tess : "i am ready"


every time someone saw me with "tess" in my hands,
and my eyes deliberately soaking in every word, they gave
me some kind of warning, "be ready to read something happy afterwards"
or "oh, poor tess!...have you read such-and-such yet?'s terrible."
i guess these warnings might have turned me away, but i rather
like a story of heartache and suffering...because it is so much part of us.

before la porte rouge offered this book as our first read
tess had sat patiently on my shelf, and i was completely ignorant of her...
each page was a surprise, a true unfolding of a life before my eyes.

i fell in love. how can you not when you read of her perfect lips
and love of melody? how can you not love a woman who indeed
was full of virtue? what strength and forbearance she possessed.

i loved dreaming about her hard labor on the farm as she fell
deeply, madly in love with a gentleman. i too cried when
angel left her and she protected his good name.
i cherished every moment she had of her last days
with him as they fled and hid in forests and a mansion.

i knew that as soon as she offered her body upon
that ancient altar she was done for. i wept.
tess, least despised of them all. most loved forever more.

often as i read i had my warm spiced milk,
thinking of tess and all the many women in this world
who suffer such a life this very day...the victims of
social injustices. it's international women's day...
and i will celebrate tess and those who struggle
to keep their heads high as they have been cast so low.

and now, onward. onward to jane.


Anonymous said...

Beautiful words and pictures, a treat to see and read :)
Have a good day!

karensdanglingconversation said...

Ann, I am ready! Hi, are you settled in yet? I could really use some Ann wisdom these days. Life is so crazy I need a new perspective. Also to brush up on blog techniques. In exchange I am offering free Thai Partner Yoga Therapy. I'm getting quite good! Would love to see you soon! Love, love, love your blog! You are amazing!

Katarina said...

I must admit I'm very much behind with Tess. But your beautiful post motivated me again :)

p.s. I've got a lovely new desktop laptop loves it, thanks x

Char said...

i bought the book too in penguin and have looked at it repeatedly but have been unable to begin. this is inspiring me to do that, begin. a beautiful review.

Tree Peeps said...

I've still never read Tess of the D'Urbervilles, though almost everyone asks me if I have when I introduce myself.
Happy International Women's Day :)

Tiffany Kadani said...

Your field shots are always so perfect. Do tell... where will Jane be taking you?

Ann Marie said...

Jane Eyre (not Austen)...never read this classic either! Very happy to be finally making my way through some of the books that have sat on my shelves for way too long.

onesilentwinter said...

oh ann marie, how lovey is this post. i am almost done myself( a little behind in away). how i feel for tess so much. nature was a big character and life of farming, well i found myself haninging on to every words, every blade of wheat and foot step through pastures and fields.

i hope you let me share this post.

urbancurtsy said...

I have never been to your blog, but oh what a treat. I clicked on you from Wild Acre. I will be reading your blog regularly now, you have a beautiful calm about you.