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Minute narratives

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  • louise
    Every individual life is small. In the grand visions a sense of reality often dies away, unnoticed, unwanted. Who cares about truth, its representational
    Message 1 of 6 , Feb 1, 2008
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      Every individual life is small. In the grand visions a sense of
      reality often dies away, unnoticed, unwanted. Who cares about truth,
      its representational power? A question. The voice of the individual
      poet in the modern age will often bear testimony to the minuteness of
      reality, the separateness of selves which in other discourses,
      political or familial, are bound up together in general categories or
      hopeful dreams.
      Sheltered by the anonymity afforded by life in a large town, I have
      been slowly exploring my new environment. The commercial centre is
      hemmed in by a besieging roar of regulated motor traffic. Within the
      ring of massed vehicles, moving in parallel, yet outside the
      pedestrianised shopping streets at the hub, stands the public
      library, one of the older buildings to escape demolition or radical
      interference, and fitted with tall and sturdy wooden bookcases in the
      lending and reference rooms. One of the volumes I've come away with
      and am currently reading is Lewis Wolpert's "Malignant Sadness: The
      Anatomy of Depression". In a chapter dealing with suicide he quotes
      this poem by Anne Sexton, which I think well worth reproducing here,
      without further comment:


      The Sickness Unto Death

      God went out of me
      as if the sea dried up like sandpaper,
      as if the sun became a latrine.
      God went out of my fingers.
      They became stone.
      My body became a side of mutton
      and despair roamed the slaughterhouse.

      Someone brought me oranges in my despair
      but I could not eat one
      for God was in that orange.
      I could not touch what did not belong to me.
      The priest came,
      he said God was even in Hitler.
      I did not believe him
      for if God were in Hitler
      then God would be in me.
      I did not hear the bird sounds.
      They had left.
      I did not see the speechless clouds,
      I saw only the little white dish of my faith
      breaking in the crater.
      I kept saying:
      I've got to have something to hold on to.
      People gave me Bibles, crucifixes,
      a yellow daisy,
      but I could not touch them,
      I who was a house of bowel movement,
      I who was a defaced altar,
      I who wanted to crawl toward God
      could not move nor eat bread.
      So I ate myself,
      bite by bite,
      and the tears washed me,
      wave after cowardly wave,
      swallowing canker after canker
      and Jesus stood over me looking down
      and He laughed to find me gone,
      and put his mouth to mine
      and gave me His air.

      My kindred, my brother, I said
      and gave the yellow daisy
      to the crazy woman in the next bed.
    • wot53_2000
      Louise, what was the context of Anne Sexton s poem? Do you see the poem as a faith statement? Like ultimate rescue? Or is it just a poem of struggle for life
      Message 2 of 6 , Feb 2, 2008
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        Louise, what was the context of Anne Sexton's poem?

        Do you see the poem as a faith statement? Like ultimate rescue?
        Or is it just a poem of struggle for life and meaning.
        I'll research her more.

