fight the Fear

28 February 2006 at 14:28 Leave a comment

John Burnside writes a memoir:

[Burnside’s] father died the year his first book was published. ‘I wouldn’t have wanted him to read anything I’d written,’ he says, bluntly. ‘He’d discouraged me in everything I wanted to do, because of the climate of fear he lived in. Trust nobody; don’t aspire above your station; you’re poor so you’re there to be hit and if you get used to that, you’ll be fine. Just drink some beer and beat your wife up now and then.’ He smiles sadly. ‘My father was this big, tough guy, almost heroic in proportion to me as a child. It was only later that I saw how fearful he was. I think I’m much less fearful about the things that matter.’

And here’s an enveloping poem of his. This is what can happen if you are not burdened by your parent’s Fears:

Si Dieu n’existait pas

No one invents an absence:
Cadmium yellow, duckweed, the capercaillie
– see how the hand we would name restrains itself
till all our stories end in monochrome;

the path through the meadow
reaching no logical end;
nothing but colour: bedstraw and ladies’ mantle;
nothing sequential; nothing as chapter and verse.

No one invents the quiet that runs in the grass,
the summer wind, the sky, the meadowlark;
and always the gift of the world, the undecided:
first light and damson blue ad infinitum.

John Burnside
From: Times Literary Supplement
Published in 2005

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Entry filed under: misanthropy, reading, writing.

Overheard VII Cloudy, cloudy

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What I’ve been reading:

  • James Boswell, The Life of Samuel Johnson, L.L.D. (London, 14 King William Street, Strand: William P. Nimmo, 1876). 4 years ago
  • Marsilio Ficino, Letters of Marsilio Ficino, v. 3, trans. Language Dept. School of Economic Science, London (New York: Gingko Press, 1985). 4 years ago
  • Italo Calvino, Six Memos for the Next Millennium (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1988). 4 years ago
  • Stephanie Kallos, Broken for You (New York: Grove Press, 2004). 5 years ago
  • Marsilio Ficino, Letters of Marsilio Ficino, v. 2, trans. Language Dept. School of Economic Science, London (New York: Gingko Press, 1985) 5 years ago

T. Anderson Painter

I am a misanthrope. No one ever believes me, but this seems to prove my point.

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