Quick post for today, on account of the spotty WiFi at Emory and the fact that I may have to scram at any given moment.
We’re back at Emory University Hospital for the installation of a PEG tube, a typical pre-chemo procedure. That translates into my working around campus, checking in on my friend, and trying to get some work done. None of which am I meeting with much success.
In short, I’m operating on a gumption deficit, and the two cups of Starbucks haven’t gone far in bootstrapping me up. Gotta get rocking somehow.
Enter a used-book sale in the lobby of Emory University Hospital. Sweet. I like these things a bunch, and if time permits, I scour spines for the rare gem or interesting title. Among such page-turners as The Cheap Bastard’s Guide to NYC, I spot a dog-eared tome that fits the bill for today: Shelley’s Poetry and Prose. Can I get a hell yeah?
A coupla quarters later, the paperback is mine all mine. I took the book and myself outside for some sun, which we both desperately need, and opened it up to “The Mask of Anarchy” and found what I needed:
“Rise like lions after slumber
In unvanquishable number–
Shake your chains to earth like dew
Which in sleep had fallen on you —
Ye are many–they are few.”
Boom. That’s what I needed. Great poetry, sure. But what speaks to me most is that fact that this speaks to me at all. I mean, Shelley wrote this on the occasion of the massacre at Manchester in September 1819. Yet, now, 191 years thereafter, I find resolve in his words when faced with a situation nothing akin to what spurred him to write those lines.
The answer to the question “Why?” is found via a penciled-in note on the inside cover: “Shelley on language, p. 513, para. 5.” I turn to it obediently and read “A Poet participates in the eternal, the infinite and the one; as far as relates to his conceptions, time and place and number are not.”
So I guess it was his intent to write so his poetry related to those of us beyond his age. And he’s done well along those lines. If his inclusion in many required-reading textbooks wasn’t enough, I’ll vouch for the guy based on today’s experience.
Thanks, Shelley. Rise like lions.