Friday, April 24, 2009


We realize it’s been some good little time since we last published an Arnold Schnabel poem, and, so, bowing to public pressure, we give you this classic sonnet, originally published in the Olney Times for Dec. 7, 1962, a mere month or so before Arnold’s complete mental breakdown and subsequent hospitalization at the Pennsylvania State Mental Hospital at Byberry.

“Ushers' Communion Breakfast”

Today we had our communion breakfast,
All the ushers and their wives, or friends,
Or, in my case and that of some others
Who have neither wives nor friends, our mothers;
Afterwards, it’s once a year, so, reckless,
Our merry crew marches down Fifth, descends
On the Green Parrot and orders all ‘round
Cold pitchers of Schmidt’s and shots of Schenley’s,
Also some Manhattans for the ladies;
We stand at the bar and listen to the sound
Of our voices for once not hushed and grey,
As an usher’s should be, but loud and gay;
Drunkenly we tell each other bold lies;
Several of us even loosen our ties.

(Kindly look to the right hand side of this page for links to other fine Arnold Schnabel poems, as well as to the many dozens of installments of his immortal memoir, Railroad Train to Heaven™. All rights reserved, the Arnold Schnabel Society of Philadelphia. Nihil Obstat, Msgr. James “Jim” Kirk, SJ.)


Maya Gallo said...

You don't want to be around ushers when they're partying, that could be brutal.

A poem reminiscent of the great Dennis Finch.

Unknown said...

I like to think that Arnold is having as much fun as I am reading his incredible account of all that follows Byberry.
"Communion" shows how much he's changed. Or maybe his life just changed. Even here he's making the best of things. Still, that last line gives him away.

Unknown said...

I need a dose of Arnold straight up now and then.

Dan Leo said...

Thanks for the comments, guys. I always get a kick out of it when a new old Arnold poem appears.

Anonymous said...

Good one, Arnold, especially liked the line:
"Or, in my case and that of some others" and the rythym of breakfast/reckless/friends/descends