December 29, 1940 [Ekstase/Ecstasy]

Ecstasy wanted me to notice its adamant eye: Watch this, right here! it seemed to shout. The bee crawling on the window, the sky drawing the camera up, the darkness filling the room like funeral-crepe, the listless hand--but then, the trembling lip, and the beads of sweat a shattered chandelier on the woman's brow, and the glow of her limbs, like Prufrock's "arms that are braceleted and white and bare" and "downed with light brown hair." No wonder the movie had to wait at our doorway for seven years, and was denied entry at so many others, finally slipping in all-but-unnoticed, while Hedy Lamarr herself arrived years before; but now for a moment the two of them--the milk-white girl in the field a quivering vision that will not let me drop my eyes and the Hollywood star all grown up and playing nice with Clark Gable and Robert Taylor and Charles Boyer--glimpse for a moment what looks like ecstasy, the kind a lucky few of us have seen at our side, beneath us, above--or felt ourselves, the shudder that Yeats leaves to the gods--but something Hedy Lamarr simply finds--as hidden as it might be, despite the naked flight--and opens like her hand, to give us what she holds.


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