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Insights is edited and published by the students of the
Centenary College chapter of Sigma Tau Delta, national
writing fraternity. Manuscripts may be submitted by any
student or faculty member on campus. Single copies 75c.
CONTENTS . . .
KAREN B. fiser 5 Morning Glory
BLISS Holland 7 Is When
Marshall oglesby 8 Memory Gown
GEORGE gibbens, in 9 A House, sketch
JAMES M. shea, jr. 10 Book Review, Honest to God
JUDY EMERSON 13 Village
lyn Taylor 14 Image / Sunset Communion
REBECCA HAMPTON 15 At the age of one and twenty
STEVE Clinton 16 My Garden
Allen jones 16 A Fool's Prayer
GEORGE gibbens, hi 17 Trees
RICHARD CRISTOFOLETTI 18 Music in the style of La Vida Es
RAMONA STEPHENS 19 Poem
GEORGE gibbens, ill 20 Face, a sketch
KAREN B. fiser 21 Earnest Exercise XIV
ALLEN SCHAFFER 22 Sketch
Karen B. Fiser, an editor of Insights and the Conglomerate, is a
junior English major.
Bliss Holland is a freshman English major from New York City.
This is her first contribution to Insights.
MARSHALL Oglesby, a Centenary alumni, is now studying at the
Dallas Theater Center for his master's degree.
GEORGE GiBBENS, a special student in the Centenary drama depart-
ment, designed the Insights, 1965 cover and contributed four sketches
in this issue including the illustration of Morning Glory, page 4.
JAMES M. Shea, Jr., member of the Centenary faculty, is a Woodrow
Wilson intern. He has been active in student government and aca-
demic affairs, and has instigated campus discussion groups this year.
/udy Emerson is a junior art major whose work has not appeared in
Lynn Taylor submitted fiction to the Southern Literary Festival
ast spring. She has had peotry and fiction published in Insights for
he past three years.
Becky Hampton is a junior English Major from Tennessee. She
las also studied drama and has appeared in several campus productions.
>teve Clinton, a foreign languages major and ex-editor of Insights,
las had work published in Rectangle.
*\LLEN Jones, a sophomore history major, has not been published in
Iichard Cristofoletti, recently named a Fulbright Fellow, will
;tudy Spanish literature next year in Madrid.
3amona Stephens, junior English major from Bossier City, has not
)een published before.
Karen B. Fiser
Sing me a sleep song, please.
A real hurt is soft.
— Theodore Roethke
My mother's face is kind and angry and I am afraid of her. My
father is big and he laughs. When I put on his shoes I cannot move
"Are you going to tell me, Carson? Are you going to tell me?"
[ am locked in my room and it is getting dark. I am crying so quiet
that she cannot hear me. Didn't do it. Didn't. Why do you ask me?
[ am quiet now and it is dark. They are talking in the living room.
"Margaret, she's only five years old. Only five ... I don't under-
stand why . . ." Can't hear. What? Five. I know that. Hold up five.
I can hear her in the kitchen. Didn't.
Mother shouts at Gram. They shout. Mother says Gram hates
her. Hates. Gram cries. She is old and tells me she is sorry. The
mirrot hurt when she threw it at me. My eye hurt when it hit.
Did not mean to Mama says. Gram cries and touches my hair.
Mama don't cry don't cry. We don't have to go now, Gram said. We
don't have to leave Gram. She doesn't want us to. Mama don't.
Didn't do it. Didn't.
Are you going to tell me? Are you going to?
I am looking for the words. What is it? Mama I am Carson
Mama look I am Carson.
I am lying in the dark. No one else is in bed but me. They
leave the door open a little. It makes a thin light on my covers.
James James Morrison Morrison Weatherbee George Deupree. Said
James Morrison Morrison Mother he said said he ... . Mrs.
Parker has morning glories. They close all up sometimes. Touch
them. When they fold up they look like little white moths. When
they fold up their wings.
They put the little boy's coat on top of the backstop and he
cried. A big boy climbed up with it and sat on top of the backstop.
Tiger Lily, he yelled. Yaaahhh Tiger Lily. The other boys laughed
Fatty Fatty Two by Four Can't Get Through The Bathroom Door. I
was angry and I wanted to climb up and get his coat. He was crying.
I am little, too.
I caught two dragonflies. Do dragonflies bite? Timmy said.
Do they? Dragonflies are pretty and I catch them in my jar. Mayon-
naise was in it. Seven holes in the top. So they can breathe. Timmy
put them in. I have two dragonflies in my jar. Blue and green.
The crickets make noise outside. How do crickets make noise?
I saw a cricket. It was little. With their wings, Daddy said. If I
had wings could I make that much noise? I am bigger than a cricket.
Could I make noise? They are talking in the living room. The light
makes a line on my covers. Angels have wings. I saw it in my book.
Angels must make noise, too. I never hear them. Maybe I'm asleep
when they do.
She comes to sit on my bed. She smoothes my hair with cool
hands. My tears are not hot any more.
"That's all right, Carson. I'm sorry. Don't cry. Mama won't get
angry again. I just thought you had done something with that little
boy. Don't look at me like that. And don't cry. Don't cry."
Mama. Mama. Smile at me.
A sad is you want somebody so badly
That you ache and pain is
Inside to be as
But then nothing is to run in front of.
You there so you pretend that it Really
doesn't matter and yet it does.
A sad is snow turns rain After you wanted
a drop flake to send to. And even
the trees are the same so you wonder
about god and whether he
Knows colors and himself and
A happy is an infinite nothing
that reminds you of a sad
Because it's always right there
It's when you want to die so hard and you
think that if someone will care for just one
Instant it will be all right. Butsomehowitisn't
that you wait,
a lovely is hearing the footsteps that
Forget to seem — familiar and passby
then — Squeaking and fastly.
a hurt is when you realize
Who you are and then Where a
A sad is being to become a
Was — already buried
Helen took to screaming one midnight
So strangers strapped my sister in a straight-jacket
As she kicked and squealed and Mother smiling
Stood by with her arms folded nodding
Sympathy and I leaned against the staircase
And watched Helen clutch the door facing
While Father sat at the kitchen table
With an arm bracing a bowed head
And made occasional sighs which I thought
Meant tears but really were sniffs prompted
By a cold he got from baptizing in icy waters
Several consecutive Sunday nights. And so
Helen now has a place of calm complacency
And she smiles simply much like Mother did
The night I leaned against the staircase
And strangers took Helen from the house
Strapped in a straight-jacket.
So Helen's room was stripped bare
So only the walls and floor were there.
Then Mother took hot water and scrubbed every place
She feared my sister Helen might have touched
And she ripped from Helen's closet a gown she'd left behind
A gown of memory and soft lace
And flung it toward the door
Where I sat crouched with my legs folded
Somewhat like Mother folded her arms
When I leaned against the staircase
And Helen . . . Never you mind Mother shouted
Go away Don't bother Don't bother
And I slipped the gown of memory and soft lace over my head
And turned around and around and around
Until the dress wide in a circle raised above my waist
An circling until I was circus dizzy
I fell on the ground or rather rug
For the hall was covered in bad taste
And I cocked my neck mangled my mouth
And bayed and bayed and bayed till
Mother caught me by the skirt
Of my gown of memory and lace
And twirled me down the staircase
Where I laughed with a broken leg
And I leaned on the staircase and bellowed
At my Mother as she shredded the gown
The gown of memory and lace on the staircase
Where I leaned as Helen clutched the door facing. . .
• r -\
A BOOK REVIEW
Honest TO God, by John A. T. Robinson, Bishop of Woolwich,
The Westminster Press, Philadelphia, 1963. Paper, 141 pages,
James AA. Shea., Jr.
Bishop Robinson's book has raised considerable stir, and therein
lies its chief merit. It has taken recent theological controversies out
of the seminaries and universities and placed them before the reading
Christian public. It is ironic, then, that one consequence of the main
thesis of the book is that the concept of God is superfluous (although
the good bishop tries desperately to talk this consequence out of ex-
Robinson's chief task is to steer a course between (a) accounting
for God as a being, and (b) rejecting altogether the concept of God
in favor of a Christian humanism, a morality centered around love
as exemplified in the life of Jesus. Robinson intends to achieve this
by advancing 'the' view that God is "the ground of our being,"
"ultimate reality," "the depth of existence," "love/ "transcend-
ence." (Tactitly assumed throughout the book are (i) that each of
these expressions has a perfectly clear, and perhaps familiar, meaning,
and (ii) that all of them mean about the same thing. Both assump-
tions strike me as astounding.)
There seem to be two reasons why Robinson attacks the notion
that God is a being. First, he thinks that although many people still
find no difficulty in believing that there is a God "out there" (i.e. in
believing that there is a God "in some way 'beyond' outer space"
(p. 13)), the notion of God as a being is becoming a pedagogical
embarrassment, "more of a hindrance than a help" (p. 16); it is
beginning to fail to "speak to us," Unless we reject it, the Christian
faith "will come to be abandoned" (p.123). One can understand a
bishop's concern for such matteis. But there is a deeper difficulty
here than one of selecting an effective heuristic device, and it is this:
Is the notion of God as a being a tenable notion? Robinson, following
Tillich, thinks that it is untenable. He thinks that the notion of God
as a being represents a different understanding of God than the notion
of God he advances (p. 48). If it is true, he says, that God is the
ground of our being, or love.
"... then theological statements are not a description of
'the highest Being' but an analysis of the depths of person-
al relationships. ... A statement is 'theological' not because
it related to a particular Being called 'God,' but because it
asks ultimate questions about the meaning of existence . . ."
Facing up to the fact that the proposition that God is a being is
inconsistent with the proposition that God is not a being, Robinson
maintains that the latter is true, and therefore that a correct understand-
ing of God consists in an explication of the proposition that God is
not a being (if especially p. 29; also pp. 22, 24, 43-44, 55, 105, 126).
An obvious consequence of this position is that God cannot be correctly
understood as a being, i.e. that the notion of God as a being is a false
Robinson is aware that a serious difficulty confronts his view:
"The question inevitably arises, if theology is translated
into anthropology, why do we any longer need the category
of God? Is it not 'semantically superfluous? Is not the
result of destroying 'supernaturalism' simply to end up with
naturalism, as the atheists asserted?" (p. 51)
Robinson attempts this sort of answer:
"Statements about God are acknowledgements of the
transcendent, unconditional element in all our relationships,
and supremely in our relationships with other persons.
Theological statements are indeed affirmations about hu-
man existence — but they are affirmations about the ulti-
mate ground and depth of that existence." (p. 52).
