Teaser for the magical realism novel by Holly Sakkneusseneouw
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Part One: Life
A PRECIOUS, mouldering pleasure ’t is
To meet an antique book,
In just the dress his century wore;
A privilege, I think,
His venerable hand to take,
And warming in our own,
A passage back, or two, to make
To times when he was young.
His quaint opinions to inspect,
His knowledge to unfold
On what concerns our mutual mind,
The literature of old;
What interested scholars most,
What competitions ran
When Plato was a certainty,
And Sophocles a man;
When Sappho was a living girl,
And Beatrice wore
The gown that Dante deified.
Facts, centuries before,
He traverses familiar,
As one should come to town
And tell you all your dreams were true:
He lived where dreams were born.
His presence is enchantment,
You beg him not to go;
Old volumes shake their vellum heads
And tantalize, just so.
-Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)
“Methinks we have hugely mistaken this matter of Life and Death.
Methinks that what they call my shadow here on earth is my true substance.
Methinks that in looking at things spiritual, we are too much like oysters observing the sun through the water, and thinking that thick water the thinnest of air.
Me thinks my body is but the lees of my better being. In fact take my body who will, take it I say, it is not me.”
-Herman Melville (1819-1891) from "Moby Dick".
I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shatter'd visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamp'd on these lifeless things,
The hand that mock'd them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains: round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.
-Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822)
My breasts are withered gourds
my skin all over stiffens
shrinks---the pubic hair
bristles to an itch
Not to be touched and swept
by your arm's force
gives me the ague
turns me into a witch
0 engineer of spring!
magic magic me
out of insanity
from scarecrow into girl again
then dance me toss me
-Dorothy Livesay (1909-1996)
DARK PINES UNDER WATER
This land like a mirror turns you inward
And you become a forest in a furtive lake;
The dark pines of your mind reach downward,
You dream in the green of your time,
Your memory is a row of sinking pines.
Explorer, you tell yourself, this is not what you came for
Although it is good here, and green;
You had meant to move with a kind of largeness,
You had planned a heavy grace, an anguished dream.
But the dark pines of your mind dip deeper
And you are sinking, sinking, sleeperIn an elementary world;
There is something down there and you want it told.
Gwendolyn MacEwen (1941-1987)
From "The Shadow-Maker", 1972