a chinese new year, poe and the spirits of the dead

And I just deleted some tedious. Livejournal-style notes on why I haven’t been updating here: if you want to know what I was up to, check the relevant weeks of Chelsea Now or ask yourself what Edgar Allen Poe, William Apess and William Lloyd Garrison have in common. I thought I’d be through with the 19th century by now, on this draft,  but instead have only about 3000 tossed-aside words and too many research materials to show for it.

So if I decide, like those from halfway around the world, that the new year starts now, it means that I have to discover somehow a new means of concentrating on this maddening story. On writing it and on immersing myself in the events as they unfold, whether it’s Winter Soldier, ongoing debates about veterans and PTSD, or the end/middle game of this particular war. 

Meanwhile, I’ll leave you with a poem by a writer I have always mildly detested, even though I’ve taught his work — written the year he enlisted in the U.S. Army as a private:

 SPIRITS OF THE DEAD

THY soul shall find itself alone ‘
Mid dark thoughts of the gray tomb-stone—
Not one, of all the crowd, to pry
Into thine hour of secrecy.
Be silent in that solitude
Which is not loneliness—for then
The spirits of the dead who stood
In life before thee are again
In death around thee—and their will
Shall overshadow thee: be still.
The night—tho’ clear—shall frown—
And the stars shall not look down
From their high thrones in the Heaven,
With light like Hope to mortals given—
But their red orbs, without beam,
To thy weariness shall seem
As a burning and a fever
Which would cling to thee for ever.

 Time to revisit the dude, for me – as I am having to do with this old soldier, whose response to having been a prisoner of war was perhaps not unlike that of one of our leading Republican presidential candidates.

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