, mistakes are rampant in we humans. I'm a forgiver because I need it so often. What ever we write, any of us, is about us - what's happened to us - what we've become.

    Darling Elizabeth, your anger is hard won and will unfurl it's self when done. Until then, I salute it, I understand it and I will always listen - because I have my own.

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    1. Thanks, liv. Anonymous hasn't slighted me, so I'm not sure there's anything to forgive. There's always a kernel of truth in anything that upsets us. I am angry about a lot of things and will continue to express that anger. It's not all of me, though, and I'll continue to express other things as well.

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  8. Just ignore Anonymous. Who is he to judge? Is Not Beehive joking?

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    1. I have no idea about Not Beehive's "sting." It's sort of interesting to be called "terrifying."

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  9. Well, your anger picked a nice cluster of poems.

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    1. The Blake poem is actually sort of terrifying.

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  10. WTF! What is his/her/their point? It's your blog and if you can't be angry here, then where? It seems to me you have bunches of things to be angry about, acute & chronic both. (And that's only on what you share.) If they don't like it, go read elsewhere.

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    1. I guess, although there's always a tidbit of truth in the things that upset us. I'll continue to articulate my anger, though, and joy and humor and love as well. Hopefully, next time my visitor will get a dose of that, too.

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  11. "The Blake poem is actually sort of terrifying." Always. My definition of nice is probably a little outré.

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  12. I think contentment and complacency are over-rated. It's the angry people who instigate change and progress. So, even though you say you intend to alter your anger, please, don't suppress it. You achieve so much with it, Elizabeth.

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    1. Thank you, The Sound of the Silent. I strive to be more balanced in my life, and while sometimes anger gets the better of me, I think I'm at the very least, aware of it.

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  13. This is a classic case of "If you're not angry, then you're not paying attention". That doesn't mean you should be angry all the time! Apparently A does not read nor absorb all of your oeuvre. I appreciate your balance of anger and love, it helps put mine in perspective. What is really outré is that your talent for expressing a myriad of human emotions that we all share, particularly these conflicting emotions has gone right over his/her head. I suspect A also does not understand empathy.

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    1. It's a hard balancing act, TJ -- isn't it? While I'm aware of the debilitating effects of unbridled anger, it sometimes gets the better of me. I agree with The Sound of the Silent, though, in that it shouldn't be suppressed as it can often lead to change.

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  14. Anger is a fabulous kickstarter, in my opinion. And while there may be times when you write because of anger, I believe that you use it as a catalyst to fuel your words and your particular brand of evangelism. It is absolutely unrealistic for anyone to think that anger isn't (and shouldn't be) a part of the human experience and while there are those who are uncomfortable with it, I suggest that that is their problem - something they need to work on. I have NEVER experienced your writing/anger to be "superior." The key to anger, I think, is to not stay mired in it, but to use it to propel you forward and you do that beautifully.

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    1. Thanks kario. Like I've said to several other commenters, I am aware that my anger can be sharp and sometimes even condescending, but I try to not let it be my entire identity. The interesting thing is the discussion that my anger and Anonymous' anger toward it and me has provoked such a rich discussion in general!

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  15. Here's what bothers me most about anonymous's statement: The idea that you are this one thing, this woman who is angry. The comment denies you the fullness of who you are, the woman who is righteously angry and not afraid to be so when the situation calls for that, but also the woman who is tender and whip smart and uproariously funny and a devoted mother, activist, friend. The woman who can write like a goddess and a sorceress. Who sees some hard and painful truths more deeply than most of us, because life has taken her down paths most of us will never travel. This full and glorious woman you are in nowhere visible in that comment by anonymous. So do you, dear Elizabeth. Be you without apology. We need all of who you are.

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    1. Well, I really don't know what else to say, but thank you. Thank you.

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  16. I find it interesting to observe our commentors' anger at anonymous's observations about Elizabeth's anger! I love this fierce community.

    Elizabeth, you write so eloquently, that I frequently find myself joining you in whatever feeling you express. You can incite people to do just about anything with your writing- it's an awesome power, use it wisely :-) The McMansion rage doesn't stir me but oh the posts about stubborn doctors subscribing benzos to children while parroting "we need more testing" instead of opening their minds to CBD makes my head explode. I'd be willing to march naked to protest obdurate medical communities for sure!

    William Blake is someone I would never want to have as an enemy...

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    1. Yes, rebeccalyr -- I like the idea of using talents and powers wisely. It's good for all of us, because each of us has something unique that can be used for good or bad. I look forward to marching naked some time with you -- although I bet I'm more terrifying than you in a natural state! And I doubt Blake had many enemies -- he also lounged naked in his garden with his wife, so he might join us as well!

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  17. I have done a lot of thinking about anger over the years and if it were not for anger (righteous anger) we would be in a very bad place. Righteous anger is how we get shit done. Smarter than you anger? You are smarter than me and I have no problem with that. Superior anger? With fucktards building McMansions and cutting down trees for an extra few dollars to line their pockets, you are superior.
    What would we do without "Anonymous". He/She does get around the Interwebs.

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    1. You are utterly inimitable, and I adore you.

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  18. Well. Anger just is. It's a part of us like every other emotion is a part of is. Personally I find your anger somehow validating. Maybe we get angry about many of the same things. I've known you online for a little while now and I wouldn't even think to use the descriptor "angry" as my first thought about you. And when you're angry, you're witty, intelligent, and motivating. A woman I used to work with once told me I was the scariest woman she'd ever met. FFS, me scary? So there ya go. ~ Katherine @ Rainshadow Farm, Google won't let me go today...

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    1. I knew I felt some sort of kinship with you, katherine, but I didn't realize it was how terrifying we are to some! Thank you, too, for your lovely comment and wise words about anger.

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