Self’s Other Current Read: MY HEART, by Semezdin Mehmedinovic

Because, face it, self just cannot bring herself to think verse, all day long. And it’s a good thing the other book she’s reading has very supple, poetic language (even though it is prose). It is a lamentation by a Bosnian immigrant who immigrated to the US twenty years earlier. At fifty he gets his first heart attack, which triggers a journey of remembrance.

He flies to Phoenix, his first US home, introduces himself to the current occupants of his old apartment, but senses that something terrible has happened there because the man who answers the door says immediately, “No pictures” and seem wary and suspicious.

He reflects on the reason for his visit:

  • Didn’t I come here to confront myself, convinced that we don’t in fact ever entirely leave the places where we’ve lived, some trace of us remains, our enduring presence, the way hotel mirrors retain the faces of all the people who have passed through the room? But it’s never like that. We remember the places we once lived, but it doesn’t remember us.

Sentence of the Day, First Saturday of 2022

Yet for all that metal he still made it to mass,
honored the Almighty before the high altar.

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, a new verse translation by Simon Armitage

A Knightly Exchange

The Green Knight:

“Now grasp that gruesome axe
and show your striking style.”

Sir Gawain:

“Since you ask,”
and touched the tempered steel.

(Just flying through this!)

There is a certain rhythm achieved by the alternating of short with long lines. Now follows a very GRUESOME section, so self must put a

TRIGGER WARNING: Graphic Depiction of Violence

The cleanness of the strike cleaved the spinal cord
and parted the fat and the flesh so far
that the bright steel blade took a bite from the floor.

(Self is wondering if the medieval author would have used precisely those terms — i.e. “spinal cord” — nevertheless the specificity does hold the attention)

The Challenge

The knighthood then unites
and each knight says the same:
their king can stand aside
and give Gawain this game.

So the sovereign instructed his knight to stand.

Ooh! Self loves this! She’s practically flying through the text!

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