Radical Innocence

Paperback | January 1, 1994

byJohn Pass

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Radical Innocence is an "invitation to reverie," a collection of poems that is at once suffused with marvels and a brilliant historical and cultural critique of our society's development. In this ambivalent look at classical christian attitudes and how they have influenced the western world, Pass moves beyond the ordinary, taking images and personal concerns from our everyday lives and shaping them into a poetic consciousness that is both intimate and immediate. This volume is an exploration of the relationship between father and son; a reflection on the current state of our environment; a "reprieve for the body", ...so near, forsaken, so sullen with its losses/ it won't come in for calling for the longest time; and a meditation upon the "radical innocence" christianity praises, promises and ultimately compromises.

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Radical Innocence is an "invitation to reverie," a collection of poems that is at once suffused with marvels and a brilliant historical and cultural critique of our society's development. In this ambivalent look at classical christian attitudes and how they have influenced the western world, Pass moves beyond the ordinary, taking image...

John Pass's poems have appeared in magazines and anthologies in Canada, the US, the UK, Ireland and the Czech Republic. He is the author of nineteen books and chapbooks, most notably the quartet AT LARGE, comprised of The Hour's Acropolis (Harbour, 1991), Radical Innocence (Harbour, 1994), Water Stair (Oolichan Books, 2000)--shortliste...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:72 pages, 8.5 × 5.5 × 0.28 inPublished:January 1, 1994Publisher:Harbour Publishing

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1550171070

ISBN - 13:9781550171075

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Read from the Book

A Small Blue Banknote, Dear CompanionWere you a woman, featureless in layer uponlayer of outerwear, as we struggled up the road?And the hope we pulled through the wet snowastir in its yellow sleepers on the little sleighours? I was the way I used to bewith women. Incapableof the inevitable, incapable of gracein the final hours: fearful, angrygrieving already, self-pitying. . .until we got off the streetcar and could seehow they were shelling the old city, see the arcentire of the mortar, the miraculous distance we'd comefrom the shuddering explosions. Here the atmosphereis distinctly middle-eastern, that hour betweentoo late at night and too early in the morningthe air soft as if a new faith or delusionwere being born from old texts, the hand-wornhieroglyphics-tentative, reaching, calm.It's my small blue banknotethe last between us, gets us into the nearly closedcafe, the mezes and Turkish coffee before meyou a step out the door in the neutral lighthalf-turned, half-smiling, getting awayand on the bar the heap of hastily torn scraps of paper.A hatful upturned of ticket stubs, ad hoc ballots?Unmarked, enigmatic, left to me. . .all of our nameless chances to win.Terminal VelocityAsk the man going in to his sleepless son last thingfor a further word re the carburetor.Likewise the water rising in the tubas you eased under. Was it hot enough, Archimedes? Sudsy?A nibble anon Mr. Newton, or what's an apple for?Beneath the force that makes the apple fallthe best ideas are domestic, that old sinkfor watercress in the garden's wet cornera lock-nut on the idle screw, red pepper jelly --or just when she's got the kids off to schoolpouring her second coffee and you call down"Hey, honey, come back to bed a moment."

Table of Contents

Contents

The deepest voice, the surest - 11
as if from outside utterly 12

past dark and a desert empty 13
of everything doubt portended, all 14

loveliness but its timbre lost 15
of the forest we'd imagined 16

spoke singly with authority 18
along a line of prophecy, hope 19

of old men, whose voice it was 20
whose lineage it was, lost 21

even to women, half 23
their tribe, retreat and retraction 25

of the human to the last word 27
of the least and loneliest-father 28

done with begetting, done 29
with all but the power 31

of the pregnant ether, refuge 32
Of a world once various and fluid 33

lived-in nectar, absorbed 34
by God, whose character is voice 36

and ghostly possibility (threat 37
and promise) of rejuvenation 39

in a son born 41
but not begotten, dead 43

and risen, celibate 45
and ageless in a void of pain 46

made the only world to be sure of 47 Scrape
a shadow play, romance 49

of the pure 51 The Sealed Room
or desperate heart. 53 Lost in the Material
55 For Example, It's Not You Driving
57 Coda
60 A Small Blue Banknote
61 Terminal Velocity
62 Radical Innocence
64 Reprieve for the Body