Fri., Nov. 16, 2007 – Dr. Sward is a Russian-born podiatrist who died in 1982. My father, he is the primary speaker in God is in the Cracks, A Narrative in Voices (Black Moss Press, 2006). In a review of The Collected Poems (2004), from which many of the father poems are reprinted, The Globe & Mail noted, “The heart and core of this book is a series of dramatic monologues and dialogues between father and son.”
He came unhinged after my mother, a former Miss Chicago, died at age 42. In the late 40s Dad became a Rosicrucian and practised his rites secretly in the basement of our Skokie, Illinois, home. He evolved his own blend of kabbalistic, Christian hermetic, and prescient New Age mysticism which lent its colors to his medical practice as well as to his view of my eventual career choice and several marriages.
The new book, Dr. Sward’s Cure for Melancholia / Soul Retrieval, is a work in progress. Epigraphs follow, then excerpts and journal… “journal,” the word derives from “jour,” day… as in the name of a newspaper. It’s also the root of the word “journey…” and this blog, well, what is it but a journey, day by day, a movement from darkness into light.
“So, you want to die?” says my father. “Goddammit, you’re already missing. I may be dead, but I’m not missing. What will dying—tell me, what will dying do for you? What is it breaks when a man breaks down? What is it “goes to pieces”?
You want a theme? That’s the theme.
“In whatever one does, there must be a relationship between the eye and the heart. With the one eye that is closed, one looks within, with the other eye that is open, one looks without.”
“But what is it then that sits in my heart,
that breathes so quietly, and without lungs—
that is here. Here in this world, and yet not here?”
–Mary Oliver, “The Leaf and the Cloud”
“Hope is the feeling you have that the feeling you have
Bookshop Santa Cruz Launch