Jan. 24, 2009

Snowfall In The Afternoon

by Robert Bly

The grass is half-covered with snow.
It was the sort of snowfall that starts in late afternoon,
And now the little houses of the grass are growing

If I could reach down, near the earth,
I could take handfuls of darkness!
A darkness that was always there, which we never

As the snow grows heavier, the cornstalks fade farther
And the barn moves nearer to the house.
The barn moves all alone in the growing storm.

The barn is full of corn, and moving toward us now,
Like a hulk blown toward us in a storm at sea;
All the sailors on deck have been blind for many

"Snowfall In The Afternoon" by Robert Bly, from Eating the Honey of Words: New and Selected Poems. © Harper Flamingo, 1999. Reprinted with permission. (buy now)

It's the birthday of Edith Wharton, (books by this author) born Edith Newbold Jones in New York City in 1862. She was from an aristocratic ship-owning and real estate family, connected to the cultured high society of New York. She took to writing early and wrote her first novel when she was 11 years old.

She married young, a loveless marriage to a banker named Edward Robbins Wharton, who was mentally ill and alcoholic. The story was that Edith Wharton was in love with another man named Walter Berry, whose photo she kept on her mantelpiece next to the photo of her husband. She wrote: "I wonder, among all the tangles of this mortal coil, which one contains tighter knots to undo, and more tugging, and pain, and diversified elements of misery, than the marriage tie."

Edith Wharton wrote novels about frustrated love, including Ethan Frome (1911) and The Age of Innocence(1920), for which she won the Pulitzer Prize in 1921.

It's the birthday of the writer and comedian John Belushi, born in Chicago in 1949. He acted with a Chicago improv group called "The Second City" and then moved on to the satirical revue National Lampoon's Lemmings. It was a huge hit in New York City in 1973. The troupe was booked for six weeks in Greenwich Village, but the show was so popular that they extended it to 10 months.

In 1975, NBC producer Lorne Michaels recruited John Belushi to be a member of a late night comedy variety show, to be broadcast from New York's Rockefeller Center: Saturday Night Live. John Belushi played a samurai warrior, the leader of a band of killer bees, and the Greek owner of a luncheonette where the only dialogue from the counterman to the cook was "cheeseburger … chips … Pepsi."

He starred in a low-budget National Lampoon movie, Animal House (1978), which became a cult classic. And he made a movie with Dan Aykroyd, The Blues Brothers (1980), based on a routine they had done frequently on Saturday Night Live.

Belushi was known for his high-energy comedy. He died at the age of 33 of an overdose of cocaine at a hotel on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood. Several years later, journalist Bob Woodward published a biography of the comedy star — Wired: The Short Life and Fast Times of John Belushi (1985).

Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®




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