However, this sort of claim does not suffice to show that
Robinson's view is not a form of humanism in which the notion of
God, and the practices of worship and prayer, are pointless, super-
fluous, mere trappings maintained out of respect for past ages in
which good men were confused about God. To begin with, the bishop
never takes the trouble to tell us what he means by saying that God
is ultimate reality, i.e. the ground of our being, i.e. love, i.e. depth,
etc. We may speculate that he means one or more of the following:
(i) that the essence of man is to love; (ii) that the most meaningful
aspect of human existence is that which is expressed in love relation-
ships; (iii) that the best condition of a man is to be involved in a
love relationship; (iv) that in a love relationship, a man transcends
his individuality and takes on symbolic significance; (v) that love
§; relationships are the condition of our continued existence as human
beings; (vi) that in a love relationship, one glimpses or is attuned
to, the essence of the universe as a whole. I do not want to suggest
that all of the above are clear as they should be, nor that those that
are fairly clear are true. I only wish to point out that unless Robin-
son means something like (vi) by his account of God as 'ultimate
reality,' love, depth, etc., three is no reason to suppose that his view
is anything other than a form of humanism. For according to (i)-(v),
theological statements are (merely) statements about aspects of
human nature and human relationships; talk about God is (merely)
metaphorical talk about what human beings do and say and are, and
about what they mean to each other. And given the history of the
term 'God' and its psychological significance for many people, the
metaphor is so misleading that it would seem wise to drop it al-
together, in order to keep our eyes aimed in the right direction: at
ourselves, at our humanity.
The only 'out' for Robinson here is to claim to be meaning
something like (vi), that 'God is ultimate reality' is not merely a
proposition about human nature, but about the nature of the universe
in general. But this is hardly an out. (I only mention it because
Robinson advocates it on p. 128.) For, are we to suppose that the
life of Jesus gives us insight into "all nature and all reality"? How,
and in what regard? Are we to suppose that a study of the nature
of physical or biological processes? In an attempt to avoid the human-
ism which is the logical upshot of his view regarding the nature of
God, Robinson falls victim to the time-worn temptation to utter
patent nonsense with an air of mystical profundity.
Close critical attention should be paid to Robinson's book in
connection with several questions which I have not discussed. (1)
How sound is his interpretation of Christ, and his view of its rele-
vance to the church as an institution? (2) Does he offer good
arguments against the notion that God is a being? (3) How sound
or significant is his humanism? The first question is surely a matter
for biblical scholars, and I will not guess at their answer. But I can-
not imagine that a philosopher's answers to (2) and (3) would be
favorable to Bishop Robinson.
Starlight- twinkling on a clover leaf at dawn:
Love-betraying teardrop of a secret sorrow
over Night's departure.
Blue evening bends to kiss
A dying yet defiant day —
They share one blazing, brief embrace
Before the day sinks silent
In a grave of earth;
Then evening, unillumined,
Turns to night.
At the Age of One And Twenty
At the age of one and twenty
The mind doubts, seeks,
Looks for itself, picks its way
Through the rubble of a world
It has just exploded.
At the age of two and twenty
All is much the same.
Whether the mind finds
Itself, or what it finds,
Depends upon just this:
The religion of the search.
At the age of one and twenty
The mind doubts.
At the age of one and twenty score
The mind still doubts, but
STEPHEN T. CLINTON
Because my garden grows no rose
I must caress you my dear.
When I wake to the morning sun
I touch my mouth to yours.
No dew-drenched petal is waiting
to moisten my lips.
When I want softness
I must stroke your neck with my cheek
Because my garden grows no rose.
ALLEN R. JONES
A Fool's Prayer
Golden Mistress of the night
Gaze into my love's own sight
And show to her the love I bear
In my heart which would calm her every care
This alone is all I dare
To ask, grant to me this fool's prayer.
MUSIC IN THE STYLE OF LA VIDA ES SUENO
Calderon de la Barca's La Vida Es Sueno is one of the greatest
philosophical dramas in Spanish and a masterpiece of the Spanish
Golden Age. Like most great works La Vida Es Sueno offers an
almost limitless range of possibilities for thought. This paper intends
to look at the music in the art of Calderon in this great drama.
The play La Vida possesses many similarities with the barroque
music of the day. The barroque composer was a religious man
inspired by the word of God, or like a loyal subject he exhaulted his
king, as did Calderon. Many of the long, musical lyrical monologues
would make fine arias. In barroque music there is terraced dynamics;
there is not a continuous change. The contrast is between the loud
and the soft sounds separated, not in a crescendo from one to the
other. This is true in La Vida Es Sueno. The moods are contrasted
distinctly, one from the other; there is no crescendo and decrescendo
as in the romantic works. The barroque melody moves by a process
of spontaneous generation pursuing its inevitable end while the
motives and figures become embellished in new patterns. The
melody is always becoming and when its energy is exhausted the
melody stops. In La Vida Es Sueno the themes of Segismundo and
Rosaura appear at the beginning of the drama, develop, flower, and
terminate at the end of the drama.
Barroque music contains a perfect mixture of polyphonic or
horizontal music with homophonic, or vertical music. In La Vida
Es Sueno the two themes of Segismundo and Rosaura are accompanied
by the principal chords and their appropriate motifs: I, the tonic chord
3r religion; V, the dominant chord or honor; and IV, the subdominant
:hord of the monarchy. A composition may commonly terminate
with the chord resolution IV, V, or I; or in the drama the monarchy,
honor, and religion. Segismundo becomes the king; he demands the
necessary weddings to uphold the important pundonor of that period; §
he asks pardon for his previous bad conduct in a state of Christian
humility. Such things as love, justice, reason, and the various other
motives are variations of the main chords in their major minor,
diminished and augmented forms with inversions. Similar to the
barroque music, the drama's harmony directs the counterpoint and
the counterpoint elevates the harmony. The logic which governs
this type of music is perhaps a reflection of the logic in the barroque
music-like a Bach fugee, for example.
It would seem that music had its effect over Calderon. He was
a music lover and composed works which approached the realm of
music. In any case, the art of Calderon in La Vida Es Sueno contains
many striking parallels to the barroque music of that period.
When you have a rude reversal
And you feel a death inside,
Does the hurt part make recovery
Though the damage gape so wide?
There have been so many moments
When my heart sang high and clear
Then, a sudden shaking stopped it,
And it shrank with pangs of fear.
Surely shrinking plus the shivering
Caused a bit of me to die,
But it may have only stunned the part
Til sadness passed on by.
If some piece does die with sorrows
Leaving parts unsound, unwhole,
Should we keep on striving onward?
Does less matter make more soul?
CAREN B. FISER
Earnest Exercise XIV
Oh I must gently reach and touch them all,
The young ones lost in aching disbelief.
How can I quiet the urgings of this small
Dumb grief at their lost terror, find relief
For this dark wonder? I am so afraid.
I fear that I shall be alone, shall fall.
The distant, silent loves alone have stayed.
Alone I think of days of love and light,
And fear the awkward visions I have made.
My life is spent in praying for their sight.
My love has been a laying on of hands,
A clumsy benediction in the night.
The terror in each helpless face commands
My homage in a thousand thankless lands.
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Poems by Jack Gilbert
4, 24, 30
Dr. Shirley Callen
Mr. Thomas McNair
INSIGHTS • MAY 1966 • VOLUME 4 • NUMBER 1
Published annually in limited edition by Kappa Epsilon Chapter of Sigma
Tau Delta with offices at Centenary College, P. O. Box 4188, Centenary
Station, Shreveport, Louisiana. Single Copy: $.50. All rights reserved.
Copyright pending 1966 by Insights. Manuscripts must be accompanied by
a stamped, self- addressed envelope. "The Abnormal is Not Courage" and
"Don Giovanni on his Way to Hell (II)" under copyright 1962 by THE
CHRYSALIS WEST FOUNDATION. Photo of Jack Gilbert courtesy of
Typography by Bains Press • Cover by Patric Evving
Insights 1966 was planned and executed as a literary experiment in learning
— for its staff, its contributors, and hopefully, for its readers . As a learning pro-
cess its aim is neither to be professional, nor to be a showcase for a few English
majors. Its aim, rather, has been the inclusion of representative literary expres-
sions of varied form and content, in order to stimulate literary interest of a large
number of students in different fields of study. The variations in poetic styles
alone within the magazine exemplify the felt need for a magazine which acknow-
As editors, we selected and organized manuscripts with these two goals for
the magazine in mind: that it be an experiment in learning, and that it be in-
clusive. We believe that there is more writing talent on the Centenary campus
than has been recognized thus far, and that there is much potential interest in
literary expression. One indication of this interest was the student response to
Forums speaker Jack Gilbert, whose prize-winning poems are included in this
We have aimed, then, at providing an outlet for writers still in the process
of maturing — intellectually and artistically- — and at publishing a book also worthy
of the interest of students who are not engaged in creative writing. It is an im-
portant function for the small liberal arts college to provide a meeting ground
for the scientist and the poet, the historian and the philosopher, and we feel that
written expression in a college magazine is one way ro provide that meeting
The editing of the magazine this year was unhindered by two sources of
tension recurrent in former publications: the problems of money and manu-
scripts. The provision of manuscripts was aided in several ways — by a literary
competition on campus sponsored by the English Department, by the helpful
efforts of members of the English faculty to secure student submissions, and by
the willingness of interested students to submit their creative writings. Thus, the
38 pages of Insights axe the selective choice from over 200 pages of submitted
manuscript. The magazine owes its existence also to the provision of financial
aid from Centenary College through the efforts of Dean Bond Fleming and Mr.
Frank Austin, and from voluntary contributions by Kappa Alpha fraternity,
Associated Women Students, and Zeta Tau Alpha sorority ; by these contributions
Insights was freed of the many restrictions which come with limited funds.
To Dr. Shirley Callen we give our special appreciation for her suggestions
in matters ranging from editorial policy to size of type-set, and we acknowledge
the bolstered confidence we gained from her manifest conviction in the merit of
We hope that the 1966 Insights experiment will not be a short-lived inno-
vation. We have sought to establish a better organization and a guideline for
future issues with the publishing of this book. If Centenary College continues
its much-needed support of the magazine, Insights will be of permanent benefit
to an increasing number of students.
t- j >
TO SELL A SOUL
The idea came to me while reading Faust. It all seemed so plausible. In my
position I have to cling to the slightest hope of escape. For thirty-five years, I've
devoted my spare time to reading books about the devil. I'm a shoe salesman
by profession, and reading the occult has injected a vicarious excitement into my
otherwise drab existence. Today, I feel ready to make the devil an offer. Noth-
ing fancy, just the usual soul-for-adventure-and-riches deal that has become quite
commonplace. I imagine the devil will be bored and businesslike with the trans-
action. My problem is where the devil would be on a Wednesday night. I closed
my eyes and tried to muster the various signs and incantations for calling the
devil that I'd encountered in my reading. My excitement only served to blur my
poor memory. I put on my coat and left the apartment.
I wished it was Saturday night. It would be easier to run into him on his
busiest evening. I turned right on Main Street and began to devote my full
powers of concentration to my search. I passed a policeman and stopped abrupt-
ly. He was the right height, had a sanguine complexion, and I did believe his
ears were slightly pointed. I shook the thought from my mind.
I stopped to light my pipe in front of the courthouse. A black cat strolled
from under a car and sat down on the sidewalk in front of me. His icy stare
cut me in half. This was it. The cat devil brushed against my legs and beckoned
me with its tail to follow it into a bush on the courthouse lawn. On my hands
and knees I crawled to meet the demon.
"I've come to sell my soul," I said shakily.
The demon yawned, stretched and padded away. My heart stopped beating
wildly. It was only a cat.
