Nov/Dec 2016 • Vol. XXXVIII No. 6 The Longer LyricNovember 1, 2016 |

Fireworks

He believed that great literature was elastic, and by this he meant that it shaped itself to the concerns of each new generation of readers. Homer, he was fond of saying, is elastic. We cannot read him as Greeks, so we read him as ourselves and find in him exactly what we are looking for. Shakespeare. Elastic. Milton. Et cetera.  ∎ ∎ You're going to do it,           you said, and I said, of course I'm going to do it, and I struck the match and for a moment         your face glowed yellow in its light, and then I lit the fuse—  ∎ ∎ His mother had died. And later, his father had died, painfully. So now he had no one, or so he thought. And it was a comfort that books might speak to him in ways that were intimate and new, that this was part of their fundamental design,                  the dead speaking to the living.  ∎ ∎ —and up to the heavens with the rocket while you caug

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