8.10.2014

A Child's Garden of Verses for the Revolution by William Eastlake



Yesterday, I finally bit on a first printing of poetry that'd been sitting on one of my local bookshop shelves for at least the last couple years, A Child's Garden of Verses for the Revolution (1970) by William Eastlake.  The book is prose poetry intermingled with narrative vignettes that are like a hybrid of short stories and social commentary blended in such a manner that they're practically rants. But lyrical, creative -- not shrill -- rants.  And though particular to their time, still resonates in our time today.  Here's an untitled sampling:

1st printing, Grove Press
"We will cut
The bad guys off
At the pass,
But this will not be
A revolution in which
We shoot off the congressmen's heads.
They must have their heads on tight
In order to look back and see the
Damage they have done.
Look!
Killed off our youth in Vietnam,
Our blacks in Chicago,
Spent all our money
To accomplish their great deeds.
They also spent forty billion,
Burned alive three astronauts
To bring back a couple of
Rocks from the moon,
While Death walked the ghetto
Rode the Indian reservation,
At the pass.
They must have their heads on tight
In order to look back and see the damage they have done."


William Eastlake (1917-1997) was a novelist, war correspondent, ranch hand, writer-in-residence, lecturer, cattle puncher, honorary doctorate recipient, short story writer and reviewer.  His work is well worth discovering for the first time, or rediscovering time and again.

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