Friday, May 19, 2006

Friday May 19, 2006

Filed under: General — m759 @ 2:02 AM
Peter Viereck

August 5, 1916 – May 13, 2006

The Great Bartender
by Peter Viereck (1948)

Being absurd as well as beautiful,
Magic– like art– is hoax redeemed by awe.
(Not priest but clown,
     the shuddering sorcerer
Is more astounded than
     his rapt applauders:
“Then all those props and Easters
     of my stage
Came true?  But I was joking all the time!”)
Art, being bartender, is never drunk;
And magic that believes itself, must die.
My star was rocket of my unbelief,
Launched heavenward as
     all doubt’s longings are;
     It burst when, drunk with self-belief,
I tried to be its priest and shouted upward:
“Answers at last!  If you’ll but hint
     the answers
For which earth aches, that famous
     Whence and Whither;
Assuage our howling Why? with final fact.”

— As quoted in The Practical Cogitator,
   or The Thinker’s Anthology
   Selected and Edited by
   Charles P. Curtis, Jr., and
   Ferris Greenslet,
   Third Edition, Revised and Enlarged,
   With a new Introduction by
   John H. Finley, Jr.,
   Houghton Mifflin Company,
   Boston, 1962

The dates of Viereck’s birth and death are according to this morning’s New York Times.

Related material:

Five Log24 entries
ending May 13,
 the date of Viereck’s death.

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