The experience is one of intense longing. It is distinguished from other longings by two things. In the first place, though the sense of want is acute and even painful, yet the mere wanting is felt to be somehow a delight. Other desires are felt as pleasures only if satisfaction is expected in the near future: hunger is pleasant only while we know (or believe) that we are soon going to eat. But this desire, even when there is no hope of possible satisfaction, continues to be prized, and even to be preferred to anything else in the world, by those who have once felt it. This hunger is better than any other fullness; this poverty better than all other wealth. And thus it comes about, that if the desire is long absent, it may itself be desired, and that new desiring becomes a new instance of the original desire, though the subject may not at once recognize the fact and thus cries out for his lost youth of soul at the very moment in which he is being rejuvenated. This sounds complicated, but it is simple when we live it. ‘Oh to feel as I did then!’ we cry; not noticing that even while we say the words the very feeling whose loss we lament is rising again in all its old bitter-sweetness. For this sweet Desire cuts across our ordinary distinctions between wanting and having. To have it is, by definition, a want: to want it, we find, is to have it.
C S Lewis was talking about eating in bed - obviously.
1) Monroe's fell on evil days -
His woman and his friend is dead.
Monre's fell on evil days,
Can't hardly get his bread.
In this poem, Langston Hughes writes about a man who can no longer enjoy the experience of breakfast in bed because of a painful family death. It is because of Hughes' committed social poetry that we are aware of these tragic circumstances today.
2) ... but how
Shall we satisfy when we meet,
Between Shall-I and I-Will,
The lion's mouth whose hunger
No metaphors can fill?
Auden, in his philosophical way, discusses the paradox of eating in bed: 'Shall-I' get out of bed to make a meal? Or 'I-Will' stay in bed until my partner brings me a meal: it is certainly a deep philosophical dilemma. But in the meantime, what is to be done with 'the lion's mouth whose hunger/No metaphors can fill?'
3) At the end of three days, moving southward, you come upon Anastasia, a city with concentric canals watering it and kites flying over it. I should now list the wares that can profitably be bought here: agate, onyx, chrysoprase, and other varieties of chalcedony; I should praise the flesh of the golden pheasant cooked here over fires of seasoned chery wood and sprinkled with much sweet marjoram; and tell of the women I have seen bathing in the pool of a garden and who sometimes - it is said - invite the stranger to disrobe with them and chase them in the water. But with all this, I would not be telling you the city's true essence; for while the description of Anastasia awakens desires one at a time only to force you to stifle them, when you are in the heart of Anastasia one morning your desires waken all at once and surround you. The city appears to you as a whole where no desire is lost and of which you are a part, and since it enjoys everything you do not enjoy, you can do nothing but inhabit this desire and be content. Such is the power, sometimes called malignant, sometimes benign, that Anastasia, the treacherous city, possesses; if for eight hours a day you work as a cutter of agate, onyx, chrysoprase, your labor which gives form to desire takes from desire its form, and you believe you are enjoying Anastasia wholly when you are only its slave.
Calvino goes on to explain in detail the long history of the 'Breakfast In Bed Waiters Union' in this city. To labour your long life to bring others breakfast in bed, and never to receive it yourself! It is a most exquisite form of torture!
4) Was it a dreame, or did I see it playne;
A goodly table of pure yvory,
All spred with juncats, fit to entertayne
The greatest Prince with pompous roialty...
This is the beginning of an entire sonnet sequence in which Spenser describes in wondering, elaborate detail a waking dream he had in which an angel brought him breakfast in bed. Could such a dream be possible? He never seems quite sure.
So you see, eating in bed has a long history!
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