11 april 2008

The Poet

Germaine´s great-uncle Vernon, the poet, prematurely grizzly, sweet-faced, with the mismatched eyes that so delighted her (Vernon loved to squat before her, closing one eye and then the other, the blue eye, the brown eye, the blue eye, as the child gasped and muttered and waved her fists, sometimes shutting both her eyes in the excitement of the game, squealing with laughter that grew wilder as the game accelerated and the brown eye, the blue eye, the brown eye, the blue eye opened and shut more and more rapidly, until tears streamed down Vernon´s cheeks and were lost in his beard) was said, openly, with that Bellefleur “frankness” that caused so much grief, to be a disappointment to the family and especially to his father: not simply because he was evidently incapable of adding up a column of figures (something Bromwell had mastered at the age of two), or intelligently following family discussions on the perpetual subject of interest rates, debts, loans, mortgages, tenant farmers, investments, and the market prices of various Bellefleur commodities, and not even because as a slope-shouldered, absentminded, apologetic bachelor whose face resembled (as his niece Yolande affectionately said) a hunk of aged cheese, and whose shapeless clothes, so rarely changed, gave off an unfortunate odor of onions, stale sweat, solitude, befuddlement, rotting fruit (he thrust apple and pear cores into his pockets, orange rinds, banana skins, even half-eaten tomatoes, for he usually ate while on one of his walks, composing poetry in his head and then scribbling it down on slips of paper which he also thrust in his pockets, often not quite conscious of what he did), and– but how might it be expressed?–simple oddness, he was unlikely to marry into a prominent or prosperous family, and in fact unlikely to marry at all; but because of his essence, his soul, his very being.

Konsten att i en mening fånga allt viktigt om en människa, behärskar hon, Joyce Carol Oates. Imponerad blir jag. Ett vindlande som alltid, alltid hittar helt rätt. (Bellefleur sidan 153)

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