Someone sent me Dylan Thomas' advice ,I think it was to his father, but it probably was in fact to his world at large, that we should fight the dying of the light; rage in fact! There was no serenity here. There was no acceptance and inevitability in the human race to the end that running becomes a stroll or ambling. We may be in a marathon but timing is never the essence. Margaret Somerville, professor in ethics at McGill in the faculties of Medicine and Law has a lot of observations about the attempts to control the dying of the light. I have ordered two of her books from Amazon to see what she has to say. There can never be enough to explore about in our voyage of discovery, but when we do it boils down to just me and you. I went to the hospital with my friend Dennis who spoke the Last Rites to our friend and it moved me greatly. They were just words. Not so; they weren't: they were permission. They were saying it's OK to set aside the rage.
While looking through old photographs I came across my mother's bridesmaid Irene's story of my father's skill in hypnotizing chickens. Though this act was said to be funny on the surface there also is an intuitive fearsomeness that surrounds it. Shades of the occult. Unworthy power. It seemed that this innate capacity alone recommended him to her, and all and sundry, as worthy to marry my mother. Since he was a farm boy and the year was 1931, the heart of the depression on the prairie, it seemed to have potential despite the pathway being unclear. The accompanying photograph shows four people beside a model A , laughing, my father crouched by the running board, a serious look, almost professional as he is bathed in the esteem which it seemed he deserved. I guess the question was, was there money in hypnosis, and is it chicanery or real, and what about chickens? I can't pillory my father for wanting to be rich in the great depression or to gain my mother's hand. I guess the weakness in his prospects was that he could only subdue one chicken at a time.
An appreciation of Robert Frost now that I am 81 and have been given my own evening, to view my own woods.
"The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
And miles to go before I sleep."
I have an inkling that Alice Munro does not write of men who have significant and lasting relationships with other men. Curiously her capacity to examine relationships as a whole is so acute and perceptive, why this is so is mysterious. Her men appear to be solitary or only connect to other men mediated by their women. They often appear transient in their relationships. I must confess that I have only read about 20 of her short stories so far and I may be proven wrong in the end, but this is my conclusion so far. I mean this as no criticism but merely an observation that the capacity of men to have warm, meaningful, lasting relationships with one another is not part of her purview.
For Jim's past posts, check out his old blog here: