Nakedness and freedom, by a playwright and a poet

Before he became a famous writer, while living at home and working a menial job under the thumb of his cruel father, Tennessee Williams dreamed of freedom. He wrote: 

Now I’m back “home”. Which isn’t quite true. The world is my home. That is what I’ve just found out… but just the same I’ve got to stay here or so it seems and being here is very miserable. I hate brick and concrete and the hissing of garden hoses. I hate streets with demure or sedate little trees and the awful screech of trolley wheels and polite, constrained city voices. I want hills and valleys and lakes and forests around me! I want to lie dreaming and naked in the sun! I want to be free and have freedom all around me. I don’t want anything tight or limiting or constrained. 

How curiously similar this vision of freedom is to an idea found in a wonderful new poem by Jane Hirschfield, one of the best poets in the country today, arguably, and in person a demure, quiet presence:    

I Ran Out Naked in the Sun

I ran out naked
in the sun
and who could blame me
who could blame

the day was warm

I ran out naked
in the rain
and who could blame me
who could blame

the storm

I leaned toward sixty
that day almost done
it thundered
then

I wanted more I
shouted More
and who could blame me
who could blame

had been before

could blame me
that I wanted more

Jane Hirshfield

[From a new book called Come, Thief, via Poetry Daily]

Perhaps nakedness in the sun is freedom, pure and simple. 

Published by Kit Stolz

I'm a freelance reporter and writer based in Ventura County.

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