Thursday, January 3, 2013

The Liquor of Indolence

Flute Notes from a Reedy Pond

Now coldness comes sifting down, layer after layer,
To our bower at the lily root.
Overhead the old umbrellas of summer
Wither like pithless hands. There is little shelter.

Hourly the eye of the sky enlarges its blank
Dominion. The stars are no nearer.
Already frog-mouth and fish-mouth drink
The liquor of indolence, and all thing sink

Into a soft caul of forgetfulness.
The fugitive colors die.
Caddis worms drowse in their silk cases,
The lamp-headed nymphs are nodding to sleep like statues.

Puppets, loosed from the strings of the puppetmaster
Wear masks of horn to bed.
This is not death, it is something safer.
The wingy myths won't tug at us anymore:

The molts are tongueless that sang from above the water
Of golgotha at the tip of a reed,
And how a god flimsy as a baby's finger
Shall unhusk himself and steer into the air.

--Sylvia Plath

Oh, to drink the liquor of indolence! I do love it just a little bit this time of year.  On the other side of the bright silver coin is industry, and that appeals, too.  Can't I have both?

Driving to work today, the sky was cobalt and a bright star (or planet?) hung low on the eastern horizon, right over the Cascades.  26 degrees.  Frosty roads, trees, fields.  Walking in from the parking lot, everything sparkled with a cold glitter.  I ran my finger over a frosted rail and it felt like sandpaper, pleasing me.  Looking out my office window now, the evergreen rhodies' leaves droop down, the buds topping each segment pointing straight up, like gold stars on Christmas trees.  And the sky now a clear aqua, frost becoming droplets of cold water wherever the sun touches. 

 I love the boreal beauty of this sky's blank dominion.


  1. Dig how visual and tactile this is.

  2. Mary Wortly Montague said: "People earnestly seek what they do not want while they neglect the real blessings in their possession; I mean the innocent gratification of the senses, which is all we can properly call our own."