The next three hours I spent wandering from bar to bar. I stopped in the
bus station, walked through the local college campus, and even climbed down to
the river bank. Despite my efforts, I hadn't stumbled across a single lead. Then
I saw him.
A shadowy figure lurked guiltily by the chapel pillar. This is the last place
I'd expect to find him.
"I have an offer to make," I said as I ran up the stairs.
"I know," the devil replied wearily, "you want to sell your soul for excite-
ment, riches, women, and all that jazz. Now don't get me wrong, I'd really like
to buy your soul but I can't. Nothing personal, you understand," he added sin-
I stood there shattered. My only hope to get into the jet set crumbled.
"May I ask why you can't buy my soul?"
The devil shifted his feet and replied, "Look, we run a very big and ex-
pensive operation down there. We have no room for soul offers in our budget
anymore. Our space and finances are limited. In fact we're turning my favorite
swamp into a brimstone pit. Everything is go, go, go. I'm out in this chapel be-
cause it's away from the rush, I get a chance to sit down, and besides, this is the
only place my two-way wrist radio doesn't work. To sum it up, I'm on a strict
budget, a tight schedule, my feet hurt, and I simply don't have room for you."
I felt genuinely sorry for the overworked king of the underworld. He sat
down on the steps and took off his shoes. The width of his feet was immense.
I estimated at least a triple E. Suddenly I remembered a box in the storeroom.
"Listen maybe I can help you out," I said. "In the shoe store next to the
bank we sell a Triple E shoe that is made for the busy man. It keeps a good
shine, stands up in any weather against any competitor's product, and looks
smart. It's styled to give wide feet that slim look."
The devil's eyes lit up.
"Really sounds exactly like what I've been looking for," the devil said smil-
ing. "It pays to look smart in my business."
"Stop by, we open at nine," I said.
"It's a deal," the devil said happily.
We shook hands and the deal was arranged.
(Ed. note: This short story won a first place in the Centenary literary contest.)
A game a silly game my love
Of play and run and sing
Of hide my love and seek my love
And what a crazy thing
Of come call here come ready now or not
But no stay safe stay back and hide
For now no chance to stay my love
Do run to home free all
In free are we to be so free
We wish we be in all
Free all we play and run and sing
'till night time fall a crazy thing
Of hide my seek my game of come
And hide and seek my love.
the importance of carrion
at the eastern sunset the iight renews.
a vulture fights a jackal
for the right to let a carcass rot,
and by rotting thus so disgust the rest
that they never die, but rot alive.
if this were possible, it would have happened before
and the fight would be all the stronger
for the vulture and the jackal would fight on different soil
neither wishing to let good food rot alive
when either could make a meal of it.
despite a less frequent western sunrise,
a vulture and a jackal can never fight allied
when neither lets the other eat.
one day the sun will rise at noon
and not set until its fury is spent
on the jackal and the vulture —
both rotting alive until death ceases their pleasure.
a fraudulent pathfinder
trips through the thorny row,
turning haphazardly toward all that glitters,
seeking nebulous roses.
almost aware he will never find them,
he trots along to save his time
turning less and seeking more.
his mind cannot control his feet;
his hands cannot grasp the roses
he imagines as he runs desperately
through the prickly maze
all the time becoming more lost;
all the time becoming more content
in his created belief in roses
that are not there.
requiem for glory
someone died in any old town
(with a life to live he lived it down)
hells bells gods squads
he had had not had naught
women weeped preachers leaped
all for naught had had not
lifes to live not to die
heaven is hell in the sky
to come to go come to go where
heaven hell hardly care
when you go you wont go there
when you come you hardly care
death is dead life is live
alive to live dead to die
in the ground (there is no sky)
wheres to go whats to do
live for death and die in life
preachers pray all for naught
men play no pipe a wife
when you come you hardly care
there is a here there is no there
spite preachers prayer and angels lair
when you go you wont go there
(Ed. note: Bart Kelly's three poems won a first prize in the Centenary literary contest.)
NO FANCIES: JUST GLASSIES
Children of poor families really had the world by the proverbial tail in the
days of my childhood. There was no money for fancy toys. Games were each
child's prerogative and were limited only by the individual's imagination. Preco-
cious brat that I was, my imagination provided a panoramic playground.
I could make life fit any whim of the moment. Grandma died when I was
five, but for years I brought her back whenever I needed comfort. If I got a
switching, I simply meted out what I considered sufficient punishment for my
mother and made her promise to be a little more lenient next time. Any other
mortal who made the mistake of getting in my way was speedily disintegrated.
So who needed a cave or a tree-house? I went everywhere. The sight of a
postage stamp from my soldier brother carried me directly over-seas and into the
front line of battle. And who was the hero of the hour? Modest though I was,
I had to acknowledge the roaring acclaim. I had wiped out an entire regiment of
the enemy; single handed, of course.
A glimpse of an out-of-state license plate and I was transported to a remark-
able theater for the world premier of a smashing new drama (written just for
me). I was given a standing ovation as I entered with some ravishing lady of
nobility on my arm, and afterward there was always a grand ball given in my
honor. Any playmates who had not proven their undying loyalty did not receive
an invitation to my parties. They had to stand outside and watch, unless it rained.
Once I was going someplace (nowhere in particular, just a place), and I
was to escort a little girl I didn't really like. I was rather glum about the whole
affair, but just then I got a phone call saying the little girl had given birth to
triplets and couldn't go out that night. The evening was a success because I took
the prettiest girl in school. . .the one who had never spoken to me because she
was too shy.
A sudden summer shower and our modest home became a gala cruise ship
caught in a violent storm at sea. There was a terrible midnight fire, and the
captain was stricken with a seizure. I volunteered to pilot us to safety. When the
passengers saw how adroitly I handled that hugh vessel, they relaxed with a glass
of lemonade from the bar and lauded my courage and versatility with continuous
toasts. On arrival in New York, they presented me with a scale model of the
ship and a lifetime supply of licorice sticks.
I remember one particular tea my sister and I gave for the children next
door. We insisted that we were not hungry and the guests were to eat all the
food. That party could have been the social success of the year ,but one of the
tattle-tale guests told his mother that the hors d'oeuvres were really biscuits
spread with chicken droppings. My sister suggested that we leave home before
mother found out, and I should have listened.
On occasion, when the going got too rough, I simply died and had an enor-
mous funeral service. Sometimes I had to lie in state for hours before the griev-
ing appeased me and I forgave the offender. My only consolation was the scent
of the flowers and the lovely organ music. I always wrote my own funeral music.
The taws and fancies of the poor little rich boys collected dust in a jeweled
showcase. We really rolled those glassies, us rich little poor boys.
STATUE OF LIBERTY AT DAWN
In my sleep the rats have come upon me
Have laid their tiny spurts of breath
Upon my face like sprinkling water hot and misting.
I have prayed they would not eat my eyes
Would not dig into my cheeks and through them
Through my clenched- jaw screaming
To devour my broken tongue.
I have not yet felt their teeth upon my teeth
Not faced them mouth to mouth
As lovers mouth to mouth will face each other.
Nor have I felt the prickles of their feet
The little burnings of their claws
Across my prostrate chest or face.
They have not touched my eyes.
They have not tried my tongue.
Sometimes in the night I am awake to think
That I have dreamed the dream again about the rats.
To think with an exhausted shudder
How the sweat so deep upon my face is like their breath.
And quietly, with hands so like a fluttering bird
I hold my breath and run them fast across myself
Caressing without noise my perfect marble frailty
To prove I cannot find a scar a scratch a print.
And the rats they say so soft I cannot hear
You have dreamed, O you have dreamed the rats again.
And yet all day I feel their feet
And hear 'the shambling of their claws upon my bones.
All day and everywhere I am afraid
Because I know they do not wish to eat my eyes
They do not wish to tear into my mouth
To shred my tongue inside my teeth.
They only wish to nest inside my throat.
To rattle up the winding narrow stairs
Inside my legs my groin my breasts
And hang their stickered feet out through my eyes
And shout and wave and have their picture made.
Radio Message at Three AM
Miss Jessica Baker
If you are listening
We have a letter for you
Dated December four
Nineteen twenty six.
Post office officials said
The letter was probably lost
When the office was moved
To its present location.
It was discovered only yesterday
Wedged behind the drawer of a desk
Which had been auctioned
To a local merchant.
If you can hear my voice tonight Miss Baker
Will you claim this letter
Because the address is now illegible
And no one here has heard of you
And the post office department wishes
After thirty-nine years
To make this delivery
And apologize to you.
The seal Miss Baker
Is still intact.
I try to watch you more than for a minute.
But when the dark comes up and settles on your throat
And you are pale and stern against it
I have to turn away:
There is no dawn to speak of.
THE FAITH OF SCIENCE AND THE
TECHNOLOGY OF RELIGION
In an age of invention and discovery new ideas are constantly presented by
progressive thinkers. Progress in any field requires openness to new theories, for
they are the substance of growth. Old concepts must continually be re-examined
in the light of the new, and the synthesis of the enduring qualities of the past
with the best of the present, we call progress. In the field of science, where the
total amount of knowledge is now doubling every seven years, there are few op-
ponents to these ideals of learning. But in the world of organized religion we
find the anachronism of an institution seeking to foist primitive concepts of God
and man onto a more and more unresponsive secular world.
Examination of new ideas does not imply aimless jumping from one pro-
posal to another just for the novelty, for this attitude is as undesirable as blindly
clinging to the old simply because it is well established. Absolute answers in any
area of knowledge are impossible, but even incomplete knowledge is useful, as
long as it is recognized as only part of the whole truth. The scientist may have
definite ideas concerning the laws of physics or chemistry, but the main distinc-
tion between the true scientist and the religious fundamentalist is that the scien-
tist openly admits that his understanding of truth is not ultimate. The scientific
revolution of our day, however, clearly demonstrates that an incomplete under-
standing of truth can be vigorous and relevant to our world. Science is not dis-
credited because it lacks complete understanding of all the laws of the universe.
On the contrary, if ever science does pretend to have reached ultimate and com-
plete truth, it will then cease to be true science at all and become merely a lifeless
and hypocritical diversion for intellectual laggards. Disappointingly, this is
exactly the role of much of organized religion in American life today.
The scientist who clings doggedly to the obsolete theory of the flatness of
the earth or of spontaneous generation of life from inanimate substance (like a
dead carcass) is a freak in the scientific world and is taken seriously by no one.
Yet in the area of religion we condone those fundamentalists who cling to con-
cepts of God and man that, in the light of new evidence and ideas, are equally
as outdated. Once the Bible is considered the absolute source of truth, the direct
"Word of God," and not the faltering attempt by men to express their exper-
iences in their search for truth, it ceases to have genuine religious value. Those
who sincerely believe that man's knowledge of God stopped abruptly in the
fourth century A. D., simply because the Roman Catholic Church declared that
no new material could be added to the canon, place themselves in a logically in-
defensible position. Fundamentalists who declare that the ideas of modern the-
ologians are false because they disagree with the Bible, traditional church dog-
mas, or precedent are demonstrating their ignorance of both church and secular
history. The prophets of the Old Testament were confronted with the same ac-
cusations from the Hebrew priests, for the prophets taught new ideas of social
justice that often were in direct conflict with the laws of Moses and the priestly
doctrines. After the teachings of the prophets were accepted and honored, Jesus
Christ met overwhelming opposition from the established priestly hierarchy be-
cause his words and actions were unorthodox and heretical. The Apostle Paul
was severely criticized by the early Christian Church because he preached the
Gospel to non-Jews. Denunciation of new theological ideas because they are dif-
ferent is embarrassing to most enlightened churchmen and must indeed make the
church appear ludicrous to an intelligent non-Christian.
