Youmans (pronounced like 'yeoman' with an 's' added) is the best-kept secret
among contemporary American writers. --John Wilson, editor, Books and Culture Marly Youmans is a novelist and poet out of sync with the times
but in tune with the ages. --First Things

Monday, December 01, 2014

"More Light! More Light!"

St. Louis with scepter
and crown of thorns
Eight hundred years ago this year, St. Louis a.k.a. Louis IX was born. Surely his dust is spinning in the grave, and surely his devout mother, Blanche of Castile, has averted her face from the city of his name, wounded by the endless complications and after-shocks of our inhumanity to one another...

Somehow I think of Anthony Hecht's powerful "More Light! More Light!" with the death of Latimer (or Ridley, or someone like them) juxtaposed to the two Jews and the Pole and the lawless soldier with his L├╝ger at the edge of a German wood. Perhaps today Anthony Hecht would have told some two-stranded story in bullets and hammers, and Goethe's dying words would still be a proper title.

Mine is not a blog meant for politics, nor do I feel that writers have more rights to speak than any others. Certainly I do not feel than I have more right to speak about the events of these days than anyone on the face of the planet. All I say is that tonight I cannot get that poem out of my head. And I will think on that simple, difficult thing: "Let us love one another."

2 comments:

  1. There is an argument that everything is political -- not in the sense of Republican or Democrat or any other faction but in the sense of human nature and the inevitable exercise of or submission to power. So, why should you be reluctant to comment upon politics within that definition. Indeed, writers have a responsibility to do so.

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    Replies
    1. I am profoundly allergic to self-righteousness, and I dislike the sort of self-advertisement that comes so often with writers' pronouncements. That said, there are more subtle ways to clarify what you think. As above.

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Alas, I must once again remind large numbers of Chinese salesmen and other worldwide peddlers that if they fall into the Gulf of Spam, they will be eaten by roaming Balrogs. The rest of you, lovers of grace, poetry, and horses (nod to Yeats--you do not have to be fond of horses), feel free to leave fascinating missives and curious arguments.