Jim Douthit

Lunch Break

Posted on November 16 2009 12:00 pm
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October 11, 2008
A sonnet to another hero,  Barney Clark,  first recipient of an artificial heart.    Barney endured several painful operations as much for the cause of science as for himself. I liken him to Prometheus,  the Titan who was tortured by the gods when he  defied them  and brought fire to humans.

Like the first man on earth he was thrown

From leafy softness to be fettered leper-like apart;

A machine became his god,  a clock his heart,

The constant knife,  companion,  as he grasped for the unknown.

Like a drunken Viking risking the world’s rim on his own,

Scorning heaven’s compass for Jarvik’s goddamn art,

Brutish bloody meaning brought to mankind’s mapless chart,

A heartless mutineer,  he defied death’s sacred zone;

Or like the tortured Titan,  tethered,  whose soul’s storm

And fiery arms crumble the fragile wall of night:

Bright outgushing rushing color clings

To all things grim and grey;  but a frantic feathered swarm

Against the rising tide of light

–dark angels,  drowning, beat their wings…

–from “Sonnets to the Hunter,”   1990


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