The doctrines of organized religion often depend upon an elaborate machin-
ery of ritual and mythology. Instead of confronting the urgent social issues of
our day, much time is often spent in expounding the doctrines of the virgin
birth, the miracles of Christ, and the physical resurrection. When logic and
modern science conflict with these dogmas, the church either develops elaborate
and unconvincing arguments reconciling these doctrines to reason (as the medieval
scholastics attempted to do) or withdraws defensively and refuses to examine it-
self at all on the ground that the direct revelation of God is not to be questioned.
This obstinate attitude can have little appeal to modern secular man, who often
has not been steeped since childhood in the superstitious mythology of much of
organized religion. In the field of science this attitude would be intolerable, but
religion is apparently exempt to many people, who have been conditioned to feel
a need for the teachings of the established church.
"Then what can I believe?" the fundamentalist asks. "If the Bible is not
all true, if the doctrines of the church are not absolutely certain, then how can I
know what is really true?" The purpose of this paper is not to give a new list
of religious beliefs that a modern Christian should accept, for such a list is im-
mediately self-defeating. The scientist is in exactly the same situation as the re-
ligious fundamentalist, yet he does not feel the need of having absolute scientific
truths in order to create and work usefully. Even Newton's basic three laws of
motion are not exactly correct, but rough approximations that work well only
with large objects under certain conditions. "But God does not change," the
fundamentalist continues, "and I want to know exactly what he is like." Neither
have the physical laws of the universe changed. The molecules that made up the
first primitive men obeyed the same chemical laws as they do today, but our
understanding of these laws has greatly increased. Our understanding of God,
however one interprets this term, has also changed and grown with time. The
celestial, loving father of the fundamentalist is a much more acceptable concept
than the primitive, tribal God of the early Hebrews, who once conceived of him
as a boisterous and powerful being whom they carried around in a wooden crate
called the Ark of the Covenant. The transition from belief in spirits, witches,
and magic spells to scientific explanations of disease was a great step forward.
But when the fundamentalist wants to call a halt to the process of increased
understanding, he places himself alongside the flat-earthers and those who de-
nounced biological evolution of the species. The old concepts are not to be ridi-
culed unless they are taken as ends in themselves. We do not condemn the early
scientists because their theories have been disproved and supplanted by more so-
phisticated ones. Rather we honor them as having laid the foundations without
which modern science would be impossible.
The true scientist has a more genuine faith — in himself and in the reality of
truth — than the religious fundamentalist. The scientist can have faith that there
exists real truth toward which his faltering attempts reach. Unlike the funda-
mentalist, he does not feel the need to know all truth before he puts what he
does know into practice and makes his present knowledge useful. Too often the
fundamentalist belives that there are only two choices — either the church doc-
trines and mythology are true, or all religion is meaningless, and life has no
purpose. Either Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God and the Virgin Mary,
was raised physically from the grave so that men might live forever, or all re-
ligion is a farce, and no one can know any truth at all.
The true scientist does not need such absolutes. His reverence for truth,
whatever its source, and his faith in man's ability to learn and grow sustain him
and give him incentive to make some contribution to man's knowledge. And
although his theories may be disproved by posterity, he will still have contribut-
ed to a more complete understanding of truth. This quality of faith possessed
by the true scientist, if it became the goal of the religious man as well, would
unite both in the adventure of human existence.
(Ed. note: This essay won a first prize in the Centenary literary contest.)
An orange moon in a timeless sky,
a skeletal tree on a hill,
And a barren shore, once lapped by waves,
but now, like a mourner, still.
For the sun is dead, and winter reigns,
and the ocean, hard and dry,
Divorced from the earth, cannot return
til the sun wins back her sky.
And then, in the joy at her rebirth,
the dunes will blossom forth
And the waves will crash on a sandy beach,
leading cheers for a re-born earth.
But the moon, then white with oft-lived fear,
and the tree on its calvaric hill,
Will meet in the night and plan the hour
they'll be rulers again of the still.
Haiku By Two
the sleeping ocean —
Whitecaps by moonlight!
A gentle stranger
in evening stroll
Picks a tiny flower.
Duck and Duckess
Newcomer and neurotic-hatched,
I am running around on the floor
bearing my mountain of preconceptions
in circular fear of being stamped.
My days are blue steel-sterile now;
the nods and smiles and
Pleasing Expectations of
my house and home and friends
leave me with an empty business.
The nights are neon -like, and paper pulp
and wet grass stain them inkish,
and hollow sounds slide round the room
while words confuse their point.
The antiseptic days and evenings melt in soiled
and smelling sheets,
and gluedrop sweat swims on fistknots
and scurries on my face
with eye-rinds burning up.
The pines with cones like cockleburrs
are pasted flat against the scargrey sky.
The window's down
and supper's almost ready
and everyone is gone except the gang
downstairs that never glances up ... .
And trying to forget is not as soft
as someone said.
THE SOUTHERN WILD
The bus was quiet with early morning excitement as we pulled into Mt.
Pleasant. He was the only one to get on, the first in a succession of lone pas-
sengers waiting for us in the cafes and post offices of little towns. He was grin-
ning already. He stepped up to the driver and pulled a neatly folded ticket from
his wallet, already looking for his place in the almost empty bus. He stopped at
a seat near the front behind a white matron reading a Ladies Home Journal, and
carefully tucked his two extra shirts into the rack overhead. He was small and
wiry, dressed in black chinos and a crisp white shirt, a little frayed and large at
the collar. He plopped into the high-backed seat and looked around, a jaunty
dwarf: still grinning. Two front teeth were missing. Tenderly he set a transistor
radio on the window ledge behind the matron's head and spun the dials with a
practiced hand. The blare of music brought the matron upright in her seat. She
stared coldly at the Ladies Home Journal and did not speak.
He tapped his feet in time to the music and uttered an audible grunt of
pleasure. "Mah heart's on fire-uh, Elvira. . ."
The bus was rolling now past the shy-faced towns stranded by the new
The boy lit a Winston, and tried to fit himself into the seat, clanking the
footrest up and down several times. The matron sighed noisily and gave up on
the Ladies Home Journal.
On the right of the road was a clump of shacks, the boards blistered white
in the morning sun. On top of the largest shack was a tattered sign lettered
SPIRITUAL ADVISOR, with a large red arrow pointing downward.
At the next stop an unshaven man got on the bus. He fished around in his
pocket for his ticket, finally producing a crumpled wad which he stuffed into
the driver's hand, not looking at him. He staggered down the aisle, pulling the
brim of his hat down over his eyes, and, with the other hand, clutching at the
top of each seat. His trouser cuffs covered the tops of his shoes. He stumbled
past the Negro boy, who pinched his nose, giggling. "Whoo-ee," he stage-
whispered in delight, "he dronk. He stewed. He soused..." He subsided
finally, nodding his head again in time to the music, which by now was accom-
panied by loud bursts of static.
Suddenly the Ladies Home Journal matron could not restrain herself.
"Would you mind," she said in tones of blue ice, "turning that thing down
just a little? I had very little sleep last night."
"No'm," the boy grinned, and then, "Is that too loud?" It was and the
matron did not answer.
At Diboll, Texas, the bus driver went into the cafe and came out leading an
old lady who insisted on carrying her own suitcase. He helped her up the steps.
"I heard you goin' to California again this year, Mary," the bus driver said.
"Listen, don't you know them Greyhound drivers flirt a lot?"
"Better not," Mary announced to all present with an emphatic shake of her
head. "I'll slap 'em silly." The travelers laughed.
We were on the road again. MARTIN LUTHER KING IN A COM-
MUNIST TRAINING SCHOOL! flashed by and ARE YOU READY TO
MEET YOUR GOD?
The Negro boy had given up on the radio, with a shrug of his shoulders,
and was trying to sleep. The matron was again reading her Ladies Home Journal.
The bus driver was talking loudly to Mary.
"Lemme tell you for true, Mary, you keep goin' all the way out there to
California on them Greyhounds, you gonna be sorry. Them Greyhound boys'll
kill ya one of these days."
"Don't matter," Mary answered placidly. "One place is just as good as
another when the heart grows cold."
"What'd ya say?" the bus driver asked, looking in the mirror.
"One place is as good as another," she said, taking off her hat.
The falling snow
And the rising tide
Is where you live.
I have watched for both
And still I can not find you.
Perhaps I have not
Waited long enough
Or watched closely enough.
I have lived
With a calculator
In my head.
Time moves like the waters
And I fear I shall drown
Before you come.
Yet more than drowning,
I fear the moment
When you stand beside me
And I am unable to speak
for you to hear.
Conversation over a Plate of Hot Spaghetti, Or,
Far Beyond North South East or West
Once in Biology
Dr. MacFarland dissected
A live lizard
And she put its heart
Out on the table and it stopped
She placed it in the solution
Of chemicals like the fluid in the body
And for a minute
And she asked us when life ended
When did the lizard die when she
Cut out his heart when she placed it
On the table when she put it in the water
When did his life stop?
When is a person dead —
When he dissects
Now you've gone away
As softly as the leaves fall
I am like the trees.
The French are inane, indecisive, insane,
and their language is driving me wild !
Frenchmen speak of their "les",
which means "the" (they say),
with a reasoning somewhat defiled.
Her hat is a boy, his tie is a girl,
and if that's not enough of a curve,
Girl cars and boy trains
have scrambled my brains,
and the omelet is ready to serve.
Le prix and la pension, in constant dissension,
have forced me to bring in a tutor.
Can't those amorous French
lift their heads from the trench
and think of most gender as neuter?
Softly feet rustle through brittle leaves
Pause and turn a stone.
A rock I say — or a long dead limb
Buried in cold decaying dust.
No more life grows there green
On tender, veined node.
Layered wood exists — a petrified identity
Afraid to trust.
f a voice above the craft singing
meaningfully of the life of man . . ."
THE ABNORMAL IS NOT COURAGE
The Poles ride out from Warsaw against the German
Tanks on horses. Rode knowing, in sunlight, with sabers.
A magnitude of beauty that allows me no peace.
And yet this poem would lessen that day. Question
the bravery. Say it's not courage. Call it a passion.
Would say courage isn't that. Not at its best.
It was impossible, and with form. They rode in sunlight.
Were mangled. But I say courage is not the abnormal.
Not the marvelous act. Not Macbeth with line speeches.
The worthless can manage in public, or for the moment.
It is too near the whore's heart: the bounty of impulse,
And the failure to sustain even small kindness.
Not the marvelous act, but the evident conclusion of being.
Not strangeness, but a leap forward of the same quality.
Accomplishment. The even loyalty. But fresh.
