1/25/18

Fer Namesake , Ursula K Le Guin

Cy Est Pourtraicte, Madame Ste Ursule, et Les Unze Mille Vierges

Ursula, in a garden, found
A bed of radishes.
She kneeled upon the ground
And gathered them,
With flowers around,
Blue, gold, pink, and green.
She dressed in red and gold brocade
And in the grass an offering made
of radishes and flowers.
She said, "My dear,
Upon your altars,
I have placed
The marguerite and coquelicot,
And roses
Frail as April snow;
But here," she said,
"Where none can see,
I make an offering, in the grass,
Of radishes and flowers."
And then she wept
For fear the Lord would not accept.
The good Lord in His garden sought
New leaf and shadowy tinct,
And they were all His thought.
He heard her low accord,
Half prayer and half ditty,
And He felt a subtle quiver,
That was not heavenly love,
Or pity.
This is not writ
In any book.
(from, Stevens Collected Poetry & Prose)


What I love about Le Guin is that she contained multitudes, with intention.  One minute she could say something like this:

Adults seek moral guidance and intellectual challenge in stories about warrior monkeys, one-eyed giants, and crazy knights who fight windmills.  Literacy is considered a beginning, not an end.
....Well, maybe in some other country  but not in this one.  In America the imagination is generally looked on as something that might be useful when the TV is out of order.  Poetry and plays have no relation to practical politics.  Novels are for students, housewives, and other people who don't work. Fantasy is for children and primitive peoples. Literaccy is so you can read the operating instructions.  I think the imagination is the single most useful took we possess.  It beats the opposable thumb. I can imagine living without my thumbs, but not without my imagination.
I hear voices agreeing with me.  "Yes, yes!" they cry.  "The creative imagination is a tremendous plus in business! We value creativity, we reward it!" In the marketplace, the word creativity has come to mean the generation of ideas applicable to practical strategies to make larger profits. This reduction has gone on so long that word creative can hardly be degraded further.  I don't use it any more, yielding it to capitalists and academics to abuse as they like.  But they can't have imagination.

And the next, something like this: 



And the next,

Sleep gives us something we need, and we know it; but what it gives us is something we can't know, though we may feel it slip from us as we wake. Refreshment, is it? Solace, simplification, innocence?


Rest in Utopia, Ursula