Undertaker's Daughter

My life and death as spiritual path.

Location: River City, Northern California

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Exhuming Delight

I have to thank Meghan O'Rourke for her slightly back-handed review of the forgotten poet Jack Gilbert in Slate's online magazine. Without it-- and without my anger over her reference to Transcendence in poetry as being out of date-- how can transcendence ever be out of date??? [embarrasing, yes, but that is an indictment most can not bear to accept]-- I would never have read this vital, provoking poet.

It's a very tough day for me-- worry over mere survival obsesses me. But Jack is a sure talisman for such trivialities. I'll leave the text to him.

. . . . .There is laughter
everyday in the terrible streets of Calcutta,
and the women laugh in the cages of Bombay.
If we deny our happiness, resist our satisfaction.
we lessen the importance of their deprivation.
We must risk delight. We can do without pleasure,
but not delight. Not enjoyment. We must have the
the stubbonness to accept our gladness in the ruthless
furnace of this world. To make injustice the only
measure of our attention is to praise the Devil.
If the locomotive of the Lord runs us down,
we should give thanks the end had magnitude.
We must admit there will be music despite everything.
. . .
from A Brief for the Defense by Jack Gilbert in his latest book, Refusing Heaven.

The train is coming at horrifyingly thoughtless speed but I must agree. I have had Magnitude in plenty and may have years more, god help me, if I push the horror with adamantine intensity. There has been enough of wanting to die, too damn many years of it. I have become perverse enough to live.

Enough of Seigfried's Death March with it's funky Sith grandeur, play the Goldberg Variations-- their infinite variety and minute fussiness reflects my DNA. All DNA, in fact. And, when it's time, for god's sake, crank up the Sanctus from the B Minor Mass to wing me home in style if for no other reason than my dear angel, bright being of lost light hears it in the memory of Dante's Paradisiacal White Rose.

But do close it down with Bach's Dona Nobis Pacem. So calm it's almost forgettable in the face of what precedes it but I have the temerity to want Peace-- eternal Peace, hell, World Peace to mark my death.

Why not dream big? I've certainly lived small enough to deserve it.

I'm not this maudlin often, thank god, but today is a day for it. If for no other reason than it's here. And, Jack, believe it or not, this is a kind of delight.


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