Not the Prodigal Son, not Faustus. But Penelope.
The thing steady and clear. Then the crescendo.
The real form. The culmination. And the exceeding.
Not the surprise. The amazed understanding. The marriage.
Not the month's rapture. Not the exception. The beauty
That is of many days. Steady and clear.
It is the normal excellence, of long accomplishment.
ON HIS WAY
TO HELL (II)
How could they think women a recreation?
Or the repetition of bodies of steady interest?
Only the ignorant or the busy could. That elm
Of flesh must prove a luxury of primes;
Be perilous and dear with rain of an alternate earth.
Which is not to damn the forested China of touching.
I am neither priestly nor tired, and the great knowledge
Of breasts with their loud nipples congregates in me.
The sudden nakedness, the small ribs, the mouth.
Splendid. Splendid. Splendid. Like Rome. Like loins.
A glamour sufficient to our long marvelous dying.
I say sufficient and speak with earned privilege,
For my life has been eaten in that foliate city.
To ambergris. But not for recreation.
I would not have lost so much for recreation.
Not for love as the sweet pretend: the children's game
Of deliberate ignorance of each to allow the dreaming.
Not for the impersonal belly nor the heart's drunkenness
Have I come this far, stubborn, disastrous way.
But for relish of those archipelagoes of person.
To hold her in hand, closed as any sparrow,
And call forever till she turn from bird
To blowing woods. From wood to jungle. Persimmon.
To light. From light to Princess. From Princess to woman
In all her fresh particularity of difference.
Then O, through the underwater time of night,
Indecent and still, to speak to her without habit.
This I have done with my life, and am content.
I wish I could tell you how it is in that dark
Standing in the huge singing and the alien world.
The dark striving,
The failure of it.
Upward, the precise
Error. The craving
And the beginning
The gaunt stone
The wooden Magdalen
Stares scarred and sacred
From her impeccable
On cold nights
The relentless marble
The need to mount
Though this careening globe is plaything now
For the clammy creeping fiends
Her prying loosed,
Pandora's groping fingers yet may find
The tiny boon left hidden in the box.
Great in danger are we, we are
From ourselves, we are
From within us, within we are
Danger within ourselves and in us
Because there may be in us, may be us
Nothing in us, us empty, nothing us
But more to fear we have, we have to fear
Much more to fear in us, in fear us
Something living in us, may be us
Maybe something living we have, have some living
What to do living, do what
Let lie living in us, let living lie
then die living, die us.
Comes the puppet man down the street
The beat, the beat of wooden feet
Right and left of string and steel
Sight and breath a sawdust wheel
Comes the puppet man down the street.
Comes the puppet man round the bend
Cry the boys to lend, to lend
His Joy, tree torn toy friend
In laughter, hungry days to mend
Comes the puppet man round the bend.
How he danced ! Follow the man
Shallow in heat, hollow in hand
Head and shoulders stuffed with sand
Sun tall smiles wherever he can
Follow, follow, oh, follow the man.
The pig is to his day
Snoutless in the rock garden
Beside his stony trough
Where the water is ice
And the corn is yellow ice.
Yesterday the slop was warm
And the cobs were wet, but
Not so tender as the bread
That lay fetching in the mud —
The comfortable mud.
The pig is to his day
Voiceless in the slaughter house
Beside his quartered brother
Whom he does not recognize
Because his eyes are frozen.
Yesterday his brother squealed
As he greedily jammed
His head into the slop pail
To lick the sides with his tongue
And gorge for a good sleep.
The pig is to his day
Deaf beside the butcher
With the yellow frozen eyes.
Above, the bloody knife.
Below, the bloody pig.
Roses only die when winter
Rises dead from only spring
And death rises as winter roses
Red in the snow only when
Dead spring rises red
In the roses and winter thorns
Which die early and red
In green and risen spring
Dead only for white winter
And green roses in thorns
Rise dying for the dead only
(Ed. note: These poems won second prize in the Centenary poetry contest)
I am tired of my life, life
of not mattering
whether or not I'm around.
Am tired of people not knowing the
words to songs and what to say
and just singing off key always.
Tired of being told I have a bad light to
read by and being told
how I should feel
about what oh really is important.
I'm mad that video tape is
always being cut when somebody
goofs and gets a little off-color
and offends the Great American Public.
Sad of getting up too late
and not having slept.
So tired of writing letters in return
to no letters at all.
Tired of people saying "what?" to everything I say.
And I am full of feeling full of nothing at
Tired of shoes that get holes in them too soon
before you've gone where you really want to go.
Of waiting for the slow walkers
who don't even know at all
to get with it.
Of looking at the smashed world through smashed sun glasses.
Tired of all the beer running out
of all the dreams being
just dreams and of
all the cigarettes running out
and Every Body running out.
Fed up with floating around and going nowhere.
With not looking forward to anything
because there's nothing to look forward to.
Sad of hearing what people say about you
When they think you're not around.
Mad of being intruded upon and of
the jungle of it all.
I am hurt because of nobody having any more secrets
or innocence for wonder.
And I'm filled with feeling exactly like an hourglass.
I am tired really tired of watching the
giant behemoth crush cars on the late late show.
And in short I am in a hurry to live to
get this real fun over with
so that I can be in my hurry to die.
It's time to move on to 'the
next late phase and I am
almost already tired of death.
It's just time to move on
time to groove baby.
the ashtrays are full.
I like to love a lot, and feel
The writhe of serpents on a Sunday noon,
While distant bells are brooding past our tune —
Our deep and tendrilled reel.
Compare the brittle chime of day,
The peaked and ringing emphasis of stone,
With these our supple mouths that moan —
And hands that find their way.
The way the night is, close deep down in grass
With soft minuteness in the water beads upon it;
Rain rattling through the high leaved trees
And splattering into thick wool coats
(these coats against the skin of women, and gloves);
Wetness of all kinds, and things that glisten with it.
These things I cannot write.
And love is grass, with water on it,
Dry lips against the rain wet coats,
The feeling that I have for you,
And glistening that I have not said.
Sonnet on a IsAinor Journey
I wake up slowly to the sound of rain
Against the glass, and painfully recall
A cold, expectant night on this grey train.
My friends are waking now, their voices small
And hushed like those of birds in early light.
The long, stiff sleep made neighbors of us all.
Where are we, mother? asks a child. The sight
Is comforting, these strange, dark faces, grown
Familiar through the restless, waiting night.
I long for laughing faces I have known.
My lovely child, we all are going home.
TRANSIT IN LIMBO
Into the far night
The shadow show came, went.
Scattered from light to black.
I followed, yet remained behind.
The dark, the void
By the trenchant power of that devastating mass
A world of smothering substance sucked in a
great rushing stroke within that malevolent womb —
The black joined with the light.
By an eternal massive hemorrhage
Within and far beyond.
Among the puppets.
Pursuing myself through light, dark.
Colliding with myself.
Recoiling in fright
At my half-illumined face of chaos
Carrying my leaden corpse
Down a moving flight of slippery stairs.
A different kind of blackness. Empty. Vast.
Having long ago bloodlessly spit up its entrails.
In the convulsing pit of stomach,
In the dead cold tips of fingers —
The massive weight of nothing.
Nothing. Imperceptibly unfolding a
Circus of confusion —
The lights blinding. Dimming.
Flashing. Spinning. Spilling.
The moving pictures. Stills.
Flashbacks. Closer and
The phantom music. Spectral.
The splendid puppet troupe.
Paint. Plastic. Cardboard ceremony.
And the voices —
You must remember the time . . .
The whisper of memory.
Forever and ever.
What did you do when the clouds came?
Where did you go when the rain fell?
What did you see when the sky fell ?
What means essential?
One must know what means essential.
What are they saying about me ?
What are you saying about me?
Yesterday was a beautiful day.
So will be tomorrow.
There is no end
When there is no end in sight.
Where are you going?
Where have you been?
Come into the light
And you can be seen.
Frightened fingers tear down
The hollow slogans of the ad men
NEED— AND BE NEEDED
LOVE —AND BE LOVED
And behind the crumpled signs
Is whirling —
Laughing and crying
Closed. Far away.
The hand cannot reach.
Obituary: The corpse
After a long illness
Was here yesterday before closing time
But left in confusion
Trailing clouds of holy smoke behind him.
small hand hope
Through high-up windows
in the warm-glow room
we watched the floating dream wave snow
against the eaves and streetlights.
It snowed through beers and quiet words
and Winstons and a Garland-fought guitar
and "I'm sorry, sorry"
and the sick lost taxi-niggers ....
and I wanted —
more than all the snow
— to love.
ART AND SOCIETY
The label "Scapegoat of Modern American Society" might easily be attached
to the contemporary fine arts in America, which include literature, music, and
painting, in all their diversified facets. Some people, if they do not see art as
funny or totally ridiculous, view with abhorrence what they term the "not only
a-moral, but anti-moral" in modern art; most of us know or know of at least a
few such people who see art as a corruptive and revolutionary influence, and as a
threat to society.
It is easy enough to ban a book or pan an art show for anti-morality, but
such acts are temporary and involve continual conflict. One permanent solution
might be to adopt the principle proposed by the much-revered Plato in his
Republic, and that is, government control and regulation of the arts. Perhaps it
would be of importance to explore the problem of art vs. society and to trace the
implications of a Platonic solution.
Plato's ideal Republic is in actuality a stratified society ruled by an oligarchy
of the elite — the philosopher-intellectuals ; his ultimate concern in this society is
with the establishment and maintenance of order. Thus, the ordered universe is
Americans have chosen the democratic rather than the oligarchial form of
government, and the two forms possess their inherent differences: the oligarchical
is concerned with the maintenance of order so that its position as ruling body
might be insured, whereas the democratic form actually thrives on spiritual and
intellectual ferment. It is this characteristic of progress through conflict in
American democracy which has continued to baffle foreign absolutist nations for
Protest as such is not a sign of disease so much as it is an indication of
growth to follow, although Americans themselves are often intimidated by the
presence of opposing forces in their society. And never are they more intimi-
dated than when they come face to face with a Bohemian aesthete — a symbol of
protest by his very nature. The ail-American would-be intellectual in his attempts
to raise his artistic sensibilities becomes chilled by what seems to him bizarre swirls
of oil paint on canvas, or by Dali's ghoulish portraits of man in a state of de-
generacy and putrefaction. He is alienated by Faulkner's run-on sentences and
dislocated syntax, and he is reminded of mass traffic jams when he hears atonal
or "space" music. Consequently, the American who "has had enough of that
foolishness" pouts home and clicks on his television set to enjoy his mediocrity
This brief preceding sketch might serve to typify the situation in America
today between the arts and the average American. The implications of such a
situation are overwhelming. One potential danger inherent in the gap between
man and the arts is the possibility of the isolation of the arts: when art no long-
er finds an audience from the outside, it turns in on itself and derives an extrem-
ist doctrine of "art for art's sake."
The opposite extreme, the one America would be taking if the government
took control of the arts, as it does in Plato's society, would be totalitarianism,
in which art exists only to elucidate some dogma, rather than for its qualities of
personal benefit to the individual as a means to deepen and broaden his view of
himself and his world.
