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John Ryskamp wrote:
>
> This is just like the case of Bartok--he wrote an enormous amount of funeral music.  It's a holdover from Romanticism--really a cheap way to evoke a sensation in the reader.  Write about the only two things that interest people--sex and death.

Perhaps. Perhaps also death simply makes a useful punctuation mark. I
suspect any writer interested in beginnings, endings, sources, renewals
is, almost willy-nilly, going to get a lot of death into her/his work.
Consider:

        Time is the evil.  Evil.
                                A day, and a day
        Walked the young Pedro baffled,
                                a day and a day
        After Ignez was murdered.

        Came the Lords in Lisbon
                                a day, and a day
        In homage.  Seated there
                                dead eyes,
        Dead hair under the crown,
        The King still young there beside her.
                (Canto 30)

Pound's poem would have been nearly impossible had someone used
"Renaissance" to name a historical period. (When did that word get
coined in this sense? The OED is no help, the earliest use it gives is
1845.) A poem about the birth and death and rebirth of civilizations.
How can it avoid returning to death? And _this_ death comes from the
Portuguese national epic -- i.e. from an ancestor -- honored dead -- to
be made new. The new epic incorporates and renews the old. Death and
Rebirth.

Birth and copulation and death. How can one focus on any of the three
(or on renewal and decay) without the other two appearing?

        Happy who are remembered in my pamphlets,
            the songs shall be a fine tomb-stone over their
                beauty.
                But against this?
        Neither expensive pyramids scraping the stars in
            their route,
        Nor houses modelled upon that of Jove in East Eblis,
        Nor the monumental effigies of Mausolus,
                        are a complete elucidation of death.
                (Homage to Sextus Propertius II)

How can any successor to Horace mention _ars_ without _mors_? It just
pops up all over the place.

Carrol