Sunday, May 4, 2014

restless & contented least

me & moses right before we both had blood transfusions in the same week.

this was the second poem i memorized, after "stopping by woods on a snowy evening," learned when i was ten years old because my mom offered me ten bucks.

Sonnet XXIX 

When, in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes,

I all alone beweep my outcast state,
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,
And look upon myself and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featured like him, like him with friends possessed,
Desiring this man’s art and that man’s scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least;
Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,
Haply I think on thee, and then my state,
(Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth) sings hymns at heaven’s gate;
       For thy sweet love remembered such wealth brings
       That then I scorn to change my state with kings.

and although i have mostly fallen out of love with shakespeare's sonnets now, and sonnets in general (sorry sonnet enthusiasts!) sonnet 29 always resonates with my tendency towards depression, jealousy, envy, and low self-esteem.  and when i'm feeling sorry for myself (so much of the time!) since i've got this thing internalized, it rings in my ears.

so, though i now can't handle most of shakespeare because of his intense misogyny, because i hate elizabethan mistaken identity tropes, because i tired of the hermetic nature of the sonnet, and because i simply got burned out on the bard, the lines from this sonnet run through my mind unbidden. 


i knew the aftermath of finishing my doctorate was going to be rough, but i didn't know how rough.  i didn't know i'd be dealing with a herniated disk, extreme anemia requiring a blood transfusion, a kid's tonsillectomy gone so wrong he also required a transfusion, and a code team, restless legs syndrome (gone now--i think it was the anemia), percocet withdrawal (aftermath of the herniated disk), and the worst thing of all--

this deep restlessnes & casting & casting about.  no book or movie or music or television or writing can hold me still for longer than a few minutes.  

on account of the back problem, i haven't been practicing yoga for six months now, worsening my state of groundlessness. on account of my brain problem (which could also be anemia related), i haven't really been writing much. I haven't had anything i'm excited about going on for months.  i've missed a all the important deadlines for three months.  i've missed blogging. i've missed writing practice and yoga practice.  i've missed cooking, something that often engages and soothes me when i'm feeling contented least.  something i currently have no desire to do.  

i need my lark, my muse, my something back.  


  1. I am sitting is stake conference. I try to keep my phone in my bag at church, try to unplug. But I felt the urge to check in on you. Your restless mind has taught and inspired so many. Your hungry heart had fed so many. Your beautiful food has been the salvation of many. You have been the muse of many. I invoke inspiration and peace and rest for you. Xoxoxo

  2. awww, marni. you always know the right thing to say! i need your priestess vibe right now.

    1. Hi Lara, It was great to see you at AWP and feel your power! Just thinking about this post - and having been there myself, it makes me think you are on the edge or verge of something even better...when this happens, what helps me is making a tiny little routine that works for me - like 5 minutes of meditating or the perfect cup of tea or walking around the block to look at other people's reminds me of Coleridge, for some reason...
      A savage place! as holy and enchanted
      As e’er beneath a waning moon was haunted
      By woman wailing for her demon-lover!
      Five miles meandering with a mazy motion
      Through wood and dale the sacred river ran,
      Then reached the caverns measureless to man,
      And sank in tumult to a lifeless ocean;
      Could I revive within me
      Her symphony and song,
      To such a deep delight ’twould win me,
      That with music loud and long,
      I would build that dome in air,
      That sunny dome! those caves of ice!
      And all who heard should see them there,
      And all should cry, Beware! Beware!
      His flashing eyes, his floating hair!
      Weave a circle round him thrice,
      And close your eyes with holy dread
      For he on honey-dew hath fed,
      And drunk the milk of Paradise.
      "Drink me!" -- Alice

      Hang in there and keep me posted!
      love always, shannon

  3. Remember Billy Crystal - "As you know, it's better to look good than to feel good, dahlings" as witnessed in above photo and others...