If the arts are in a dilemma caused by the refusal of people to hear what
artists have to say, and if totalitarianism by its very denial of democracy is no
answer, what is the recourse? Is the artist wrong, or is society mistaken?
Almost any writer one is willing to read will grant that American society is
affluent and materialistic. This materialism carries over into society's reaction to
art when it sees in art work just another commodity to be consumed en masse
(if it is consumed at all), and when it expresses the belief that the customer is
always right; therefore, if we dislike a work of art, it is automatically not we,
but the artist who is wrong. Materialistic value judgments such as these have no
place in the realm of art. The persistent and even intensified protest of art to
materialism in society testifies to the increasing conflict between artistic values and
those values of society as a whole.
I Share the belief with others who say it is not the artist who is wrong, but
society which commits an error when it refuses to recognize what the artist is at-
tempting to say. The wider the gap between art and society, the more indicative
it is that that society is lagging behind in its needs for moral and intellectual
growth. The fact is, the revolutionary Bohemian is, willing or not, a member of
society, a member more concerned with interpretation and reflection than with
accepted mores, and a member who has something vital to say to all of us ; he has
the right to express his feelings even if they are ugly. An angry response to
his efforts is not as valid as the realization that progress never came through
ignoring what one did not like. It is understandable that the government is con-
cerned over the position of the arts in America today, but the answer to the prob-
lem lies not in control. The most valuable action the government could perform
in relation to the arts is to encourage them to speak out, and then to listen to
what they have to say.
Art is revolutionary, but democracy can use revolution for progress; art is
corruptive only when the society to which it is expressed is already sick. "Con-
trolling" artistic expression as Plato created it sets order as an end to which art
is no more than a means. Plato's hypothetical Republic represents an oligarchical
ideal bordering on totalitarianism; but in an American society which has chosen
democracy as its ideal, that society commits an error unless it allows the arts also
to accompany it through the sometimes controversial steps toward growth.
(Ed. note: This essay won a second prize in the Centenary literary contest)
ROBERT BURCH, a freshman majoring in languages, writes
from a varied background. He has studied bullfighting in Mexico
and was a professional dancer for ten years on the West Coast
and in Honolulu. Mr. Burch, who says he writes for fun, is a
DIANA DRY is familiar to INSIGHTS readers. She has been
published in two previous issues. Formerly a secretary of Sigma
Tau Delta and editor of the Conglomerate, she lives in Shreveport.
PATRIC EWING, a junior art major from Dallas, Texas, did
three of the illustrations and the cover of this issue. The sketches
were all done in carbon pencil.
KAREN FISER, one of the editors of INSIGHTS, is a senior
English major. She is president of Sigma Tau Delta and received
the annual creative writing prize last year. She is a former Con-
DOUG FRAZIER is another world-traveler. He grew up in
Aruba, which forms the background for much of his writing, and
now lives in Malaya. A freshman English major, Mr. Frazier has
been published in the Randolph-Macon College magazine.
HELEN GIESSEN, a senior English major, plans to continue her
studies in graduate school next fall. Helen says it's difficult to
say where home is, because she's lived longer at Centenary than
JACK GILBERT came to the campus for a Forums lecture in
March. Winner of the 1962 Yale Younger Poets Award, Mr.
Gilbert was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for his book of
poems, Views of Jeopardy. He now teaches at San Francisco State.
JOHN GOODWIN, a dean's list student at Centenary, is a senior
drama major. A newly-elected Student Senate officer and a Sigma
Tau Delta pledge, he is from Houston, Texas.
BLISS HOLLAND appears in INSIGHTS for the second time.
She is a sophomore English major from New York City, and a
Sigma Tau Delta pledge. Among her preferences, she lists drama,
orangutangs and pistachio ice cream.
DAVID HOSKINS, now on leave of absence from Centenary,
is a junior English major. He is a former editor of the Conglom-
erate, Student Senate member and president of Sigma Tau Delta.
BART KELLY's three poems won first prize in Centenary's literary
contest. A freshman from Fitchburg, Mass., Mr. Kelly says that
his poems are concerned with the difficulties of adolescence and
with "what is supposed to be God."
JAMES LESKO, a Sigma Tau Delta pledge who came here from
Hobart College, won first prize in the local short story contest.
A junior English major from Binghamton, N. Y., he has been
published in the Hobart Review.
CHARLES LOONEY, an English major, came to Centenary from
Catholic University, where he studied drama. He says that his
life's ambition is to have been published in INSIGHTS. He is
also a pledge of Sigma Tau Delta.
JOE LOUPE is a sophomore from New Roads, La., majoring in
history and government. Now managing editor of the Conglom-
erate, he won an award in the state poetry contest.
DON SCROGGIN, a senior chemistry student, won the over-all
award in the Centenary literary contest with his essay on science
and religion. Mr. Scroggin, an honor student, will attend Harvard
next fall on a National Science Foundation fellowship. He lives
JOE STULTZ, a former English major at Centenary, lives in
Shreveport. He appears for the second time in INSIGHTS.
LYNN TAYLOR, one of the INSIGHTS editors and vice-presi-
dent of Sigma Tau Delta, has been published several times. Win-
ner of a Woodrow Wilson fellowship and a consistent honor
student at Centenary, Lynn will study comparative literature in
graduate school next fall.
PI IU «■ '
Ml II tt »*» *"
CtNTENARY COLLEGE URPAPy
II BE rAKEM w
INSIGHTS • SEPTEMBER, 1967 • VOLUME 5 • NUMBER 1
Published annually in limited edition by Kappa Epsilon Chapter of Sigma
Tau Delta with offices at Centenary College, Centenary Station, Shreveport,
Louisiana. Single Copy: $.50. All rights reserved. Copyright pending
1967 by Insights. Manuscripts must be accompanied by a stamped, self-
^5^1 TABLE OF CONTENTS
I . ^
PREFACE Page 5
UNTITLED by Shirley Walsh 7
BUTTERFLY by Linda McLendon 8
ENCLAVE by Paula Stahls 8
DESPERATELY by Janis L. Jinks 9
UNTITLED by Joe Loupe 9
FIRST SEMESTER TERM-PAPER BLUES BASICALLY
by Michael Poe 10
FABLE: THE TOAD by Doug Frazier 11
ONE THIN DIME by Bart Kelly 12
ONE REASON by Will Finnin 13
UNTITLED by Shirley Walsh 13
ODE TO AN EGYPTIAN CHURN by Charlie Brown 15
UNTITLED by George Gibbens 16
BOCA MOHOS by Doug Frazier 17
MISSISSIPPI RIVER by Joe Loupe 18
UNTITLED by Bart Kelly 19
SAYONARA — BANZAI! by Bart Kelly 19
SUMMER SHELLS by Janis L. Jinks 21
WATER ROSES by Janis L. Jinks 21
MODERN POETRY by Charlie Brown 22, 23
ENCORE by Rodger Wedgeworth 23
THE CHOOSING OF EDGAR OR BRIE AND BEER
by Robert Burch 24, 25, 27
EASTER HAIKU by Dede Griswold 28
UNTITLED by Shirley Walsh 28
UNTITLED by J. Michael Hopkins 28
PART-TIME PAGAN by Paula Stahls 29
WINE AND ROSES by Joe Loupe 29
BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION 30
The publication of Insights 1967 in the fall rather than in the spring
of the preceding school year as is customary is both an accident and an
experiment. An accident for a number of unforeseen and now irrelevant
circumstances which served as hindrances to the best intentions of the editors
and all who assisted them. An experiment in that which is new and
untried carries along with it an element of excitement. Specifically we hope
that the publication of Insights early in the school year will generate interest
in creative writing and in this sort of publication, interest that will grow
consistently throughout the year and from year to year.
We would finally like to thank Mr. Jim Willis and Mr. Tom McNair
of the English department and Dean Thad N. Marsh without whose
intellectual, psychological and economic assistance, Insights could not have
The Accidental and Experimental Editors
It was the style
But she was not a vogueish girl;
Her heart dripped only sand.
But on a soonday
her eyelids will reveal the sun
and encircle the moon.
Stars will stop their hide-and-seek;
The heart's carnival will commence
And a Ferriswheel will
Billow the voluptuous sawdust
Scattered the swirling sawdust
Stop the seeping sand.
On a soonday in haste
Her body will lose from its languid sleep
And dormant lips will stretch
To add assonance to the following fair.
But not in vogue. . .
There's the carnival clown
who creates a kindred face.
But it was the style
Of love that day.
Her gilded lids subtracted the sun,
Made minus of the moon.
The Ferriswheel's folly
Sucked back the sand
The sun wept gaudy tears.
No, not in vogue.
The gaudy drops
made more bizzare
The clown's created countenance.
The colors stood up
Then tripped and fell
But valiantly tried again;
The myriad maze
Began to run
soon after the skipping salt:
— once clown face —
Hence all melted
Into clown tears.
(Invariably not in vogue.)
The small child
clapped his hands
bit of flying
with one foot,
and at the
NOW is wood fire, warming
and pop-tune played gentle
as Potpourri of faces
meet in thought
of Things That Count,
and play with knowledges. . .
instinctive and remembered.
To speak for NOW
The Things That Always Count.
Pop-tune played loud
hustles feet and souls
Down unpondered lives.
And I cried my few last tears because
I lost something —
Not to touch, nor to hold —
Simply a flutter, a voice in the rain,
A door without hinges, a spider's silver belly,
And I weep now because I have lost —
So miserably fallen, like jelly dreams, into that pit —
So deeply into those black laughs and faceless smiles.
Remarking with a dead voice, a dry sound,
And now, well now, I cry more for the buried,
Not the dead ....
Janis L. Jinks
A smoking mist swirls slow
and softly fogs in hazeled light the buildings
still and gray —
a slow diffusion through the night.
A solitary touching wraps me in the concrete-talking towns-
the slow extengencies of life.
The misting darkness pulls me to the woods,
a fetal cloudy cord that grants no peace
until I'm walking there . . .
where trees, a sluggish green immensity of life,
are pressed in summer heat;
and wild mixed palette leaves of dying fall
are dulled by yellow winds;
until I'm ushered through
the lifetime pulse into
the frostpoint crystal trees
of gray-leafed brittle downs
and crack-leafed forest floors.
(in concrete cells that top the trees)
is blue-smoked neon, dry-paged law books late at night.
And yet — the mist cord never frays;
it always tugs me to the woods,
that place of teeming quiet sounds —
the plasma of my life
despite my sterile college dance
and faces I've not touched.
The answer lies in leaves
and wildness of the deer.
FIRST SEMESTER TERM-PAPER BLUES BASICALLY
(Or, Won't You Come Home, John Milton?)
". . . WITHIN SAMSON AGONISTES CERTAIN
UTTERANCES THROW FURTHER LIGHT ON
MILTON'S IDEA OF CATHARSIS, AND, AS
THEY ARE MORE SPONTANEOUS, THEY ADD
SUGGESTIVE EVIDENCE TO THAT FURNISHED
BY . . ."
In the opening chorus of
The autumn day, the sharp chill
And the sun
Are as a cold fire
Burning and purging
All that is heavy
From the air.
