A movie log formerly known as Bookishness / By Charles Matthews

"Dazzled by so many and such marvelous inventions, the people of Macondo ... became indignant over the living images that the prosperous merchant Bruno Crespi projected in the theater with the lion-head ticket windows, for a character who had died and was buried in one film and for whose misfortune tears had been shed would reappear alive and transformed into an Arab in the next one. The audience, who had paid two cents apiece to share the difficulties of the actors, would not tolerate that outlandish fraud and they broke up the seats. The mayor, at the urging of Bruno Crespi, explained in a proclamation that the cinema was a machine of illusions that did not merit the emotional outbursts of the audience. With that discouraging explanation many ... decided not to return to the movies, considering that they already had too many troubles of their own to weep over the acted-out misfortunes of imaginary beings."
--Gabriel García Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Poem of the Day: Herman Melville

Shiloh
A Requiem (April 1862)

Skimming lightly, wheeling still,
     The swallows fly low
Over the field in clouded days,
     The forest-field of Shiloh --
Over the field where April rain
Solaced the parched one stretched in pain
Through the pause of night
That followed the Sunday fight
     Around the church of Shiloh --
The church so lone, the log-built one,
That echoed to many a parting groan
          And natural prayer
      Of dying foemen mingled there --
Foemen at morn, but friends at eve --
     Fame or country least their care:
(What like a bullet can undeceive!)
     But now they lie low,
While over them the swallows skim,
     And all is hushed at Shiloh.
--Herman Melville

Amid the historical and moral stupidity of politicians proclaiming Confederate History Month, it's good to turn to poets like Melville for sanity and truth.

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