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Youth, Love, and Mortality

From: Sewanee Review
Volume 121, Number 4, Fall 2013
pp. 530-532 | 10.1353/sew.2013.0116

In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

After the Masters of the "Fall of Icarus"

About wickedness they were rarely wrong,
The Old Masters; though Leporello made good song,
Enumerating the Don's innumerable lemans,
It is still the stuff of demons.
Even so the Rebel Angels are impotent as they fall,
They vainly try to fight, to bite, to claw
And maul St. Michael and his angels raw;
But Brueghel knew, though his imps are devilish,
They made him laugh as they flop like fish
As globular and pink as anyone might wish
From Doctor Seuss's hand. Even Bosch's vision
Of hellish torment and the odd carnal relation
Disturbs us less than sin's original derivation.
Look how at Isenheim the panel of the temptation
Of good St. Anthony shows the gormless gaze
Of demons stunned senseless when a hermit prays.

A Poet Takes Leave of Priam

My lord, I thank you for your kindness
To a wandering poet. I take ship
Tomorrow for Egypt—the mildness
Of your climate should curtail my trip,
But Egypt's heat best suits my old bones.
No, my lord, your charming daughter's gloom
Has never troubled me, although her moans
Upset you with her constant talk of doom.
The mad princess does not disquiet me
As much as does her brother's foreign leman.
The beautiful are deadly; they shall see
That her scorned husband will become a demon.
My lord, farewell; the gods shield you from shame!
Full well I know that great will be your fame!

Sunbathers in Russell Square

The cheeky boys in Bedford's square
Strip down to their underwear
To sun themselves, but I don't dare
Shed the garments that I wear
And join the boys in Bedford's square.

I am not young; my mirror shows
I look much better in my clothes.
My hair is thin; it quickly goes—
Middle age, anybody knows,
Is late to strip and strut or pose.

Oh, when I was a fairer boy,
I took no heed of well-tanned joy
And thought love was a silly toy
And put on ties for my employ—
Would I had been a barer boy!

And now I wish I had the art
To doff my years inside the park,
And sun myself till all was dark.
Desiring love and youth, I'd start
This time to lose both clothes and heart.

The Russian Submariner

We lie in the dark, in the cold;
We barely breathe, and we lie
And wait for death, for we must die
Unless a miracle does unfold,
Unless God lets us all grow old.

When I was young my Nana was so bold
She had me christened by the priest.
I guess it took, for now at least
I pray for all within this hold
That God will be as Nana told.

O Lord, I do not want to die, not here!
But, if I must, take me where Nana said
That she would wait for me, not dead,
Where Your own mother calms all fear,
And You Yourself break every bier.

J. F. R. Day  

J. F. R. Day's first appearance in the SR was in the fall of 1993. He teaches Shakespeare at Troy University in Alabama.

Copyright © 2013 J. F. R. Day
Project MUSE® - View Citation
J. F. R. Day. "Youth, Love, and Mortality." Sewanee Review 121.4 (2013): 530-532. Project MUSE. Web. 18 Nov. 2013. <http://muse.jhu.edu/>.
Day, J. F. R.(2013). Youth, Love, and Mortality. Sewanee Review 121(4), 530-532. The Johns Hopkins University Press. Retrieved November 18, 2013, from Project MUSE database.
J. F. R. Day. "Youth, Love, and Mortality." Sewanee Review 121, no. 4 (2013): 530-532. http://muse.jhu.edu/ (accessed November 18, 2013).
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T1 - Youth, Love, and Mortality
A1 - J. F. R. Day
JF - Sewanee Review
VL - 121
IS - 4
SP - 530
EP - 532
PY - 2013
PB - The Johns Hopkins University Press
SN - 1934-421X
UR - http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/sewanee_review/v121/121.4.day.html
N1 - Volume 121, Number 4, Fall 2013
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...



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