"THE CONFLICT IN MILTON HAS
MORE THAN ONE ASPECT. HE
FELT KEENLY BOTH THE CHARMS
OF CONTEMPLATIVE RETIREMENT
AND THE DUTIES OF THE ACTIVE LIFE.
BUT THAT CONFLICT DID NOT BECOME
A REALITY UNTIL . . ."
In the autumn dusk
The trees and the sky
Yield their mountains of gold
Disclosing the secrets
Kept so long locked behind their doors
As if the reddened sun
Were the key to open them.
"MILTON'S EPIC RHYTHM, LIKE HIS
LANGUAGE AND SYNTAX, WAS BOUND TO
BE STYLIZED: THE WRITING OF A LONG
POEM MUST STRIKE A GAIT THAT WILL
CARRY HIM TO THE END. BUT, AS
T. S. ELIOT HAS SAID, . . ."
Midnight and morning seem now as one
And across the street
All is emptiness
All is in still repose
Waiting for the awakening to be
With the coming dawn.
But for my mind
There is no sleep
And no awakening
Just off and on
And a yearning to forget
If only for a moment
The epic rhythm
And to join as part of
The autumn morning
The autumn dusk
And the silent, dark buildings
Across the street.
FABLE: THE TOAD
Once, on a rainy night, a toad,
hopping across a rain-glazed road,
stopped, transfixed, by a great light
far, and then near, now two, both bright.
Faint, nearly swooned, the reptile thought,
"This must be God Is it my lot,
thus to be one of those who've viewed
spirits before the reaper's mowed
soul from body, wheat from chaff?
I shall repent, forget to laugh. . ."
Toad was then crushed beneath the car.
Dreams, with his blood, dissolved to tar.
ONE THIN DIME
of seedless ripe olives
on. . .a
metal apple tree
in a gilt-silver orchard
lit by neon fires
— this is it
ladies and gentlemen
what you've all been
what you've all been
looking for —
canning olives —
seedless ripe olives
then they sell
then people buy
because they see the
shiny can with the fancy
— these olives come from the
valleys of southern
when they really
grow them in
just forty miles
fires of the
Sweet muted syllables said softly at dusk
Stretch hearts together to know differences.
Two pillars, tall, stand silent-gripped
By blank futility — the imperative "must."
Unalien we, and yet, so strange:
Each to each other's mind remains,
Affirming depths too real to speak
We meet and cover up our lies.
Can live be fast?
Can dead be stuck?
Must sweet be gone
When deep is left?
One reason lives within each breast for life
Alone we are, that paradox,
But only in the risk
The Hope remains.
And when your balloon bursts —
it won't even boom —
but will make the most
minute and insecure
And thus will fade away
And you'll wonder
who'll have heard,
who'll have known,
wanted to boom —
violently to explode —
Nobody not ever
Not even you.
ODE TO AN EGYPTIAN CHURN
I shall not hear tonight the sand
The cuckold sand of Caliban
And waspish wailing willful wind
Calling over much too thin:
Rosetta Stone - - - Rosetta Stone
Anti-lock to mystery.
Servant of this history.
The sand begins to roll again
The sound of sand and wind too thin
Staying there ungodly long
Allusion to Egyptian Sand
The suckling sand of straining land
Listen, listen, it tells all
All that Faust need ever know
To sell his soul for knowledge of
Carousel bells and gypsy band.
Entered in my land of sand
Carried off my tone from land
Carried off its mystery
And too the chance of history
Left with both the mysteries
The mysteries of
And every night as I lay snared
Entangled in Egyptian sand
The voice of bells and gypsy bands
Whispers through this airless land
Overriding voice of sand
In sneering tone no less to sand
The grated edge, the sound of sand
The voice rescinds, reminds again:
Rosetta Stone - - - Rosetta Stone
Grandfather a bald and brass figure of stern innocence. . .
stubbornly middle class. . .medicinally quick-spitting. . .merry,
and very kempt in his eight-to-bed and early-wise look-of-all-
looks propering in his hot house of memories and supersti-
tions quite like the son of his son sometimes, and at others
like the father of his father's grandfather, then with an out-
rageous arrogance he'd ladishly bound into the vest-pocket of
cautious age and pretend to be dead to all but the smiling
out loud of his rough love of the sight of himself in his son's
. . .the lamps in their wake continue. . .and I continue in my
wakening from the soft sleep of friends and, still, from
the salt of world-wise sermons. . .chilled suddenly into the
strange anger of absence. . .still like the child
struck in the throat and eyes by death. . .
"Grandpa, your nose, your nose, your ears. . ."
. . .and bobbed me, knee, upon the finest horse, with giant
hooves, that glassed the mountain up, and saw the beasts that
roar, and did no more. . .
. . .sometime in the past, and before that in the miraculous past. . .
his face like a leaf in the Fall wind, coughing over the aged,
over the pressed and old and indestructable table linen, sagely
bowing, at last, like a Mohammedan over his late coffee,
sucked and sewn into a thousand folds of ancient, sweet-breathed
dreams. . .and sometime in that same place he died, as an old man
often does, without a word. . .and I, a child with the protection
of no great number of years, grieved in the way a child often
does, quite unobtrusively and quite alone.
The boy ran out of the house and across the yard to the cage. He
reached into it, careful of the iguana's claws, grabbed the beast about its
stomach, and lifted it out of its prison. He had caught it the day before,
and had brought it home, presenting it proudly to his mother to fatten for
Today, though, his mother had beaten him for loosing a knife which
he had taken to chop at a piece of wood, so now he would remove his
gift, and accomplish his revenge on the iguana, for it was the only way he
knew to hurt his mother.
He heard her calling from the hut, and turned, running out of the
yard, and down into the arroya, dodging the cacti. His mother called
again, far behind him, but he paid no attention as he made his way bare-
foot out onto the jagged coral. He thought only of the iguana, and of the
The water was deep in the bay, and from the cliffs which surrounded
it the boy had many times seen the sharks come in, slowly, easily, searching
the bottom for scraps of food trapped by the currents. On a calm day,
if the water was clear, he could run above them, as he followed the cliff,
and watch their lithe bodies as they glided past below him.
Now, as he neared the edge, he looked down into the green water,
but could see no sign of the sharks. He waited for a moment, then threw
the iguana in a high arc. It landed near the center of the bay, sank, and
then rose to the surface and began to swim slowly, thrashing it's tail through
Running along the edge so that he might be above it when it left the
water, the boy forgot all ease, and failed to lift his feet high enough. A
sharp fist of coral reached out, holding his foot, and he fell, arms flailing,
over the edge of the cliff.
He hit the water with a large splash, scaring the iguana, which had
just reached the wall of the bay, and which watched as a large blue shadow
rose to the surface near the screaming boy, sand, and rose again to silence
him, leaving only a splash of foam which drifted and dissolved as the
iguana climbed the rest of the way up the cliff and ran, tail held high, back
across the coral.
By Doug Frazier
You are a liquid school of whales,
and swimming to the gulf in one slow surge.
I see you flowing by your banks
and watch your jaws slow bite
into the land and trees and sometimes me.
I bake myself by you in dust
and summer smelling cockleburrs,
while feeling how your hum creeps in my nerves
and rustles through the cornstalks of my brain.
Three blackbirds slowly fan your back
and watch me lying on your loins
while longing for a weaker love than you.
First place — Poetry, Centenary Literary Contest
of stopping the world
overtake me now
and its not certain
i'd wish return
or. . .
then. . .
but. . .
well. . .why not try it
i don't know
do you really think
i'd enjoy the
SAYONARA - BANZAI!
they say it's good to go to church
perhaps, to learn the Ten Commandments
they say the Communists are greedy
they say that war still makes sense
they say to keep away from tea
they say. . .
but listen. . .
can you hear another drum
is there another voice
can we make a separate peace
or must we use another bomb
but wait. . .
I hear the deaths were mounting
and they finally stopped counting
the warships sunk and men shot down,
they say we'll soon have peace —
I'll listen. . .but I can't look.
I can read it later in a Japanese torture book.
Janis L. Jinks
Pain grows inside the shells of summer,
Over the placid beach of reality,
Green and taunt.
My shell on the broken sea.
My glass spiral, all wound in cords of clay.
The throb, My shell undone with imagination,
Of windless cords and broken daylight —
All crushed in heaps of sand.
The sullen pain, the Wintry sting
of my summer's hand.
Shell in shell, the might of unison.
The wind of a water's back.
The throat of an end.
And I have felt it —
Pain that grows inside the shells of summer.
Water Roses, The shadowy spectres of evening,
A wasted avenue,
Like fish on the river's bottom.
Unbelieving tiny frail sermons,
but folding their mossy arms,
while glistens those sprinkling words.
Like dew pearls, in half shells, unopened,
And moistened by their own decay.
Uplifted in that Free death.
The crust of immortality, the breath of horizon,
The scope of Tomorrow's candle.
And where can it all end?
As begins, in Water Roses,
That relinquish — Solemnity,
For shadowy spectres of day
"Die ganze Welt ist mit Scheise beschmiert."
With debt and undying gratitude
to the many people who have re-
vised, corrected, and advised me
on this manuscript, but most of
all my mom, I fondly dedicate this
To the poem who proclaims "We are but the gaseous excrement from the
bowels of a cliche world."
I declaim "Paralyze your opponent with Haiku."
Life is lousy, and so are poets who write about the crap.
"Hey poets, let's flagellate the world!"
"No," came the inaudible answer, "ourselves."
And he waded further and further into the muck,
And two words kept recuring to us lip readers:
"People" and "psychoses." 1
He was wading in backwards just so we could see his lips.
The only proper place to write poetry like this
Is when seated on the John.
And speaking of the John,
I get very tired of hearing about
The grim nobility of that moment in time. 2
But mostly I get tired of people
Who can't find any better place to hide
Than the top of a ladder in the middle of an otherwise
Formic, Son of Myrmidon, 3
Bride of Myrmidon,
Return of Myrmidon,
Myrimdon vs. the Wolfman.
Haunted hankerers of Dante's hell, 4
Diabolic dabblers, delving the depths of devildom,
Bristling, brindling, bridling brine,
Bumbling blatherers, babbling of bitches,
Ridiculous writers of rebellious redundancy,
And all the purposeful purveyors of perversion
Oh what the hell, never mind!
rhyme! (brine mind, sort of a
inadequately attempting to question the time
x Dag Hammarskjold, Markings (Copenhagen: Einenfinger, Inc., 1964), p. 86.
2 T. S. Eliot, Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats, (New York: Harcourt, Brace &
World, Inc., 1952), p. 163.
3 Unknown Poet, Insights, (Shreveport: Centenary College Press, 1962), vol. 2, no. 2,
4 Mardi Merde, tr., Dante s Inferno, (Paris: Fromage duTete & Son, 1965), p. 33.
The beautiful, young Hamlets of Now,
Wrapped in black,
Dwarfted by empty vaults,
Clutch the skulls of grossness,
Hold them aloft,
And pray for curtain's fall,
And are puzzled to hear applause.
