mjj (flemmings) wrote,

Thunder and rain last night, so I sat up and finished Rosemary and Rue. Which is reasonable enough, and have ordered vol 3 from the library, but I must note one oddity. Possibly I was scarred by learning Japanese, but my mind insists that breezy familiarity is not the way one goes about addressing one's liege lord. 'Oh, but he's her friend!. And so is his wife! Formality is saved for nasty snow queen figures! *Good* kings are greeted with 'Hey, So-and-so.' That's how we know they're good.' American convenient fictions: 'we are all equal', 'we are all friends,' and 'close is good, distance is bad.' Hence one can never be on friendly terms with a person whom one addresses politely, and vice versa.

But then there's Gladstone's Tara addressing her boss and mentor. No 'Hey, Elanyes' there. Because formal manners and distance are just fine in (pseudo)corporate culture and (quasi)law firms. Ironically, it's courts alone that don't require courtesy.

The Motive for Metaphor

You like it under the trees in autumn,
Because everything is half dead.
The wind moves like a cripple among the leaves
And repeats words without meaning.

In the same way, you were happy in spring,
With the half colors of quarter-things,
The slightly brighter sky, the melting clouds,
The single bird, the obscure moon --

The obscure moon lighting an obscure world
Of things that would never be quite expressed,
Where you yourself were never quite yourself
And did not want nor have to be,

Desiring the exhilarations of changes:
The motive for metaphor, shrinking from
The weight of primary noon,
The A B C of being,

The ruddy temper, the hammer
Of red and blue, the hard sound --
Steel against intimation -- the sharp flash,
The vital, arrogant, fatal, dominant X.

Wallace Stevens, Transport to Summer (1947).
Tags: reading_13, verse

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