Friday

Aug. 8, 2003

Advice to a Girl

by Sara Teasdale

FRIDAY, 8 AUGUST 2003
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Poem:
"Advice to a Girl," by Sara Teasdale from Mirror of the Heart (Macmillan).

Advice to a Girl

No one worth possessing
Can be quite possessed;
Lay that on your heart,
My young angry dear;
This truth, this hard and precious stone,
Lay it on your hot cheek,
Let it hide your tear.
Hold it like a crystal
When you are alone
And gaze in the depths of the icy stone.
Long, look long and you will be blessed:
No one worth possessing
Can be quite possessed.


Literary Notes:

It's state fair weekend in lots of places across the country. The Illinois State Fair opens today, and a sculptor will use 500 pounds of unsalted butter to sculpt the life-size butter cow. If you can't make it to Springfield, Illinois, you can go to their website for the Live Butter Cow Cam. They'll be underway in Des Moines, Iowa, too, where the fair is 149 years old. The Iowa State Fair was the inspiration for Phil Stong's novel, State Fair (1932), as well as three movies and a Rodgers and Hammerstein musical.

On this day in 1942, German saboteurs were executed in Washington, D.C. The Nazis wanted to bring the war to American ground and target U.S. manufacturing. In a heavy fog shortly after midnight June 13, 1942, four men rowed an inflatable boat from a German submarine to a Long Island beach. They had just buried their uniforms and explosives and some of them were still in their trunks when they were found by a Coast Guardsman. He took the Germans' bribe, but immediately ran back to headquarters to report the incident. Later, the leader of the group, George John Dasch, got nervous about the botched landing and turned himself in to the FBI. The rest of the German saboteurs were caught in New York and Chicago without having accomplished a single act of destruction. Dasch and another who cooperated were spared execution.

It's the anniversary of Britain's ''Great Train Robbery'' of 1963, when 2.6 million pounds (7.5 million dollars) were stolen from a Royal Mail train in England.

It's the birthday of essayist, short story writer and novelist Elizabeth Tallent, born in Washington, D.C. (1954). She's the author of the short story collections Time with Children (1987) and Honey (1993), and the novel Museum Pieces (1985), about a man named Peter who camps out on an old mattress in the basement of the museum where he works and imagines the house he would build for himself and his daughter.

On this day in 1968 Nixon was nominated for president at the Republican National Convention in Miami Beach. On this day in 1974, in the midst of impeachment proceedings and the Watergate scandal, Nixon announced that he would become the first president in American history to resign.

It's the birthday of mystery novelist Carolyn Wheat, born in Green Bay, Wisconsin (1946). Her books, which feature crime-solving attorney Cassandra "Cass" Jameson, include Mean Streak (1996) and Sworn to Defend (1998). This year, she published How to Write Killer Fiction: The Funhouse of Mystery & the Roller Coaster of Suspense.

It's the birthday of newspaper magnate Charles Anderson Dana, born in Hinsdale, New Hampshire (1819). He said, "When a dog bites a man that is not news, but when a man bites a dog that is news."

It's the birthday of novelist and journalist Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, born in Washington, D.C. (1896). In 1933 she published her first book, South Moon Under, and followed it with Golden Apples (1935) and The Yearling (1938), which won a Pulitzer Prize.

It's the birthday of poet Sara Teasdale, born in St. Louis, Missouri (1884). In 1918 her collection Love Songs won prestigious awards, and her work kept getting better with Flame and Shadow (1920), Dark of the Moon (1926), and Stars To-night (1930). In 1933 she was in frail health after a bout of pneumonia when she took her own life with an overdose of barbiturates. Later that year her last collection of poems, Strange Victory, was published, and many consider it her best. Sara Teasdale wrote, "When I can look Life in the eyes,/ Grown calm and very coldly wise,/ Life will have given me the Truth,/ And taken in exchange - my youth."




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