Friday, December 17, 2010

John L. Stoddard: Poems

 [click to enlarge]

Poems, by John L. Stoddard. Author of “The Stoddard Lectures,” “The Stoddard Library,” “Poems,” etc., etc. Geo. L. Shuman & Co., Chicago and Boston (1917). 386 pages. $5.00.

On the page immediately preceding the table of contents:


They called him mad, — the poor, old man,
Whose white hair, worn and thin,
Fell o’er his shoulders, as he played
His cherished violin,
Forever drawing to and fro
O’er silent strings a loosened bow.

At times on his pathetic face
A look of perfect rapture shone,
Intent on some celestial chords,
Discerned by him alone;
And sometimes he would smile and pause,
As if receiving loud applause.

So, many a humble poet dreams
His songs will touch the human heart,
And full of hope his offering lays
Before the shrine of Art;
Poor dreamer, may he never know
That he too draws a silent bow!

In the Forum: a Peter Pauper Press edition.


Bitch said...

This poem is pure magic..

William Michaelian said...

Glad you like it, Monika. It’s wonderful how these accidental discoveries can change the course of one’s whole day, or even life, if we’re lucky.

Old 333 said...

Yeah, good poem! There is another side to the song of one's bow - Jack Vance tells a lovely tale in his Dying Earth (1957 or so), of an old man who is possessed by the song, and possesses his daughter with the dance...until, of course, a young hero haps along. This being Vance, things don't end predictably at all.

So! Silent be and never try - or risk the Devil's fiddle madness, and die! Actually, you die both ways. Thanks for a good thoughtmaker, William! Ever thought of seeing if any of your rarities are on Google's 'Wanted' list for stuff to scan into fungible digital history?

William Michaelian said...

Peter, that’s one thing (among many, I fear) that I have not pursued. I’m so pleased with having them, apparently, that I end up blind to all else. Such is life for those stricken with fiddle madness.

Vance, eh? I’ve been away from fantasy and sci-fi so long that I’ve forgotten how to act.

rahina q.h. said...

what a beautiful beautiful poem... i think there were many who came before us who looked for recognition in human hearts and minds to believe we exist. Van Gogh is probably the most well-known example.... perhaps if he had found as much pleasure as he did pain in doing his work, he might have learnt that his silent violin was a stradivarus... i think we all wish to be recognised but this poem beautifully lays bare that the beauty is within. thank you for sharing this

William Michaelian said...

You’re welcome, Rahina, and thanks for your beautiful response. Like the poem, it helps us all see each other in a different, fuller light.

SKIZO said...


William Michaelian said...

Thanks, Skizo.