Snow day, domesticity, Auden, Freud, Verdi

It’s been snowing all morning, and even though it doesn’t really seem to be accumulating, I think I’ll stay in today enjoying the snow-day vibe. I’m listening to Studio 360 on the radio, and they’re talking about psychoanalysis by way of W. H. Auden’s "In Memory of Sigmund Freud," which I was very pleased to hear them read, if only in parts. (You can read the whole poem at the Academy of American Poets; here’s my favorite section:

He wasn’t clever at all: he merely told
the unhappy Present to recite the Past
    like a poetry lesson till sooner
  or later it faltered at the line where

long ago the accusations had begun,
and suddenly knew by whom it had been judged,
    how rich life had been and how silly,
  and was life-forgiven and more humble,

able to approach the Future as a friend
without a wardrobe of excuses, without
    a set mask of rectitude or an
  embarrassing over-familiar gesture.

I also love the final lines: "Sad is Eros, builder of cities, / and weeping anarchic Aphrodite.")

Speaking of snow and the radio, several years ago I was with friends in New York right after Christmas, and we ended up catching most of a WNYC "Selected Shorts" broadcast of Conrad Aiken’s "Silent Snow, Secret Snow" while crawling through Manhattan traffic. After the story ended, the announcer came on and said that the reader was Leonard Nimoy. I can still hear him intoning "…the whole world was a vast moving screen of snow — but even now it said peace, it said remoteness, it said cold, it said sleep."

Now I’m going to make some lunch, catch the Met’s Traviata broadcast, and catch up on neglected housework. I hope all of you further north are safe, indoors, and well-stocked to weather the big nor’easter.

[Update a couple of hours later: Aargh! Verdi interruptus! "Technical difficulties" cut off the Met broadcast right at the end of Act 1, just as I was really getting into it. Back again for Act 2. Yay!]

4 Responses to “Snow day, domesticity, Auden, Freud, Verdi”

  1. Florence says:

    Verdi Interruptus…Curses…I’m sharing the frustration. … It doesn’t help that now the station is playing elevator music and thanking us for patience…How could they do such a thing?! I’ve switched over to a web-radio broadcast, but it keeps buffering with my crummy connection. How did you like Gheorghiu?

  2. Amanda says:

    A fellow Charlottesvillean! Have we met in person?
    I wasn’t sure I was going to like Gheorgiu at first, but she totally had me from “E strano!” onward. I was hating the station’s elevator music too, but they seem to have fixed whatever it was now.

  3. Florence says:

    What a relief, to the opera-crazed anyway. I ran across this blog a little while ago. By way of about last night, I think. We haven’t met in person, but I’m at uva, so I suspect I’ve probably run across you in the bowels of alderman-land. Enjoy the snow.

  4. Jeannette says:

    Gheorgiu won Traviata for me. Have you seen the DVD of it? It’s always a hit with my classes.