Monday, April 07, 2008

Philip Schultz: Pulitzerman


is this man sitting here weeping
in this swanky restaurant
on his sixty-first birthday, because
his fear grows stronger each year,
because he’s still the boy running
all out to first base, believing
getting there means everything,
because of the spiders climbing
the sycamore outside his house
this morning, the elegance of
a civilization free of delusion,
because of the boyish faces
of the five dead soldiers on TV,
the stoic curiosity in their eyes,
their belief in the righteousness
of sacrifice, because innocence
is the darkest place in the universe,
because of the Iraqis on their hands
and knees looking for a bloody button,
a bitten fingernail, evidence of
their stolen significance, because
of the primitive architecture
of his dreams, the brutal egoism
of his ignorance, because he believes
in deliverance, the purity of sorrow,
the sanctity of truth, because of
the original human faces of his wife
and two boys smiling at him across
this glittering table, because of
their passion for commemoration,
their certainty that goodness continues,
because of the spiders clinging to
the elegance of each moment, because
getting there still means everything?

[2008 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, for his book Failure]


Blogger San said...

Thank you for this introduction to Philip Schultz. I have gotten so out of touch with contemporary poetry. You inspire me to lay my hands on some. Quick.

Speaking of speed, TYPU arrived Monday. Someone went postal to be sure!

Much obliged. A project BJ and I intend to launch into this spring: repainting our bookshelves with an attendant lightening of their load. When the time arrives, I will run by you & Wilkerson certain titles.

3:48 PM  
Blogger murat11 said...

San: Well, I just wrote a big hoo-haw in reply: completely zapped by some cyber-elf who must not have liked what I said.

Upshot was this: what struck me about Schultz was a quote in which he spoke of his intimacy with failure, as if it were sacramental and blessed in its own way. I share this sense completely. My decision to leave past lives, be with Tina, and raise this beautiful boy has brought me joy that no other experiences have ever brought me. At the same time, in leaving my life as a therapist to "walkabout" in search of a life after, I have had harrowing experiences of despair and loss I would have never thought possible: and yet, it has always felt in some way to be a blessing, a grounding, a discovery of heart that would have never come otherwise.

I've got Schultz' book on order through interlibrary loan.

4:30 PM  

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