Tuesday, August 02, 2011

The Lost Master

Late last week, I wandered into th annual effort to help fund the Public Library, in which old and donated books are sold to help throw a little more money towards the E.G. Fisher Library, here in town. It's a pretty well done effort, and it's something I can remember hitting for bag upon bag of science fiction, mystery and Garfield books as far back as sixth grade....

Wandered in, and walked up and down the tables. Found a few things, despite having stacks and stacks of books at the house I haven't read yet.

To my credit, I only bought a couple four books that I haven't read. An Andrew Vachss book (Safe House), The Plague Dogs, by Richard Adams (because books about dogs having adventures are just right up my alley), a book about Early Irish Myths (a Penguin Classic, printed in that classic typeface they use that frustrates my eyes somehow), and Linda Greenlaw's book about swordfishing (because I watched The Perfect Storm again the other night, and just happened to remember her name when I happened across her book The Hungry Ocean).

I also found three or four books I'll hold on to to give away. Another copy of Confederacy of Dunces, which is one of my five or ten favorite books--it's one I tend to give away once a year or so. I also found another copy of Still Life with Woodpecker, which is a good one to share. I also found a nice copy of Run with the Horsemen by Ferrol Sams.

Anybody want a conversational, whimsical Southern book to read? One of my aunts introduced me to Ferrol Sams maybe ten years ago, now. Gifted writer out of Georgia. A doctor who wrote in his spare time. Run with the Horsemen, while not an out and out comedy, made me laugh out loud as much as any other book I've read in my life. I like introducing people to Ferrol Sams.

There was one other thing I found.

This little blogging hobby brought me a couple of things I'd not have expected, nor guessed. 9 years ago (and we're fast approaching the NINTH ANNIVERSARY of this blogamathing) I'd never heard of Robert Service. I thank Eric for introducing me. Lyrical, fun stuff. I'm no expert in things poetic, but I am a fan of words fitting together in a way that pleases me...and Service does that from time to time.

I picked up a collection of his Poetry. Printed in 1966. Had a nice old book smell that I dig very much. I've picked through, and found a couple that I like. The one I dug this morning:


"And when I come to die" he said
"Ye shall not lay me out in state
Nor leave your laurels at my head,
Nor cause your men of speech orate;
No monument your gift shall be,
No column in the Hall of Fame;
But just this line ye grave for me:

'He played the game.'"

So when his glorious task was done
It was not of his fame we thought;
It was not of his battles won
But of the pride with which he fought;
But of his zest, his ringing laugh,
His trenchant scorn of praise or blame:
And so we graved his epitaph,

"He played the game."

And so we, too, in humbler ways
Went forth to fight the fight anew,
And heeding neither blame nor praise,
We held the course he set us true.
And we too, find the fighting sweet;
And we, too, fight for fighting's sake;
And though we go down in defeat,
And though our stormy hearts may break,
We will not do our Master shame:
We'll play the game, please God

We'll play the game.


Blogger Newscoma said...

That poem was fantastic. Frigging fantastic.

2:09 PM  
Blogger Teresa said...

Oh wow 9 years! Yay!

Have to say our library (aka the small room of books) is so tiny I have made little effort to visit. That's rather sad. Maybe I should make another effort.

1:47 PM  
Blogger Tommy said...

I'm not a library guy, in general. I'm a buyer, and not a renter. Still, Athens has a pretty decent library that has done wonders stretching it money...

7:54 AM  

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