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

Friday, March 5, 2010

Poem of the Day: George Herbert

The Collar 

     I struck the board and cried, "No more; 
                I will abroad!
     What? shall I ever sigh and pine? 
My lines and life are free, free as the road, 
     Loose as the wind, as large as store. 
               Shall I be still in suit? 
     Have I no harvest but a thorn 
     To let me blood, and not restore 
What I have lost with cordial fruit? 
               Sure there was wine 
     Before my sighs did dry it; there was corn 
               Before my tears did drown it. 
     Is the year only lost to me? 
               Have I no bays to crown it, 
No flowers, no garlands gay? All blasted?
                   All wasted? 
     Not so, my heart; but there is fruit, 
               And thou hast hands.
     Recover all thy sigh-blown age 
On double pleasures: leave thy cold dispute
Of what is fit and not. Forsake thy cage,  
               Thy rope of sands, 
Which petty thoughts have made, and made to thee 
     Good cable, to enforce and draw, 
               And be thy law, 
     While thou didst wink and wouldst not see. 
               Away! take heed; 
               I will abroad. 
Call in thy death's-head there; tie up thy fears. 
               He that forbears 
     To suit and serve his need, 
               Deserves his load."
But as I raved and grew more fierce and wild 
               At every word, 
Methought I heard one calling, Child!
               And I replied, My Lord.
--George Herbert

Say this about the "metaphysical poets": They, and especially Herbert, were skillful dramatists, who knew how to use meter, and even the spacing of lines on a page, to create tension, to evoke spiritual struggle. Wrangling his way toward self-discipline and the solace of commitment, Herbert twists and turns his words and images until the final quatrain eases into comfort.