Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Arnold sings the body electric

Our recent publication of Arnold Schnabel’s poem “Cuban Missile Crisis” generated such a wave of appreciative e-mails that we have decided to bow to popular request and broadcast another of his fine pre-breakdown poems, only recently unearthed from the Schnabel Archive in the basement of the Oak Lane Library of Philadelphia PA.


(This sonnet originally appeared in the Olney Times of August 19, 1962, and is presented thanks to the kind permission of the ladies and gentlemen of the Arnold Schnabel Society, all rights reserved. Nihil obstat, His Reverence John J. "Jack" Graham, SJ.)


“St. Helena’s Parish Carnival, 1962”


I wander through the carnival, but why
I don’t know. I don’t gamble, and I don’t
Shoot guns, I don’t do much in life, and I
Generally prefer to say “I won’t”
To “I will”; but this evening an odd thing
Happens, I suddenly feel the thick rind
Of myself melt into this air ringing
With shouts and with laughter, and then, my mind
Replaced with popcorn and cotton candy,
My soul spinning round like a carousel,
For an hour I forget to be me;
But then I awaken, and I come back
To this abundant and eternal lack.



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

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

"To this abundant and eternal lack."

Beautifully put...I'm with you, Arnold, I'm with you.

kathleenmaher said...

"...I suddenly feel the thick rind
Of myself melt into this air ringing
With shouts and with laughter..."


Sheerest beauty!

Manny said...

You've tapped into a gold mine, Dan. Keep 'em coming.
(love the videos too)

Dan Leo said...

Thanks, guys, and don't worry, there's plenty more Schnabeliana down there in the Oak Lane Library basement.

Jennifer said...

For an hour I forget to be me;
But then I awaken, and I come back
To this abundant and eternal lack.


Be happy, Arnold!!