Death and the Good Doctor Whetstone Paperback – October 29, 2022 by Sean Lause (Author)
‘A dead soldier speaks’, in this poem Sean has captured the thoughts of a dead soldier very brilliantly. Soldier says his death was shorter than his life. He would rather let the killer speak for him than those who know him, because he feels that those who speak for him weave lie like a magician pulling silk scarves from his mouth.Amazon USA
Death and the Good Doctor Whetstone Paperback – October 29, 2022 by Sean Lause (Author)
- Publisher : Cyberwit.net (October 29, 2022)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 99 pages
- ISBN-10 : 9395224185
- ISBN-13 : 978-9395224185
- Item Weight : 4.8 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.5 x 0.25 x 8.5 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #8,097,433 in Books
As compelling as the title is, more soulful are the poems which imports one through different stages of time and life. This is a collection of poems, which is divided into three parts, each concrete of particular times. Sean begins with Part One: ‘Death and the Good Doctor Whetstone’ which is cleverly crafted crime solving story, it is a mystery that remains intact till one’s brain reaches the edge. After this, are the collection of many poems in two parts i.e., Part Two: ‘Youth’ and Part Three: ‘Age’. All his poems are idiosyncratic in themselves and bear the depth and meaning of life versus the fluid of time.
To begin with, in the poem titled; ‘Memory Snake’, he describes very vividly his memory in the form of a snake, which reminds him of playing with his father. He writes...
“…and we fall, drop by drop, through time,
and something watches in the waiting dark
as all the weeds cry thirsting for the stars.”
‘A dead soldier speaks’, in this poem Sean has captured the thoughts of a dead soldier very brilliantly. Soldier says his death was shorter than his life. He would rather let the killer speak for him than those who know him, because he feels that those who speak for him weave lie like a magician pulling silk scarves from his mouth. For Death is the last bow of magician, he says. He writes;
“My death came cupped in a shell
no larger than a hazelnut,
and yet it sent my world to darkness,
and showed me the depths of silence…
…We are buried beneath the reasons,
tongue-less, eyeless, hearts exterminated.
Beyond all dreams of redemption,
the leaves wind questions round our graves.”
In the poem titled, ‘The First Hero’, Sean weaves the tale of how the first hero ever emerged, and how some heroes go to live on for long time, though dead. Heroes are ideals for many and connect the people to one another and themselves. He writes;
“…. Through tiger eyes inscrutable he saw
the world striped and lush and vibrant
with secrets, hunger the seed of all leapings…”
The life of a widow as observed has been described very brightly by Sean in the poem titled, ‘The Girdle’. He captures the loneliness of the woman and the detective eyes of the people surrounding her. He conveys the liveliness of the woman, with her buoyant nature as a being. He writes;
“…her cigarette tipped on a magician’s cane
like a floating exclamation point.
The neighbours surrounded her house with eyes,
peering and piercing for secrets…
…. Rumours followed and circled her like bees.
When her house burned down the bees tsked-tsked.
Some hummed she was knock-down-drunk.
Others buzzed of a rejected lover’s rage.
I like to think she burned it down herself…”
What seamlessly feels like present, may be not so, sometimes. In the poem titled, ‘Alive in the Death Cult’, Sean paints picture with words when he mentions how being alive feels like, when death has a gift for surprises. It is an everyday task to appreciate the here and now and it doesn’t come easy. He writes;
“…Perhaps I am already dead
here and now, inside this skin,
and simply don’t know it, breathing
counterfeit air. Death
has a gift for surprises…”
The loss of a loved one often leaves a hole in the hearts of those left behind. Slowly but surely as we come out of the grief, all that stays and that is remembered about that person is memories. Sean in short parts inscribes the fond memory of his brother, he says;
“…Brother, why do you walk forever
ahead of me? I watch you turn
and speak but I can’t hear you,
my own voice too enmeshed in time.
We both thought you could never die,
yet your face seems here and far away,
like the shadow of a frightened bird,
held for just one moment in the grass.
…. At night we wove the air with whispers,
yet our love needed only silence, in our
beds, late at night, the leaning trees
sighed outside our windows, guarding our dreams...
…. But I am now a child inside a man, brother,
outside the walls of your lonely snow castle.
You are gone forever, and remembering
is like stepping through holes in the wind.
A train rolls by, goes who knew, who knew, who knew…
Time is now some ancient land—far, far to the north.
Strange how love remains forever,
coursing our blood with memory”.
The bond of son and father is ever special. Lot is spoken even when silence resides between them. Sean, in the poem titled ‘Night Driving’, pens down a lovely instance of his memory of night driving in very characteristic manner. He writes;
“…I advised my son to follow his dreams
and he did—all the way to a university
hundreds of miles away and now I return,
as we all must return, over and again,
to silence waiting in empty rooms.
