RBG on the Christmas Tree.
by Marion Strobel (1895 – 1967)
Not because beauty is as thin and bright
In you as the white outline of a tree
In winter, but because I find delight
In the curved sadness of your lips. (I see
Pleasanter things each day, each day recall
Happy faces, laughter that knew a way
To spin senses to oblivion.) . . . All
Your words are swift upon your lips and grey
As swallows, yet I stay to listen, yet
I cannot tear myself away from you:
For in a little while you may forget
Your sadness. O no matter what I do
You may forget your sadness — O my dear
And even smile, and make the mystery clear
Marion Strobel was an associate editor of Poetry Magazine from 1920 to 1925. She obviously was beloved at that institution, because over her lifetime Poetry Magazine published 137 of her poems. Contrast that with Robert Frost’s mere 57 and it makes you realize how deeply connected she was in the publishing world during her career. Strobel was associated with Poetry Magazine in some way for 45 years, accounting for her impressive achievement. She was a novelist as well as poet and part of the voices that would go on to establish what would be called confessional poetry. Due in part to her editorial duties, Strobel had personal relationships with numerous writers and literary figures, including Sylvia Beach, Louise Bogan, Robert Frost, Edna St. Vincent Millay, and Carl Sandberg. I have enjoyed diving into Strobel’s poetry and look forward to exploring more.
We cut our Christmas tree at a tree farm that is run by a family for more than 50 years north of Elk River, MN yesterday. Despite several of the usual activities being disrupted by COVID restrictions, like caroling in a horse drawn carriage, it felt like a way of touching traditions of the past. A fresh cut tree brings the smell of a balsam fir into the house like no other. We’ll decorate it properly in the next couple of nights, but for one day, RBG presided over it as a guiding angel from her perch at the top.
by Marion Strobel
How can I offer you the dull, frayed song
Of love I know? Each word would stumble on
A memory; and I should see a long
Blurred line of faces grimacing upon
A musty curtain of the past . . . . Ah, no . . . .
Let me be silent . . . . Words would only sound
A monotone: a toxic, cloying flow
Of echoes would sift through, and eddy round
My voice, and all the rapture that I feel
Would turn into a harlequin and steal
Away beneath the vivid, measured hum
Of mockery. Ah, dearest, may there come
An ecstasy of stillness in each day,
That you may sense the thoughts I dare not say!