Monday, October 25, 2010
Farewell Indian Summer
(I am linking you to the large-print paperback edition because it is easier to see the blowing seeds on the dandelion puff on the cover, and to read that it is the "eagerly-anticipated sequel." Plus, I like the hourglass better than the mass market paperback's clock. Plus plus, we don't get a lot of large-print paperbacks at Babbitt's, as we take what comes in, so here's your chance!)
Meanwhile, our Midwestern Indian Summer has lingered, but some much-needed rain has fallen, conveniently after most of the harvest. Today will still be warm, and the rain may not come again till nightfall, as in Camelot. The moon has moved from full to lopsided, high in the morning sky, the blue and white morning glories are open, and the sun is turning everything pale gold.
Yes, the pale gold of the cover of The Beforelife, by Franz Wright, a color more intense, book in hand, than here in the image. I dimly remember reading about this book when it first came out, as an intense, terribly honest look at the legacy of abuse, at the self at rock bottom, and at some kind of redemption. Yes, it is brutal and beautiful.
I wince to realize that the poet's father is poet James Wright, father of some lovely poems, but also the father in "Primogeniture" who beat his son. And the son says this:
and may my hand wither
may it forget how to write
if ever I strike a child.
(And fear not, it really does say "wither" in the book, not "whither," as in the Amazon review. You think I should not be concerned with The Correct Spelling & Exact Meaning? Oh, but I am!)
And, recalling a lovely conversation between people of different faith traditions, I offer Franz Wright's poem "Based on a Prayer by Rabi'a al-Adawiyya," whom he identifies as "an early Sufi poet. She died in 801."
God, if I speak my love to you in fear of hell, incinerate me in it;
if I speak my love to you in hope of heaven, close it in my face.
But if I speak to you simply because you exist, cease
withholding from me your