Sunday, November 15, 2009

Before the Storm

[Vor dem Sturm (1878)]

Vor dem Sturm
by Theodor Fontane
“The German War and Peace"
I picked it up in Edinburgh
& was immediately

the heroine seemed real
Renate von Vitzewitz
stagey action
like real life
her tragic early death
a psychic blow

[Theodor Fontane (1819-1898)]

The Pioneers
by James Fenimore Cooper
I had a plan to read them all
The Leatherstocking Novels
dutifully ploughed through
the first few
but this one

[The Pioneers (1823)]

The drifting snow
of its opening pages
the meeting on the road
the little town
in the Big Woods
It all seemed true
or if not true

[James Fenimore Cooper (1789-1851)]

infinitely desirable
but why?
Then John Meade Falkner,
The Nebuly Coat
not one of his
most celebrated works

The Lost Stradivarius
but this one had
the atmosphere
of strange but vital friendships
formed in musty towns
deep conversations
a world one longed to enter

Three times it's happened
– 3 obscure books –
I've never dared reread them
Would it happen again?
Do I want it to?
I wonder
It was comforting, entrancing, mystical

like waking on your own
in the blue room

[John Meade Falkner (1858-1932)]

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