(An extract from personal correspondence)
By Howard N. Fox
PC notes: As to Howard's final paragraph, I take the liberty of appending this delicious quote from the astrophysicist and cosmologist Carl Sagan:
|Bruce Richards, "Father & Son," 1996, 3 3/4" x 5 5/8", oil on linen|
We all remember it, don't we? That first moment of instantaneous attraction, overwhelming in its intensity? The pounding heart? The feeling of terrifiedinadequacy, and yet... the desperate need to say something, anything, to prevent the moment from slipping away before we're even noticed? The sense of emptiness and loss that's bound to follow...
Here's another in our punishment series... this time with an added twist: the perpetrator of this misdemeanor chickens out and lets his brother take the punishment first. When he eventually confesses, it's all the worse for him. What he describes is actually one of thecruelest punishments I have come across. For the author of the story, who has recently moved into our neighborhood, it's clearly a painful memory. It also belongs, surely, in our "dad" series. Far from anger or bitterness, the story ends in genuine love and admiration for the strong, strict father who could punish this severely.
Larks. Much of the joy I recall from my own boyhood days took the form of larks of one kind or another. Mischief. Harmless, in retrospect, but at the time it must have seemed adventurous, even risky. Most of us got up to all kinds of mischief; that's what boyhood's all about. Flouting the rules. Testing the limits--our own, and those imposed on us by the adults in our lives. Michael Dennis Browne is a distinguished poet and librettist, born in England like myself--as you'll note from some of the references and language in his story--but has been living in Minnesota and teaching at the university there for as many years as I have been in Southern California. We first became friends at the Writers' Workshop at the University of Iowa in the mid-1960s, and have remained fondly in touch in the intervening years. Michael's latest publication is The Voices--a lovely, elegiac book of poems which I was happy to review a while ago on my other blog, The Buddha Diaries. Recently, I was much moved attending a performance of Considering Matthew Shepard, a tributeby the composer Craig Hella Johnson to the young gay man who was brutally attacked and killed near Laramie, Wyoming in 1998--a haunting piece of music for which Michael wrote the libretto. Here's his beautifully told boyhood memory, more prose poem, I think, than prose:
|... and with grandson, Luka|