Tom Simard

Poetry, Music, and Prose

Archive for the tag “fall”

Patriotism

Samuel Johnson said, “Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel.”

I’m inclined to agree with the caveat that the word means many things to many people in the same way Christianity or Socialism does.

To my mind, a true patriot is someone like Marlene Dietrich.  When Hitler came to power, she was living abroad. Some years later she was approached by Nazi officials promising whatever she wanted if she would only return. (And people do make such concessions, consider Klaus Mann’s brilliant Mephisto.) During a wartime interview she said, “Boys, don’t sacrifice yourselves. The war is crap and Hitler’s an idiot.”

During her 1960 tour of Germany she was spat upon by a woman who shouted,  “I hate this woman! She betrayed Germany in the war.”

After the fall of the Berlin Wall, her body was reburied in Berlin next to her mother as was the wish in her will. In 1993 her grave was desecrated.

Listen to her sing.  And remember:

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Sketch 5: A Priest of the Faith

Many of the poems I write are only partly autobiographical or factual, if you will.  A Priest of the Faith is one such.

My father lived just up the street from a small Catholic Cemetery, mostly made up of French-Canadian settlers, and being Catholic would with his best friend, help pick weeds and what have you. At the time, the area was rural (as in rural juror). If you saw the location today you would have never guessed there were farm fields all about and that the area was once considered out in the boondocks. My father’s friend would grow up to be a priest.

My dad was quiet, but Father G. was a yapper, and would go on for hours if you’d let him.  One gets the impression that the Apostle Paul was a talker as well, whose fall on the road to Damascus is said by some to be the result of epilepsy. In old Ireland the illness was known as Saint Paul’s disease.

Father G. was, you should know, a collector of mushrooms, a food I love to eat but would honestly prefer to eat okra rather than pick them.  It’s not that I have any aversion toward manual labor (okay, a little), but I’m just concerned I don’t accidentally poison myself.

To be honest, I don’t recall at all where the “cursing the midnight moon” comes from – I suppose my imagination had him picking them at night. Perhaps, I was influenced by Thomas Hardy.

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