Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Willow Manor Ball

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 at Willow'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!

Click HERE to see the Manor and the gorgeous host!


  1. I am afraid I would sit in the corner with Jo March and we would talk about all of the beautiful guests while hiding our backs to the wall.
    I wish I had time today to come to the Willow Ball. The fun I would have with you all!

  2. Fun! (And I read Yeats poem aloud.) And I didn't know that William Carlos Williams was a pediatrician!

  3. everyone must follow their hearts,
    who can blame a girl for choosing dancing shoes...and poetry!!!
    (although i was sure you would marvel us with the worlds most awe inspiring library there is passion for paper, just the scent of it!)

    dance are beautiful!

  4. oh , this is all very enchanting.

    there's a very wonderful voice here today. perhaps you should get out these events more often :)

  5. There are no boundaries between reality and fantasy at the Willow Manor Ball. So happy you've partaken of some of the lovely pixie dust! Oh, and if you happen to be looking for the beautiful Mr. Yeats, I have a little appointment with him behind the potted palm!

  6. I've never heard from Mr. Yeats but I'm so happy you did. After the ball, shall we sit, cross-legged, on the bed while you tell me all?


  7. If there isn't at least one fistfight at the Ball, the experience is not complete. My date, Timothy McGree, has already broken up a couple of fights.

    Some folks just don't know how to hold their liquor!

  8. What a great post and how much fun. And how glad I am to glimpse this ballworld of yours.

  9. I am having the most lovely cyber fantasy of your Anita Original!

  10. Why Ms. Anita Ekberg of course ... the inspiration for your gown!

  11. Oh, one of my favorite Yeats poem!

  12. Oh, how fun! And I loved reading this poem out loud, it's been a long time since I did that.... Back in college, I memorized Tintern Abbey for a class and that was such a beautiful exercise. Even now, I can still recite some of it.

    I hope you had a wonderful time.

  13. This is so wonderful from beginning to simply look enchanting! So glad I bumped into you! :-)

  14. since it is now sadly, after the ball
    and the wind streams through
    the room where the willows
    whispy call infiltrates
    were they invited? the others?
    all the lovely women writers,the
    elegant tall sapphic luminaries -
    virginia on the dark verandah
    in the fall, almost kissing the lovely
    woman under the gentle
    darkening pall of twilight?
    was elisabeth bowen in paris?
    was katherine recalled from
    above her cow-stall at fontainbleu?
    what about sylvia townsend warner and
    her tall valentine? and that frivolous sweet
    severe-lipped monocled sweetheart
    of radclyffe - the lonely hall?



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