The father says go, and be, and grow.
The child in the man says stay, please stay…”
Death, as a subject has always intrigued man. When we see or hear about loss, we often begin to ponder the bigger questions and along with them, we begin to see our ultimate end too. One such composition by Sean is the poem titled ‘The white van’, in this he portrays the realm of feelings about death, he writes;
“…One day they’ll say:
There’s no more Sean!
One exclamation point,
fade to mere period,
then just blank white space…
…. When it does come for me, I don’t want to come back
as a tree, river, mountain or wave.
These simply will not suffice.
All I need is hundred more lives
to finally get one right.”
‘Dispossessions’, is a poem by Sean that very typically encapsulates the notion of one’s inheritance from parents, which he says is only but a blank page, a silver of the moon. Justly particular. He writes;
“…The past is empty but
to touch, scent, or sounds
My mother’s song
A fence in a snowfield
divides nothing from itself.
only the blank page,
a sliver of the moon.”
In the poem, ‘The Ant Poets’, Sean has markedly captured the hard toiling life of ants and deemed them to be poets. He writes;
“Ants are poets…
careful, determined, patient
…Because when the inevitable
storm arrives, washes away
their kingdom of dreams,
the next day the castle has returned.
They are the original escape-pests.
They are down there now
waiting, clenched in darkness,
plotting their return to light…”
Touch has a memory, said John Keats. In an unexampled way, Sean writes an anecdote of his, it reaffirms the fact that touch truly has a memory and it can be mystic in nature. He writes;
“An elderly couple
pass on the sidewalk.
I nod, polite.
She stops, touches
my arm, and time shudders.
I have never seen them before…
…I take her hand,
fragile as a November leaf,
and speak my lines, improvising
a life I have never known.
They exit and I wonder
how a single touch
turns us into mysteries,
and loses our names in the stars”.
In the poem ‘Death and only the lonely’, Sean mentions that death is a lonely affair, a truth bitter. But when one nears death, what longs for us takes precedence over what we long for. He writes;
“To let words come falling like the faith of leaves,
to let things, breathe and be--
This is when you learn to mould yourself
to chance occasions, unfolding into light…”
Aging is a process which happens eventually. Most often, one denies the aging, those who embrace it with open arms, swing in joy with their batting into the second innings of their lives. Sean, in the poem titled ‘These days’, has craftily captured the pangs of old age. He writes;
“…So these days
I watch for the minor wound that might
metastasize to calamity, the simple fall
that tumbles me through eternity,
and tempts the shadows creeping from the moon.
A scream comes out of a cloud,
but the sun is blind, the moon a deaf old man.
I’m brimful of song no one seems to hear…”
In the poem titled, ‘Elegy: What holds the eye now is what remembers’, Sean has poetically revealed that memory plays a crucial role to sustain the audacity of aging. He brilliantly writes;
“…I’ll make do with these, since the past
is a dream, the future a blank, and it’s
no sin to keep on breathing when stars
fall to ashes, friends depart for parts unknown,
or words cling to some lost long-ago…”
Being present in the moment, is not what comes easy. It takes effort to make a memory. Trials and tribulations of life encumber the threads of life and weave delicate arts to form a memory. In another of his poem titled ‘Of a man skating’, Sean writes about a man, who has a remembrance of time when he once skated. And how, all that remains with age is the memory of it. He writes;
“…Perhaps no true echo
ever finds a home.
It is gone now, the forever circle
you might have only dreamed,
that encircled all the others, though
you still attempt the leap, hoping
time might collapse, fold up like
a pocket telescope. No. Divinity
never will be willed, and you must
learn to live in time and memory…”
Autumn is said to be the season of abundance and plenty. Sean in his poem titled ‘Autumn leaving’, compares the season to aging in a very intelligible manner. He writes;
“…Pain neatly folded and shut-in drawers,
contained, since it never leaves on its own.
Loss and mystery stored in the closet,
for future use in memory, while outside
your wine dark window, Autumn leaves
speak to your willing heart
of other worlds whispering round the stars,
and whisper it will soon be time to go…”
Being mortal is a given certitude for mankind. Immortality is what the soul longs for. In a very special way, Sean arrests the cosiness and clutter of aging in his poem titled ‘How the moon inhabits time’. He writes;
“…and yet the roots go where the mind cannot,
and we are left questioning the surface,
and learn no depths beyond our shallow graves…
…God grant me time to affirm both dark and light,
sun, moon, star, even the void between,
until I have memorized each flight and fall,
until I have finally learned to bless
all the colours of mortality.”
Having read this collection of Sean Lause, I am even more encouraged to embrace age as it comes and live my present to the fullest of my ability and create memories infinite. To get a calm and composed understanding of youth and age, this is a recommended read for sure. Happy Reading!
-By Gouri Sattigeri