Why I Love the Library (but not quite as much as I love Ingrid Bergman)

my dreams, my works,
must wait till after hell.

I hold my honey and I store my bread
In little jars and cabinets of my will.
I label clearly, and each latch and lid
I bid, Be firm till I return from hell.
I am very hungry. I am incomplete,
And none can tell when I may dine again.
No man can give me any word but Wait,
The puny light. I keep eyes pointed in;
Hoping that, when the devil days of my hurt
Drag out to their last dregs and I resume
On such legs as are left me, in such heart
As I can manage, remember to go home,
My taste will not have turned insensitive
To honey and bread old purity could love.

--Gwendolyn Brooks

See, on rare occasions, you'll be puttering about in the Library, not really looking for anything, when suddenly one finds something that speaks so perfectly to you, that captures it flawlessly, that even in the deep wilderness the spark of recognition will re-light the dry tinder of our emaciated little hearts, and a brief flicker of hope illuminates the wastes.

The poem is from an anthology entitled, The Hell With Love--Poems to Mend a Broken Heart. Normally, I would nod and smile and shelve the book without a second thought, but the book happened to open in my hand, and I caught the byline of a poet I love, and here was her poem, which I'd never read before, and now I remember why I love poems just as I do theatre, why the humanist ideal of All the Arts In Concert is so essential to who I am. And it's always good to remember who you are.

I'm a bit giddy at the moment, having had a fine evening holding forth on Art and Theatre with old friends at a bar late into the night, and so the magic glamour of passionate ideals still lingers, like the richly stale smell of barsmoke clinging to my clothes. And I've just been watching Ingrid Bergman in Hitchcock's Notorious again, which will always render me more punch-drunk than any quantity of beer could possibly induce, Christ on a stick that woman is gorgeous, and so brilliant it hurts. Hurts the way such that you always want more...



sirbarrett said...

Like your voracious love of Ingrid, I always want things I will want more of in the first place, but at that point, I don't know it yet. Like the Dave Chapelle show for instance. Can't get enough of that hilarity. As I get older, I sleep less and get all chaotically wrapped up in things. If I go in a library, I will get stuck there for hours. Strange how that is. Curiosity is just too uncontrollable.

paulmonster said...

Yeah, you can say that again. Hours run like water in the Library. Books lead to other books which hint about more books which also glance at even more books.

Sometimes I think my settings are wired funny, because I think I was built for 18 hour days (and then 12 hours' worth of slumber). Anything less just gets in my way. Man, why can't the sun revolve around MY schedule for a change?

Yeah, Ingrid keeps calling me, wanting to hang out, join the Resistance, take a trip out to some two-bit gin-soaked joint out in North Africa somewhere. I just don't know what to do sometimes.