Beneath his lack of emotion he was also uninsistently sardonic; deep below that...for those who sensed it, there was in his comedy a freezing whisper not of pathos but of melancholia.
- James Agee, 1949
image by corinne chaufour
An idea of books from a yearning
to counter the all-polluting imagery-machines
with parables of plants and animals
and old stories
of black robbers and white stags.
Fragments on death like mirrors
from a black sleep
in the forests of fairy tales.
All stories from the dust of the dead
in fragments and footnotes
like melodies of heartbreak
and north and night and exploration–breakdowns.
About saints with no promise of heaven
and lost sailors forgotten
and the terribly lonely bears.
The unknown, the ugly – and the odd.
Collected grand mistakes,
noble errors from many sources.
Sinking signals - conscious or not – sonatas and last letters
and great insults.
The impossible tears in landscapes
of ocean or stranded whales.
A going far back to coals
and cruelties and sobbing
like songs in whiskey and blood.
Of soldiers’ last letters and all seven seas.
With pirates and wars and prayers
in holes in the ground.
Of fallen women and orphaned children
and drowned slaves and burned saints.
To make songs from doubt
and books to live by.