Saturday, June 2, 2007

Arnold Schnabel, still on vacation

Most people can just take a moonlight walk along the beach and let it go at that. Arnold Schnabel was not most people. Originally published in the June 8, 1963 issue of the “Olney Times”. (Re-transmitted through the cold dark reaches of interstellar space by the permission of the Arnold Schnabel Society.)

“Striding Forth to Cape May Point”

I walk alone along the beach at night,
The curving long beach with no one about,
Only the sea rolling up with flashes of white
Then tossing itself forth with a sudden shout
As I trudge dutifully along through the sand;
And then, something I’d not foreseen at all:
With each sinking step I feel my head expand
And soon my brain is the size of a beach ball;
Will it continue to grow until it contains
All the sea, and the land, and the people on it?
All their nights and days, pleasures and pains,
All of heaven, all of hell, and one bad sonnet?
But no, like a beach ball with a slow leak
My head now shrinks, with a shrill hissing squeak.

(For links to other Arnold Schnabel poems and to his sprawling memoir Railroad Train to Heaven, kindly check the right hand column of this page.)


Anonymous said...

This was always one of my favorite Schnabel pieces,so expansive yet contained, erudite yet accessible.

Dan Leo said...

I agree. He was definitely on a roll at this point in his career.