        Warren

        *********************


        One of the volumes I've come away with
        > and am currently reading is Lewis Wolpert's "Malignant Sadness: The
        > Anatomy of Depression". In a chapter dealing with suicide he
        quotes
        > this poem by Anne Sexton, which I think well worth reproducing
        here,
        > without further comment:
        >
        >
        > The Sickness Unto Death
        >
        > God went out of me
        > as if the sea dried up like sandpaper,
        > as if the sun became a latrine.
        > God went out of my fingers.
        > They became stone.
        > My body became a side of mutton
        > and despair roamed the slaughterhouse.
        >
        > Someone brought me oranges in my despair
        > but I could not eat one
        > for God was in that orange.
        > I could not touch what did not belong to me.
        > The priest came,
        > he said God was even in Hitler.
        > I did not believe him
        > for if God were in Hitler
        > then God would be in me.
        > I did not hear the bird sounds.
        > They had left.
        > I did not see the speechless clouds,
        > I saw only the little white dish of my faith
        > breaking in the crater.
        > I kept saying:
        > I've got to have something to hold on to.
        > People gave me Bibles, crucifixes,
        > a yellow daisy,
        > but I could not touch them,
        > I who was a house of bowel movement,
        > I who was a defaced altar,
        > I who wanted to crawl toward God
        > could not move nor eat bread.
        > So I ate myself,
        > bite by bite,
        > and the tears washed me,
        > wave after cowardly wave,
        > swallowing canker after canker
        > and Jesus stood over me looking down
        > and He laughed to find me gone,
        > and put his mouth to mine
        > and gave me His air.
        >
        > My kindred, my brother, I said
        > and gave the yellow daisy
        > to the crazy woman in the next bed.
        >
      • eduard at home
        eduard --- The context is obviously that Anne Sexton is trying to keep her neurons happy by rationalizing things. We all do that, although sometimes we don t
        Message 3 of 6 , Feb 2, 2008
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          eduard ---
          The context is obviously that Anne Sexton is trying to keep her
          neurons happy by rationalizing things. We all do that, although sometimes
          we don't have a yellow daisy to give to the crazy woman in the next bed.



          -----Original Message-----
          From: existlist@yahoogroups.com [mailto:existlist@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf
          Of wot53_2000
          Sent: February-02-08 8:34 AM
          To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
          Subject: [existlist] Re: Minute narratives


          Louise, what was the context of Anne Sexton's poem?

          Do you see the poem as a faith statement? Like ultimate rescue?
          Or is it just a poem of struggle for life and meaning.
          I'll research her more.

          Warren

          *********************


          One of the volumes I've come away with
          > and am currently reading is Lewis Wolpert's "Malignant Sadness: The
          > Anatomy of Depression". In a chapter dealing with suicide he
          quotes
          > this poem by Anne Sexton, which I think well worth reproducing
          here,
          > without further comment:
          >
          >
          > The Sickness Unto Death
          >
          > God went out of me
          > as if the sea dried up like sandpaper,
          > as if the sun became a latrine.
          > God went out of my fingers.
          > They became stone.
          > My body became a side of mutton
          > and despair roamed the slaughterhouse.
          >
          > Someone brought me oranges in my despair
          > but I could not eat one
          > for God was in that orange.
          > I could not touch what did not belong to me.
          > The priest came,
          > he said God was even in Hitler.
          > I did not believe him
          > for if God were in Hitler
          > then God would be in me.
          > I did not hear the bird sounds.
          > They had left.
          > I did not see the speechless clouds,
          > I saw only the little white dish of my faith
          > breaking in the crater.
          > I kept saying:
          > I've got to have something to hold on to.
          > People gave me Bibles, crucifixes,
          > a yellow daisy,
          > but I could not touch them,
          > I who was a house of bowel movement,
          > I who was a defaced altar,
          > I who wanted to crawl toward God
          > could not move nor eat bread.
          > So I ate myself,
          > bite by bite,
          > and the tears washed me,
          > wave after cowardly wave,
          > swallowing canker after canker
          > and Jesus stood over me looking down
          > and He laughed to find me gone,
          > and put his mouth to mine
          > and gave me His air.
          >
          > My kindred, my brother, I said
          > and gave the yellow daisy
          > to the crazy woman in the next bed.
          >




          Please support the Existential Primer... dedicated to explaining nothing!

          Home Page: http://www.tameri.com/csw/exist
          Yahoo! Groups Links
        • mary.jo11
          And of course, there were those times when she wasn t. For instance when she molested one of her daughters or when she killed herself. We can hypothesize that
          Message 4 of 6 , Feb 2, 2008
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            And of course, there were those times when she wasn't. For instance
            when she molested one of her daughters or when she killed herself. We
            can hypothesize that dark energy exerted a negative pressure until she
            collapsed under the weight of both happy and sad neurons.

