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Two Poems by Norma Farber Poet, concert singer, actress, novelist, translator, wife, and mother of Thomas Farber, interviewed in this issue of Leviathan, Norma Farber (1909-1984) was author of more than thirty books and, for more than four decades, married to noted pathologist and professor Sidney Farber. Her poems appeared in The New Yorker, The Nation, and The New York Times. Here are the first and last poems from her collection Something Further . . . , published by Kylix Press (Ann Arbor, MI, 1979). Lagan Buried. But only to rise to the raising. Memory hitches a buoy to bottommost bales. They shall be treasure lifted by those coming after, as all loved time is resurrected by lovers, the deep divers. Our sunken hours lie safe at the end of cables. Stalwart swimmers shall hoist the blind trove to surface. Not jetsam excess of ballast. Not flotsam drifting fragmented. Not lost goods. So lowered, they wait. We left them to be found. C  2006 The Authors Journal compilation C  2006 The Melville Society and Blackwell Publishing Inc L E V I A T H A N A J O U R N A L O F M E L V I L L E S T U D I E S 77 N O R M A F A R B E R Something Further May Follow of This Masquerade — Herman Melville The strenuous pretense, so practiced as to seem conviction. Newborn semblance of morning. Innocent leap of the future sun, stoked, oh yes, for our planet survival. You wear a daily mien of welcome. Night was another mask. Black, a belief in doldrum, dream, dim countenance, loss of name and sequence, entr’acte – slip me the wand to work a decorous lull, lest doubt, a dullness, spoil the paid attractions. Conspire in a show. Your fit disguise is price of admission. Lie in a costume suited to sleep. Then wake. Quick-change artist ready on cue. Time! A backstage warning. Break of day: you’re on, fresh, keen-eyed, behind the slits. The Romans sometimes played without masks: the Greeks, never. You need protection against the fangs of light. Something thin as air and distance keeps you from being clawed. Keeps a rabble sun at bay. You’re wearing safe 78 L E V I A T H A N T W O P O E M S distraction, keeping a guise of keeping charge. Provided you cause diversion – seem is. The world suspends denial: turns – by being entertained – accomplice. Hands you hats, scarves, rabbits, green-as-April prestidigitation. Volunteers to be halved. Trusts you to play the scene conventionally. Mayhem is out. Onstage illusion of mayhem triumphs. You’d never murder the sun. But you and sun and spectators collaborate as if. Midget as master. The game grows sleek as art. And who you are, is less than how you play. I know a perfect player. To her, that poignant trim mascara’d amazon, with breast, the amputee, deftly falsified, that flawless flow of dress, curve and curve, the health, the whole, the intact form simulated marvelously: to her, homage from all our unpretentious bodies. Something further has come of a sore deceit: a suave grace. Something comes of her masquerade. A J O U R N A L O F M E L V I L L E S T U D I E S 79 N O R M A F A R B E R Or take the dragonfly, whose masks are molts. A serious act, for the heavy armor’s hard to shed. The old skin splits, the flesh crawls away from cast-off husks. Insect behavior. Where’s that insect essence? Too soon the new resembles the old skin. Feeding resumes. Any hour now nymphs will need to rupture another image. Herein if anywhere: definition, constancy, a constancy of change of terms. Tremulous program, subject to serial thrusts. And barely time to set the delicate new likeness before it looks of age. A confounding continuity. Most molting insects hide under stones, under cover, in the dark, against sunlight and natural enemies. O science: seat in the gallery, matinee performance, theater of amateurs applauding expert nature. The...


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