Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The friends of Arnold Schnabel: Gordon Scott and Steve Reeves in “Duel of the Titans”

From the "Olney Times", June 1, 1963. Arnold Schnabel's mental state as limned in this poem might reflect his decision to discontinue taking his prescribed "little capsules". Republished thanks to the generosity of the Arnold Schnabel Society.

(The last line of this masterful sonnet refers to a then-popular, now obscure, series of books by the Italian author Giovanni Guareschi about a hot-tempered priest and his nemesis Peppone, the Communist mayor of their village in the Po Valley.)

"Leave of Absence"

As I seem to have taken leave of my senses
I have been given a leave of absence;
Thus beneath this sky the color of absinthe
Clouded with drops of present perfect tenses,
Through tilting streets I wend invariably
To the Fern Rock Theatre (a Steve Reeves matinée),
Then the Three Babes diner, "Onion Soupe Gratinée",
And finally to the vaulted cool Olney Branch Library;
Here at last I lose my mind in the stacks,
And sway within myself like an innocent willow;
All these words and lives arrayed on racks,
I lay myself in them as if on bed and pillow:
I study the sleeves, their fronts and backs:
I shall sit at a table and read Don Camillo.

(Give yourself a break today and check the right hand column of this page, where you will find links to many other fine poems from Arnold Schnabel as well as to his vast and vastly amusing memoir,
Railroad Train to Heaven.)


Anonymous said...

Might the reference to the Don Camillo stories and their decades-long saga of the struggles between the priest and the Communist not be a symbol of the struggle ongoing in the soul of the poet -- between piety and concupiscence, between the sacred and the profane, between the sane and the insane? But which is more insane; Roman Catholicism or Dialectical Materialism

Anonymous said...

Lighten up, Francis.