Sunday, May 21, 2006

"Brown-eyed lady, lovely lady..."

(Borrowed from Wikipedia)

Sun-Ae read yesterday's post on the song "Green-Eyed Lady" and noticed something:

"What!" she cried. "What! Is! This!"

"Huh?" I gutteraled.

"What's this?" she clarified.

"What's what?" I asked. (My wife and I have a lot of conversations of this sort -- was it C.S. Lewis who complained that women don't use nouns?)

"This!" she further clarified, pointing to the computer screen.

Looks like a computer to me, I thought ... but also thought better than to say that. Besides, she soon genuinely clarified things by reading the lines aloud:

"I listened and felt, with mysteriously overwhelming familiarity, a profound longing for something that I'd never experienced," she read ... pausing ... then, her voice changing color, continued "love for a green-eyed lady strolling at sunset down a long beach!"

"Oh, that," I explained.

"What do you mean 'that'?" she retorted.

"Sun-Ae," I told her, "that was in 1971, and I was very young."

"Oh?" she said, looking again at my blog.

"Uh ... " I ventured, "what did you think of the rest of the post?"

"I didn't read the rest," she admitted. "Just these lines about you being in love with a green-eyed lady."
Well, as I pointed out to Nathan Bauman, the green-eyed lady didn't exist, and Sun-Ae and I have mutually come to agree that the song would be so much better if it were titled "Brown-Eyed Lady."

And that David Crosby was wrong to write that "Guinnevere had green eyes / Like yours, mi'lady like yours..."

Those were also brown.


At 10:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I enjoyed this post, too! Jeffery, did you ever read "Pilgrim's Regress" and "Surprised by Joy" by C.S. Lewis? He talks about that mysterious longing that he felt, and how he initially thought this could be satsifed with "brown girls," [no relation to a certain brown-eyed lady!]. The "brown girls" have a symbolic value in the Regress. I used to feel those mysterious tuggings, too, especially in childhood, when I would ride my bicycle in the trails of the local slough. I felt empty inside, but it was the kind of emptiness that satisfied oneself, at the same time. Nowadays, I don't feel empty anymore, thanks to my own lovely brown-eyed lady; in fact, I feel fulfilled.

Yes, by the way, it was Lewis who complained that women never use nouns. This was his explanation, given through one of his characters in the third volume of the Space Trilogy, I believe, for why men and women shouldn't do kitchen duty together: "The woman will say, 'put that in there!' The man will say, 'put what in where?' " (Or something like that.)

At 3:10 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

No, Nathan, I've never read either of those two by Lewis, but I did read his trilogy a few years ago (and Mere Christianity much earlier). Thanks for reminding me of where I'd read about women's avoidance of nouns.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 10:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're welcome, Jeffery. I actually really enjoyed, and still enjoy, the Pilgrim's Regress, which is a philosophical allegory that was largely based on Lewis's own intellectual journey. I should probably clarify that the term "brown girls," is not used in "Surprised by Joy,"; it's only in the Regress. The latter is modeled on the famous Pilgrim's Progress, of course, and is exceptionally entertaining. I'm sure you'd love it, and have a lot to say about it. If you can find a copy over here, I highly recommend you buy it. The thing is quite short, and you can read it in a handful of hours.

Lewis was quite a chauvinist in some ways. I remember reading in one of his essays that he was not very happy with the enfranchisement of women. His wife, Joy, whom he met late in life, changed all that (hence the title of his autobiography). When she died, he wrote a wonderful, and inspiring little book that chronicled his experiences in dealing with his loss: A Grief Observed.

By the way, Lewis also wrote a short introduction to medieval literature that is still valued today, I understand. You might find it interesting (but perhaps you read it already). I read it several years ago, but cannot quite remember the title.

At 3:35 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

You must have read a lot of Lewis very carefully.

His introduction to Medieval literature that you mention was probably his Allegory of Love, which I really ought to read.

Jeffery Hodges

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