Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Arnold Schnabel delves into new territory

The Olney Times had been printing a poem a week by Arnold Schnabel for twenty-five years by the time this stunning sonnet appeared in the issue for August 31, 1963, and in all that time Arnold had never before published a poem that could conceivably be called a love poem.

Better late than never.

This poem can safely be assumed to address his new (and apparently first) inamorata, the Bohemian jeweler Elektra.

(Available for download as read by the noted actor and Schnabelian, Mr. Brad Pitt; all proceeds to go to the Arnold Schnabel Society, in aid of their continued work in the collection and preservation of the Arnold Schnabel Archives.)


You Asked For It

You asked me to write you a poem; oh
Well, luckily for me you didn’t say
That it had to be a good one, and so
I’ll mention your eyes, not as bright as day
Nor dark as the night, nor deep as the sea,
But deep and dark and bright enough for me
To swim in, to dream in, and to live in;
And then your skin, and what it has given
To someone who once wished to leave his own;
And your laughter that awakened the clown
Inside a scarecrow made of flesh and bone,
So that he sits now putting these words down
On paper: a trite, embarrassing mess,
But perhaps not entirely meaningless.



(Kindly turn to the right hand side of this page for links to many other classic poems by Arnold Schnabel as well as to our ongoing serialization of his sprawling memoir Railroad Train to Heaven.)

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

absolutely beautiful

kathleenmaher said...

Arnold seems to be out-doing himself all the time. "You Asked For It" is flawless and transcendent.

And like Art Pepper, who famously upon writing the song "Diane" for his wife declared it was much too beautiful for her, I have to wonder if Elektra deserves such an homage.

Dan Leo said...

Ah, sure Elektra deserves the homage! And from what I've read about what a screw-up Art Pepper was, his wife more than deserved that song. Oh, but could he play that saxophone!

Funny you should mention Art. He did the music for one of Larry Winchester's most bizarre movies, "The Vacant City":

http://danleo.blogspot.com/2007/04/vacant-city.html

I've been looking for that soundtrack for years now, so if anyone turns it up in a garage sale please let me know.

Anonymous said...

a monster poem on any level

Anonymous said...

or i should have said, on "every" level

Dan Leo said...

I'm sure that Arnold's spirit thanks you for the appreciation, dear Anon.

red leadbetter said...

Arnold delves into new territory?

How disappointing, I thought this going to be a bit racier.

How prurient of me. Get the boot Father Fahey.

Dan Leo said...

Maybe we'll turn up some racier fare in the future, Red, although I'd be mildly surprised if anything too ribald would make it past the editorial eye of Silas Willingham III onto the pages of the family-oriented "Olney Times". Mildly surprised but not completely surprised, as it does seem that at least occasionally Willingham ran Arnold's weekly poem without first bothering to read it.

Also, who knows what might turn up in the piles of Arnold's unpublished papers which still remain to be studied and pondered.

Jennifer said...

Go, Arnold!!!