Tuesday, March 18, 2014

A Great Irish Poem

The Irish like the Poles are great poets.  
Maybe it's the years of oppression, the centuries of bad luck, the presence of a strong Catholicism, the yearning for peace, love, freedom. 
Whatever it is, the Irish write some great poems.  Here's one of my favorites, by Eavan Boland.  


In the worst hour of the worst season
of the worst year of a whole people
a man set out from the workhouse with his wife.
He was walking--they were both walking--north.

She was sick with famine fever and could not keep up.
He lifted her and put her on his back.
He walked like that west and north.
Until at nightfall under freezing stars they arrived.

In the morning they were both found dead.
Of cold. Of hunger. Of the toxins of a whole history.
But her feet were held against his breastbone.
The last heat of his flesh was his last gift to her.

Let no love poem ever come to this threshold.
There is no place here for the inexact
praise of the easy graces and sensuality of the body.
There is only time for this merciless inventory:

Their death together in the winter of 1847.
Also what they suffered. How they lived.
And what there is between a man and a woman.
And in which darkness it can best be proved.

~ Eavan Boland

Monday, March 17, 2014

Presumption Dept

I just wrote to Joyce Carol Oates asking her is she would write a blurb for my forthcoming novel Road of Bones (Cervena Barva Press), about two German lovers separated by World War II.

I'll let you know if I hear from her.

(ps--did I ever tell you about the time I received a nasty postcard from Isaac Asimov, complaining about a review I wrote of one of his 2000 books?  I still have it around here somewhere.  Signed in fact.  I wonder if I could sell it on ebay?)

If you want to read a chapter from the book, here's a link:  The German