cleaning up so well (jones_casey) wrote,
cleaning up so well
jones_casey

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good spirits

so in one of these grace notes, when i browsed the shelves at argos book shop on black friday, i found myself a copy of james merrill's scripts for the pageant, which is the third and final book in his epic poem the changing light at sandover (for which a few of us began a discussion group, since abandoned).

i'd previously acquired the first two books (divine comedies and mirabell: books of number at used book stores, and hadn't stumbled across this third (i'm positive it wasn't at argos the last time i was there). like mirabell, the front and back cover is colored silver. the first blank page bears an interesting handwritten inscription: "Diane, Happy New Year 1988", this signed by john k. (his scrawled surname indecipherable). it seems unusual to me that someone would give a gift in observance of new year's day, and moreover that the inscription would appear within the book, rather than on an accompanying card, and since new year's day is my birthday (a day on which i'm accustomed to receiving gifts) i find it all the more remarkable.

the book's physical form (a softcover) is odd also: unlike any book i'm familiar with, the horizontal edges are not level, but rather inclined at a slight angle, creating a trapezoid, somewhat like this 1966 sculpture rather than a rectangle. it's quite bizarre and i can't imagine how or why it came to be produced this way.


the poem in its entirety is subdivided in sections titled after the symbols appearing on a ouija board and this book contains Yes, &, No. one of the lines that pops out at me while skimming is "NOTHING IS EVER EVER LOST". one of the speakers, the mirabell who appears in the second book, is represented, for whatever reason, by the designation '741', which mirrored (and there are plenty of mirrors throughout) is 147. a google image search on scripts for the pageant reveals a 2008 contemporary art installation named after the book which consists of a chandelier (and, apparently, a morse code unit, though i don't see it in the photo).


that i should find this unusual book waiting for me is just another one of those things; to quote page 213: "NO ACCIDENT".
Tags: 47, exactly everything, found bizarre/found bazaar, found in translation, grace notes, i don't make this up, jm, stumbled upon
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