Robert Burch — First Place — Short Story, Centenary Literary Contest
THE CHOOSING OF EDGAR
BRIE AND BEER
The pubs in the quaint little villages along the Rhine are delicious in
the spring of the year, when the American traveler meets Europeans of all
descents and heritages, without the tiresome delay imposed by social stratum
in his home town. A pretty face sitting alone in a sidewalk cafe is as near
as the nearest waiter and a glass of cool, dark hops. On one delightfully
fanciful June day, it became my turn to be the American traveler searching
for adventure and companionship among the wine glasses. I cannot quite
recall exactly what first attracted my attention to them, perhaps the well
spoken English, but certainly their language was not my lasting impression,
nor was their coloring, for certainly blondes and brunettes are commonplace
throughout the world. Ah, but therein lies the paradox, for I contend these
two were different. At any rate, I chose an adjacent table for a better view.
The blonde, a little past her prime, although still beautifully preserved,
was exceptionally well assembled, curvaceous without being overblown, and
with skin that was sin-khsed and well lubricated. That color of Kansas
wheat, reflected in the well-coiffed tresses has baffled cosmetologists since the
inception of bleach, and the purity of almond-shaped homozygous brown
eyes were a delight to behold. The movements of firm but feminine hands
clearly demonstrated her self-assuredness. The nail polish, make-up, hair
and skin tones were all carefully contrived to give the popular "one-tone"
look so much in vogue with the jet set, and the tailored beige lace suit was
beautifully set off by one single emerald, caught in a filigreed gold cage.
Like a bird I mused, but not a canary or a parakeet — more like a peacock,
because she was certainly well aware of the looks of admiration gleaned
from the eyes of male passers-by, and from her posture, loved every moment
of attention and invited more. She was equally aware that the younger
brunette served as a perfect foil for herself. They were chatting with much
animation and, without really intending, I became completely absorbed in
"But, Rowena" said the brunette, "how can you say a thing like that
about Edgar? After all, he was certainly more than a gentleman when in
"I tell you, Ligeia, he was the most despicable degenerate I have ever
had the dissatisfaction of knowing. If you could only know one particle of
the agony he caused me to bear, you would certainly never again question
my judgment. He raved and ranted like a madman on our last encounter.
He spoke of Greek Gods, of the daughters of Delos, and he quoted Joseph
Glanvill out of context. He described in lurid detail his courtship and wed-
ding of you, the pure and undying love you held for him, and finally he
described a dream of your death and subsequent entombment while his eyes
burned with frightening intensity. I feared for my very life and sanity
because I knew, of course, that you had been with him in public places
only, and certainly you had never entertained even the vaguest notion of
marrying the fool."
Ligeia had opened her mouth to respond when the waiter returned
with my drink and silenced them momentarily. As he poured my beer and
refilled their wine glasses, I took the opportunity to observe Ligeia more
closely. She was a delicate creature, almost breastless but even that was
not a serious drawback, for it fitted perfectly with the gamin look and deli-
cate but prominent bone structure highlighted the translucent complexion.
The sun obviously obtained only remotely spaced peeks at that lovely white
skin, which the flowing mane of black hair beautifully accentuated. The
enormous, round, electric-blue eyes were almost hidden when she lowered
those incredibly long lashes, but when fully open they could pin a man to
his chair with an intensity that is indescribable. She was dressed in a
typical "go-go" dress of hot coral, with matching lips and finger tips. The
contrast with Rowena was at once startling and curiously reminiscent, one
of the other. There seemed a certain discordant affinity.
The waiter returned our change and they continued. I listened,
seemingly without a will of my own, and I was pulled like a satellite in
orbit along their road of adventure, seeing first through the eyes of Ligeia,
then through the eyes of Rowena. I flew with them to Hawaii for their first
competitive affair with a beach boy. I watched in amazement as they
discovered that Badji was a mutual lover, spending alternate evenings with
Ligeia while she passively did nothing to rectify the situation. As for
Rowena, she seemed to actually encourage the triangle, apparently receiving
some perverse thrill in knowing.
In Greece, my amazement turned abruptly to shocked disbelief as
Rowena and Ligeia picked up Greg in a bar, took the young man to their
apartment, and while one left the room to tend bar, the other very purpose-
fully aroused him to a feverish state of passion. Rowena would return with
a fresh round of drinks just in time to prevent the situation from getting out
of control, and Ligeia did likewise, with a timing so precise one could
only conclude that each had watched until the proper moment. I watched
with baited breath for the outcome, and just before dawn the ardor of both
women cooled, as if spent, and they bid the confused and frustrated Greg
a chilly goodnight. After he had gone there was a quick meeting of the
eyes, and two half-smiles; Ligeia's look of understanding, and Rowena's
look of gratitude.
I do not know why I should have been shocked by their conduct. I
remembered two rather masculine women in London who seemed to find
pleasure in exciting young men before going home to their respective bed-
rooms. Then there were the two glamorous female psychologists in Ciaro,
presumbly doing research on male behavior for their doctorates, but invari-
ably fiercely competing for the same man in their experiments. But enough
speculation for the moment. They are speaking of Edgar again and I must
Ligeia had met Edgar in a Greenwich Village art exhibition, and this
affair seemed different from the onset. Through Ligeia's eyes I saw Edgar
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as a fumbling but amusing fool, sexually impotent and possessing a wild
imagination. He seemed to suit her needs exactly, and she pretended to
possess a great love for him to feed his warped ego. They were point and
counterpoint; Edgar, secure in the knowledge that Ligeia wanted nothing
more than his company and conversation, and Ligeia actually loving the
impotence that precluded wrestling matches and harsh words. For these
two, love of a sort could exist without ever a thought of anything more,
and had Rowena not re-entered the picture, the story might have ended
Rowena saw Edgar in an entirely different light. For her, his unkempt
but virile looking person and lack of aggressiveness produced a great yearn-
ing for physical fulfillment. She pursued him relentlessly, and threw brazen
invitations his way, by word and by deed. The more reticent he became,
the more she pressed for either action or explanation. Rowena took the
rejection as a personal affront to her feminity and needed desperately to be
reassured that she was still young and attractive enough to be desired by
this strange man. Poor Edgar could not give the action she desired, nor
could he explain his impotence without destroying completely his vain male
ego, without which he would have nothing. The effects of the strained
relationship were devastating. Edgar's expression changed from gaunt to
haggard, there was a noticeable spastic twitch in the facial muscles and,
finally, insanity became his only safe retreat from the emotional storm.
Rowena's nerves were like the wings of a butterfly stretched by a cruel child,
and finally dis-enjoined.
The sharp tone of Ligeia's voice brought me back to reality. "For
heaven's sake, Rowena! You make poor Edgar sound something like a
cross between Dorian Gray and an LSD addict. He was nothing more or
less than a would-be painter and writer whom I found amusing. I was
very sorry when I realized that your intentions toward him had turned
serious, and the only reason that I continued dating him was to try and
spare you the heartbreak that was sure to come. Of course, I knew that
he was slightly demented when he attributed to me that outrageous poem
about the worm conquering man, and I even let you read the nasty thing,
hoping to cool your ardor a bit, but you rushed right on in. In reality,
you have asked for every pain inflicted by poor Edgar, and I might add
that this is not exactly the first time that you've been taken in by one of
my creepy young friends. Get wise to yourself!"
At this point, Ligeia paused to observe the single tear in each of
Rowena's eyes, and as one tear coursed down her face, the combination
of emotional strain and removed make-up showed an added ten years that I
had not at first guessed. Ligeia seemed strangely touch and gently dried
the cheek with a finger, letting her hand rest tenderly on Rowena's shoulder.
As though in a trance I viewed the silent apology, Rowena's make-up repair
job, and as they walked arm in arm toward the exit I heard Ligeia say,
"Forgive me. I did not intend to be cruel — It is just that we are both tired
from the trip and need a little rest. We'll have a nice quiet day in the country
tomorrow and perhaps a picnic lunch. Would you like that. Mother?"
Two limbs draped with vines
Weighted with flowers sweet.
Mourn with the white notched blossoms.
Wind breathed on my face
Soft moist and oh, so tender.
The rain soon followed.
Like a caterpillar
From drowsiness to sleep.
Brimming with child innocence
Beaming with unanalyzed happiness
shrinks to slide to somewhere land
Where someone opened Pandora's box
(besides the former)
and latterly unclasped
child hand from aged one
l n v
The darkness falls without a sound
That mortal ears will ever hear,
A black lace curtain swirling down,
The falling of a crystal tear.
So quick it cuts away the sun;
A teardrop on a candle flame,
And darkness comes to mark the place
That's empty now but for a name.
But many times 'tween dusk and dawn,
Half hidden through a swirling mist,
We will return to as before,
Remembering some sunlit morn.
J. Michael Hopkins
It is somehow not enough
That we're given peace
Which comes with dying.
All this is beatific —
This crossed austerity
This tranquill passion of praise
This God —
But Life is not yet served!
The Fathers all forgot
That Springs would come,
His fires unquenched
By "Balm of Prayer"
Might spurn Yahweh
To seek again Ishtar.
WINE AND ROSES
It snowed again last night.
It shimmered white against the frozen ink
and pricked old feelings
until they yawned and raced about my stomach pit.
And in the black I thought about the warm-glow room
and felt alone.
So, high out there,
above them all,
alone on icy iron,
I watched the snow tonight
and felt the animal shake his trap chain
on my ribs.
NELROSE ANDERSON, a sophomore from Rayville, La., is one of the
editors of Insights.
LUCIENNE BOND is a senior art major from Shreveport, La. She illustrated
"The Choosing of Edgar."
CHARLIE BROWN of Shreveport, La., is a junior majoring in drama.
ROBERT BURCH, a sophomore, is from Shreveport, La., and is majoring in
CHRISTIE EYSEL of Shreveport, La., is a display artist in a local depart-
ment store. She illustrated "Modern Poetry."
WILL FINNIN of Dubach, La., is a junior majoring in religion.
DOUG FRAZIER, a sophomore, is from Milan, Italy, and an English major.
GEORGE GIBBENS, a former Centenary student, is a free-lance photographer
and scene designer from Bossier City, La.
JOHN GOODWIN, a senior from Houston, Tex., is a drama major and an
editor of Insights.
DEDE GRISWOLD, also of Houston, Tex., is a sophomore majoring in
MICHAEL HOPKINS, a chemistry major, is a junior and from Shreveport,
JANIS L. JINKS, a freshman majoring in sociology, is from Shreveport, La.
BART KELLY, formerly of Fitchburg, Mass., and now of Shreveport, La., is
a sophmore majoring in English.
JOE LOUPE of New Roads, La., is a junior majoring in history and
LINDA McLENDON, a sophomore from Little Rock, Ark., is an English
MICHAEL POE, of Norwalk, Conn., is a sophomore majoring in English.
PATRICK POSEY, the illustrator of "Summer Shells", is a sophomore at
Northwestern State College in Natchitoches, La.
PAULA STAHLS, a history and drama major, is a senior from Shreveport,
FRANCES VICTORY, a junior from Shreveport, La., is one of the editors
SHIRLEY WALSH, a sophomore from Urania, La., is an English major.
RODGER WEDGEWORTH, from Shreveport, La., is a junior majoring in
art and English.
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