I recently finished reading "A Severe Mercy" by Sheldon Vanuaken.
I read some of the book on an Airplane over the Atlantic. The drone of the engines and the monotony of the travel was so distinctly contrasted to the fluid and poetic writing.
I cried for an hour in the little green yard of a church in Eastern Turkey. I wasn't upset or having an emotional breakdown... the book was so beautiful and so sad. It was carthartic in the truest sense. And yet as I continued over the next few pages I'd still get teary.
Finally at home I finished... having taken breaks to think through what he had said. The sadness was good, and the sadness had an ultimate good. The author didn't realize it at first, but later, walking through life he saw the purpose. 'How true' I thought.
Friday, September 18, 2009
The Rival Poet
The column of your book titles,
always introducing your latest one,
looms over me like Roman architecture.
It is longer than the name
of an Italian countess, longer
that this poem will probably be.
Etched on the head of a pin,
my own production would leave room for
The Lord's Prayer and many dancing angels.
In my revenge daydream I am the one
poised on the marble staircase
high above the crowded ballroom.
A retainer in livery announces me
and the Contessa Maria Teresa Isabella
Veronica Multalire Eleganza de Bella Ferrari.
You are the one below
fidgeting in your rented tux
with some local Cindy hanging all over you.