To score must best a man yet taller.
In such a crisis could he feel – like the
More upward-looking and oft-blocked we,
Of dunking celebrity long relieved –
A scruffy bush ’neath pointy trees?
And are we enamored of his plight,
Or of the bigger other’s greater might?
That monster impenitent who mocks our balls,
Commandeers the big contract, challenges all the calls?
Might makes right – a comforting certainty
By our courts affirmed, if not universities.
Still, a kiss reserve for those who falter,
While looking up foolishly to basketballers.
— poem and gouache by William Eaton
Painting is after a Matisse painting: Le chat aux poissons rouges, 1914. Allow me also to tip a cap to W.H. Auden’s ogres. One appears, most famously, in his short poem August 1968, a response to the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia. Here a stanza from his much earlier, much longer work of lighter verse, Letter to Lord Byron:
‘I am the ogre’s private secretary;
I’ve felt his stature and his powers, learned
To give his ogreship the raspberry
Only when his gigantic back is turned.
One day, who knows, I’ll do as I have yearned.
The short man, all his fingers on the door,
With repartee shall send him to the floor.’
Now available from Amazon: Art, Sex, Politics
In a new, provocative collection of essays, William Eaton, the author of Surviving the Twenty-First Century, shares the pleasures of questions, tastes, reading and more visual arts. “That we are animals, that is as sure as ever. How savagely we behave! And how affectionately rub up against one another. How, desperately, make love?”
Five-star review: “ . . . remarkable collection of essays. . . . insights which carry the reader into a world of mindfulness. One of the pleasures of reading a book by Mr. Eaton is to witness the author peeling away the layers of his stories. His essay concerning “savoring,” for example, first touches on food habits, yet is in fact a call to live with intention; to savor life as one would savor a meal. . . . lovely prose . . . delightful book.”
Kind words about Surviving: “Entertaining, yet packs a quiet intellectual wallop. . . . so thought-provoking and poetic I didn’t want it to end . . . beautiful and wise and moving . . . engaged, non-doctrinaire, well-read, independent-minded. . . . William Eaton finds arresting themes in unusual places. . . . The writing is masterful and wonderfully absorbing.”