January 05, 2006

Irving Layton dead at 93. The poet and glutton of life, greatest of all the Montreal School of Poetry, winner of the GG for A Red Carpet for the Sun, Nobel nominee, greatest graduate of Baron Byng High, sole man on Earth born with the Messianic sign, has died. Thanks for the poetry, Mr. Layton.
  • Poetically, and possibly appropriately, linked Cap'n. Any examples of his poems? Specifically the naughty bits please. - I keed! A Google of same yeilds the same non-existent Yahoo page.
  • Yields. I can spell. No, I can. Shut up.
  • Couldn't find a selection of his poetry online, but here's a nice little prose piece of his from the Dance With Desire collection. As much as Layton's poetry is lauded, he was a fine debater and essayist as well -- particularly his exposition on Othello, if you can ever dig that up.
  • Let the philosophers rave on about the summum bonum and mystics about embracing God. They are still vertical humans and therefore even their adorations still have something aggressive about them. Humans in the horizontal position have always struck me as less likely to be violent and destructive. So I take my place beside the poets, and less arrogant than the philosopher or mystic, am prepared to find the greatest good and embrace God whenever I hold a woman in the act of love. Beauty eh?
  • A respectful, if not entirely laudatory, eulogy. Globe and Mail Obit, with a few choice quotes, and an unpublished poem by Leonard Cohen, "Irving and Me at the Hospital".
  • .
  • Berry Picking Silently my wife walks on the still wet furze Now darkgreen the leaves are full of metaphors Now lit up is each tiny lamp of blueberry. The white nails of rain have dropped and the sun is free. And whether she bends or straightens to each bush To find the children's laughter among the leaves Her quiet hands seem to make the quiet summer hush-- Berries or children, patient she is with these. I only vex and perplex her; madness, rage Are endearing perhaps put down upon the page; Even silence daylong and sullen can then Enamor as restraint or classic discipline. So I envy the berries she puts in her mouth, The red and succulent juice that stains her lips; I shall never taste that good to her, nor will they Displease her with a thousand barbarous jests. How they lie easily for her hand to take, Part of the unoffending world that is hers; Here beyond complexity she stands and stares And leans her marvelous head as if for answers. No more the easy soul my childish craft deceives Nor the simpler one for whom yes is always yes; No, now her voice comes to me from a far way off Though her lips are redder than the raspberries. Irving Layton
  • ))) and thanks for the poem, islander!!! Capt. Renalt, thanks for the information touching the Montreal School of Poetry.
  • .
  • Yes, Irving Layton's Messianic sign was being born circumcised. No word if he had to go through a hatafas dam bris instead of a simple bris.
  • Some info on the service. With pic of teary-eyed Leonard Cohen here.
  • Like a piece of ice on a hot stove the poem must ride on its own melting. -- Robert Frost
  • Remorse I have commited the worst sin of all That a man can commit. I have not been Happy. Let the glaciers of oblivion Drag me and mercilessly let me fall. My parents bred and bore me for a higher Faith in the human game of nights and days; For earth, for air, for water, and for fire. I let them down. I wasn't happy. My ways Have not fulfilled their youthful hope. I gave My mind to the symmetric stubbornness Of art, andf all its webs of pettiness. They willed me bravery. I wasn't brave. It never leaves my side, since I began: This shadow of having been a brooding man. -- Jorge Luis Borges