A day of passion and torture

Posted on September 9, 2017
Filed Under Commentary, Poetry | Leave a Comment

A_R_G_H ! ! !
”Tis a day of passion and torture for Poor Dave! Michelle has gone into one of her purge and renew fits. She set out to repaint the master bedroom. That involves emptying out two of my book cases which, in her delusional state seems to her like a good excuse to purge one of my libraries. I’ve read that the nostalgia comes from the Greek and refers to the pain of going back.
An example: When I was a pubescent boy, I discovered a trove of books from my parents’ youth in our back kitchen. One of them was “The Red Ledger,” by Frank L. Packard, published in 1926. It is about a very wealthy man who had been down and out before making his fortune. During that time, some people were very kind to him. Some were responsible for his plight or were just cruel to him.
He kept a ledger.
He engages a young man, the son of one of his benefactors to assist him in balancing the ledger. He is part guardian angel and part agent of karma.
As the book goes along, he crosses paths with another agent engaged by the man with the ledger. She’s beautiful and mysterious and the whole book leads to a climax where they finally get together.
I suppose my age was a big part of why that yearning for romance so overwhelmed me.
I lost that book in our house fire in 1981. My mother, whose book it probably originally was, had contacts who could find almost anything ever published. At Christmas, 1984, she gave me another copy inscribed “To Lawrence from Marguerite and Jack, Christmas 1928”.
Purge me before I purge that!
I have a huge collection of reference books, anthologies, biographies, literature, art, music and poetry — quite a few of them still not read.
Getting into them reminds me of the hopelessness of reading and learning. I’m tortured by the knowledge that I could never read all the good books published before I was born and I’ve been falling farther and farther behind every day since.
Just dipping into the stacks from these two book cases, reignites the passions they originally inspired.
Still the romantic, flipping through a book of Emily Dickinson poems, I happened across these stanzas in “The Lost Jewel”.
“Wild nights! Wild nights!
Were I with thee,
Wild nights should be
Our luxury!

Futile the winds
To a heart in port, —
Done with the compass,
Done with the chart.

Rowing in Eden!
Ah! The sea!
Might I but moor
Tonight in thee!”

That, of course reminded me of e.e. cummings.

i like my body when it is with your body

i like my body when it is with your
body. It is so quite new a thing.
Muscles better and nerves more.
i like your body. i like what it does,
i like its hows. i like to feel the spine
of your body and its bones, and the trembling
-firm-smooth ness and which i will
again and again and again
i like kissing this and that of you,
i like, slowly stroking the, shocking fuzz
of your electric fur, and what-is-it comes
over parting flesh… And eyes big love-crumbs,

and possibly i like the thrill

of under me you so quite new


my sweet old etcetera – e e cummings

aunt lucy during the recent

war could and what

is more did tell you just

what everybody was fighting


my sister

isabel created hundreds


hundreds)of socks not to

mention shirts fleaproof earwarmers

etcetera wristers etcetera, my

mother hoped that

i would die etcetera

bravely of course my father used

to become hoarse talking about how it was

a privilege and if only he

could meanwhile my

self etcetera lay quietly

in the deep mud et



cetera, of

Your smile

eyes knees and of your Etcetera)

And then to Chaucer:

Rondel of Merciless Beauty
Your two great eyes will slay me suddenly;
Their beauty shakes me who was once serene;
Straight through my heart the wound is quick and keen.
Only your word will heal the injury
To my hurt heart, while yet the wound is clean –
Your two great eyes will slay me suddenly;
Their beauty shakes me who was once serene.
Upon my word, I tell you faithfully
Through life and after death you are my queen;
For with my death the whole truth shall be seen.
Your two great eyes will slay me suddenly;
Their beauty shakes me who was once serene;
Straight through my heart the wound is quick and keen.
Geoffrey Chaucer (1343 – 1400)

So, there’s a huge hunk of Saturday gone. I have once again fallen into the pit of my treasure vault of art and memories.

And, oh, yes, the end of “The Red Ledger”.

“Myril drew back from him a little breathlessly, struggling with her disordered hair.
“Have you forgotten your warning, sir?” She demanded with dainty, mock serverity. “The crime of lese-majesty is a very grave crime, I would have you know — and I am the Princess Myril.”
“Princess? Myril? No!” Stranway cried — and caught her into his arms again. “To me you will always be — the Orchid!”.


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