Memory, Rhyme and the Scene of Birth

Someone else has been (mis)quoting from memory:

Robert Stam
Keywords in Subversive Film / Media Aesthetics

One is reminded of Bakhtin’s three spasms — birth, orgasm, and death — and of Yeat’s “god of love” who “pitched his tent/ near the place of excrement.”

I had always thought it was “in the place of excrement”. But the concluding stanza of Yeat’s “Crazy Jane Talks with the Bishop” has no trace of tent except in the rhymes:

‘A woman can be proud and stiff
When on love intent;
But Love has pitched his mansion in
The place of excrement;
For nothing can be sole or whole
That has not been rent.’

This search was triggered by John Berryman’s Homage to Mistress Bradstreet where the birth scene cuts across three stanzas and culminates in a sense of pride:

[…] Kin,
gather. My world is strange
and merciful, ingrown months, blessing a swelling trance.

So squeezed, wince you I scream? I love you & hate
off with you. Ages! Useless. Below my waist
he has me in Hell’s vise.
Stalling. He let go. Come back: brace
me somewhere. No. No. Yes! everything down
hardens I press with horrible joy down
my back cracks like a wrist
shame I am voiding oh behind it is too late

hide me forever I work thrust I must free
now I all muscles & bones concentrate
what is living from dying?
Simon I must leave you so untidy
Monster you are killing me Be sure
I’ll have you later Women do endure
I can can no longer
and it passes the wretched trap whelming and I am me

drencht & powerful, I did it with my body!

A scene and sentiment worthy of Crazy Jane.

And so for day 2629

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