Thursday, August 28, 2014

Revisiting This Whole Lev Grossman Business

It has been called to my attention that in the original Lev Grossman post I started the second paragraph by saying "I don't read much fantasy."  I then proceeded to list a dozen or so books.  And I'm sure there are other books in the genre that I've read but didn't list.  For example, I read a good bit of C.S. Lewis back in the day (the serious stuff, not Narnia.  although I read some of that too).   Oh, and some of those Gor books, although they were pretty stupid.  And John Something of Mars, or something like that -- they made it into a terrible movie starring my boy Taylor Kitsch.  Likewise Seamus Heaney's translation of Beowulf, which is, dude, like The Mothership of fantasy.

That said, we're talking about the fullness of a man's life.  Three score and soon to be one.  So fifteen or twenty books out of hundreds?  I stand by my statement.

Mid-Term Break

I sat all morning in the college sick bay
Counting bells knelling classes to a close.
At two o'clock our neighbors drove me home.

In the porch I met my father crying--
He had always taken funerals in his stride--
And Big Jim Evans saying it was a hard blow.

The baby cooed and laughed and rocked the pram
When I came in, and I was embarrassed
By old men standing up to shake my hand

And tell me they were 'sorry for my trouble,'
Whispers informed strangers I was the eldest,
Away at school, as my mother held my hand

In hers and coughed out angry tearless sighs.
At ten o'clock the ambulance arrived
With the corpse, stanched and bandaged by the nurses.

Next morning I went up into the room. Snowdrops
And candles soothed the bedside; I saw him
For the first time in six weeks. Paler now,

Wearing a poppy bruise on his left temple,
He lay in the four foot box as in his cot.
No gaudy scars, the bumper knocked him clear.

A four foot box, a foot for every year. 

    -- Seamus Heaney


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