Monday, August 18, 2014

When Corpse Revived at the Funeral, the Outraged Mourners Killed It


Allen Grossman

When the corpse revived at the funeral,
The outraged mourners killed it; and the soul
Of the revenant passed into the body
Of the poet because it had more to say.
He sat down at the piano no one could play
Called Messiah, or The Regulator of the World,
Which had stood for fifty years, to my knowledge,
Beneath a painting of a red-haired woman
In a loose gown with one bared breast, and played
A posthumous work of the composer S——
About the impotence of God (I believe)
Who has no power not to create everything.
It was the Autumn of the year and wet,
When the music started.  The musician was
Skillful but the Messiah was out of tune
And bent the time and the tone.  For a long hour
The poet played The Regulator of the World
As the spirit prompted, and entered upon
The pathways of His power—while the mourners
Stood with slow blood on their hands
Astonished by the weird processional
And the undertaker figured his bill.
—We have in mind an unplayed instrument
Which stands apart in a memorial air
Where the room darkens toward its inmost wall
And a lady hangs in her autumnal hair
At evening of the November rains; and winds
Sublime out of the North, and North by West,
Are sowing from the death-sack of the seed
The burden of her cloudy hip.  Behold,
I send the demon I know to relieve your need,
An imperfect player at the perfect instrument
Who takes in hand The Regulator of the World
To keep the splendor from destroying us.
Lady!  The last virtuoso of the composer S——
Darkens your parlor with the music of the Law.
When I was green and blossomed in the Spring
I was mute wood.  Now I am dead I sing.


  1. James Risen calls Obama 'greatest enemy of press freedom in a generation'


  2. speaking of what harry truman said, i read the letter to his sweetheart, proposing marriage, linked at rob payne's place - i am in general agreement with him with respect to

    Don't you abhor snobs? Think of such men as Morgan paying to be allowed to dance with royalty. You know there isn't a royal family in Europe that wouldn't disgrace any good citizen to belong to.

    he then goes on to express racist sentiments - however, at least with regard to our fellow citizens of african descent, his actions while president are not in accord with the views he expressed in 1911 - wikipedia tell us

    A 1947 report by the Truman administration titled To Secure These Rights presented a detailed ten-point agenda of civil rights reforms. In February 1948, the president submitted a civil rights agenda to Congress that proposed creating several federal offices devoted to issues such as voting rights and fair employment practices. This provoked a storm of criticism from Southern Democrats in the runup to the national nominating convention, but Truman refused to compromise, saying: "My forebears were Confederates ... but my very stomach turned over when I had learned that Negro soldiers, just back from overseas, were being dumped out of Army trucks in Mississippi and beaten." Tales of the abuse, violence, and persecution suffered by many African American veterans upon their return from World War II infuriated Truman, and were a major factor in his decision to issue Executive Order 9981, in July 1948, desegregating and requiring equal opportunity in the Armed Forces.