POETS Day! Marianne Moore

[This entry is cross posted at ordinary-times.com]

If you lived in France, you’d already be home by… actually you’d still be at work. Turns out that thirty-five hour work week we hear about is just something the French pretend to enjoy the way they pretend everybody in their family tree that’s old enough to be dead was part of La Resistance, stood up to Robespierre, or was Charlemagne (that last one’s true though.) They had me there. I thought those Gallic geniuses really had the four-day work week worked out, that they were the P.O.E.T.S. Day legends of song come alive. Their failure and subsequent fakery should not deter you. P.O.E.T.S. Day, like the war against the Axis, doesn’t require France to succeed. It’s still your time that’s being squandered in the waning hours of the workweek as organizational inertia forces you and your co-workers to go through the motions of production. Nobody’s getting anything done after lunchtime on Friday. It’s clock watching, text messaging, and paper shuffling until the whistle blows. Don’t be part of the farce. Piss Off Early, Tomorrow’s Saturday. Tell your boss whatever you have to. Dissemble, obfuscate, fudge the truth, whatever. Your presence at your place of employment on a Friday afternoon is in service of the lie that you aren’t already mentally at the bar or the ballpark, wandering through a pleasant park, or dropping by a special someone’s for a bit of reverence. It’s your weekend. Do with it as you will, but in homage to the mighty acronym may I suggest setting aside a moment for a little verse? It’s a particularly good way to pass time waiting on friends who may not run as roughshod over delicate pieties and so were not as successful as you were in engineering an early exit.


“It should be revised, Mr. Goodwin; wish it were better — I value your forbearance; — am encouraged that with all its faults you care to own it.”

Marianne Moore wrote that to Johnathan Goodwin on the front flyleaf of a first edition copy of her collection Poems, released in 1921. It sold for $3,824 at Christie’s in 2002. The inscription is dated July 7, 1962. I like that. It shows that she knows how to hold a grudge. The book was published behind her back without her permission by her former Bryn Mawr classmate, the poet H.D. (Hilda Doolittle,) and her partner, the English novelist, Bryher (Annie Winifred Ellerman of the ship owning Ellermans if you must know, but we don’t put on airs around here.) Moore is said to have disapproved of the selection and layout but was not displeased by the cover.

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