            Mary

            eduard at home <yeoman@...> wrote:

            The context is obviously that Anne Sexton is trying to keep her
            neurons happy by rationalizing things.
          • eduard at home
            eduard --- Yes. Sometimes we can t find a way to keep our neurons happy, so a person decides to end it all. Most unfortunate. Too many people take life too
            Message 5 of 6 , Feb 2, 2008
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              eduard ---
              Yes. Sometimes we can't find a way to keep our neurons happy, so a
              person decides to end it all. Most unfortunate. Too many people take life
              too seriously.

              -----Original Message-----
              From: existlist@yahoogroups.com [mailto:existlist@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf
              Of mary.jo11
              Sent: February-02-08 10:41 AM
              To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
              Subject: [existlist] minute contexts

              And of course, there were those times when she wasn't. For instance
              when she molested one of her daughters or when she killed herself. We
              can hypothesize that dark energy exerted a negative pressure until she
              collapsed under the weight of both happy and sad neurons.

              Mary

              eduard at home <yeoman@...> wrote:

              The context is obviously that Anne Sexton is trying to keep her
              neurons happy by rationalizing things.



              Please support the Existential Primer... dedicated to explaining nothing!

              Home Page: http://www.tameri.com/csw/exist
              Yahoo! Groups Links
            • louise
              Warren, I think for me it is a poem of ultimate bewilderment, and accordingly provides some reassurance, that the questions raised by living are not easily
              Message 6 of 6 , Feb 2, 2008
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                Warren, I think for me it is a poem of ultimate bewilderment, and
                accordingly provides some reassurance, that the questions raised by
                living are not easily answered by everyone. Really, this ought to be
                obvious, so my quoting Anne Sexton's work without comment like that
                probably only signified my own state of depression at the time.
                Lewis Wolpert explains in his book that he views this mental
                condition as "sadness out of control", and that "sadness is to
                depression what normal growth is to cancer". Hence the volume's
                title. Louise

                --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "wot53_2000" <wot53_2000@...> wrote:
                >
                >
                > Louise, what was the context of Anne Sexton's poem?
                >
                > Do you see the poem as a faith statement? Like ultimate rescue?
                > Or is it just a poem of struggle for life and meaning.
                > I'll research her more.
                >
                > Warren
                >
                > *********************
                >
                >
                > One of the volumes I've come away with
                > > and am currently reading is Lewis Wolpert's "Malignant Sadness:
                The
                > > Anatomy of Depression". In a chapter dealing with suicide he
                > quotes
                > > this poem by Anne Sexton, which I think well worth reproducing
                > here,
                > > without further comment:
                > >
                > >
                > > The Sickness Unto Death
                > >
                > > God went out of me
                > > as if the sea dried up like sandpaper,
                > > as if the sun became a latrine.
                > > God went out of my fingers.
                > > They became stone.
                > > My body became a side of mutton
                > > and despair roamed the slaughterhouse.
                > >
                > > Someone brought me oranges in my despair
                > > but I could not eat one
                > > for God was in that orange.
                > > I could not touch what did not belong to me.
                > > The priest came,
                > > he said God was even in Hitler.
                > > I did not believe him
                > > for if God were in Hitler
                > > then God would be in me.
                > > I did not hear the bird sounds.
                > > They had left.
                > > I did not see the speechless clouds,
                > > I saw only the little white dish of my faith
                > > breaking in the crater.
                > > I kept saying:
                > > I've got to have something to hold on to.
                > > People gave me Bibles, crucifixes,
                > > a yellow daisy,
                > > but I could not touch them,
                > > I who was a house of bowel movement,
                > > I who was a defaced altar,
                > > I who wanted to crawl toward God
                > > could not move nor eat bread.
                > > So I ate myself,
                > > bite by bite,
                > > and the tears washed me,
                > > wave after cowardly wave,
                > > swallowing canker after canker
                > > and Jesus stood over me looking down
                > > and He laughed to find me gone,
                > > and put his mouth to mine
                > > and gave me His air.
                > >
                > > My kindred, my brother, I said
                > > and gave the yellow daisy
                > > to the crazy woman in the next bed.
                > >
                >
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