In Which We Excerpt From The Heretofore Unknown Letter XLVII Of The Marquesa de Montemayor

There are, dear daughter, oceans between us
(At your insistence, though I say this without rancor)
A buffer from the memories of our sad antics,
Pottery reduced to shards, doors slammed in such a manner
That the very jambs ached in regret,
The hinges wept in the weight of their sadness,
Though the human heart, mapped by its own wan geography,
Is immune to such trifles as mere distance.
We have tarried in foul gardens of sophistry,
Engaged in predictable shows of dramatics,
As if our outbursts can be measured in some calculus
Seeking to ascertain our devotion
In the rending of garments, the shrieking collapse upon the floor,
For it has been revealed to me
That the spectacle of our grand lamentations,
Worn by us like the finest silver-threaded garments,
Are no more than the strutting and preening
Of some noisome, foul peacock.
No, we must accept, indeed embrace, the notion
That our love is as imperfect as our selves,
And that we must approach its altar
Not with grandiloquence and haughty pomp,
But meekly, bearing the simple gift our person
Modestly cloaked in the simple black gown of humility.


5 thoughts on “In Which We Excerpt From The Heretofore Unknown Letter XLVII Of The Marquesa de Montemayor

  1. Did you really write this to your daughter? Man, you write beautifully! I have to read some of your stuff very slowly; I’m not a college graduate, not by a long-shot. Deep poetry is something that I respect, but don’t usually understand. I THINK that I understand this. I certainly made an effort. And if I understand it the way I THINK that I understand it, it is quite good. (As if a schmuck such as myself has say in such things!!!!!)

    I had to look up some words, such as “sophistry”.

    (I also don’t know who Marquesa de Montemayor was. I looked it up, but I don’t understand the relationship between the poem and the book by Thornton Wilder, which apparently won the Pulitzer Prize.)

    If I read it correctly, and I read it quite carefully, you have a stormy but loving relationship with your daughter.

    Also, I looked up the word “bast” to see what that pun was about, and I saw a reference to it being a town in the Czech Republic. Being that the novel apparently took place in Peru, I doubt that’s the use of the word “bast” that you were aiming for.

    Speaking of puns, Thornton Wilder won the Pulitzer Prize for his novel in 1927. Waylon Jennings won the “Wurlitzer Prize in 1977, exactly fifty years later.


    PS You certainly are knowledgeable about literature, W.K. Are you a college professor in real life?

  2. I am not a college prof in real life, though I would love the hours. This isn’t written specifically for my daughter (although, come to think of it…), and she hasn’t been interested in anything I’ve had to say for a long time.

    I love the Waylon clip–as an aside, his duet with Willie Nelson on “Night Life” is one of my favorite tunes.

  3. Yeah, I agree. “The Wurlitzer Prize” is a great song and one of my favorites by ol’ Waylon. Very well produced, too. I love that organ in it; it gives it a special double-meaning kind of touch. (Wurlitzer Juke Boxes, Wurlitzer Organs). It’s also a clever play on words—- The Wurlitzer/Pulitzer Prize. Incidentally, Waylon didn’t write this one. But he HAS written some VERY good ones.

    I always liked Waylon, even though famous rock critic Robert Christgau once said that “Waylon lets you know he has balls by singing as though someone is twisting them.” I don’t know if that necessarily meant that Christgau doesn’t LIKE Waylon, but it’s a darned funny comment.


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