Through exploring the psychopathology of Capgras syndrome, in which a patient mistakes a loved one for an imposter, The Echo Maker offers a sustained meditation on the ways in which we project our own problems onto other people. As a reflection on the mysteries of consciousness, the novel offers some interesting if not especially new insights into the fuzzy boundaries between scientific and literary interpretations of the mind. Read more
On the bench provided, he sits at the top of the street
On a shopping Saturday, and watches the faces,
And sweaty palms pinned to plastic bags,
Advancing on their burst between glass fronts,
Muddied with the money of modern style -
Middle-aged, middle-roaders, middling-loaded -
Until the hour takes him and he groans
To his feet and morse-steps (swing-tap, swing-tap) home,
Past on his gammy left leg. Except on Special
Occasions he has no market, and nothing to sell,
Though if you, you young enough, can catch his eye
He would tell you a story, and still have two to tell.
Comment: This poem gave me a good feeling, and yet, a rather sad feeling at the same time. I smiled at the fact that the poem also made me reminisce, just like the old soldier. It brought back memories of old soldiers I have seen (not as many left from WWII anymore) and darn if every one of them looks the same, at least now in my mind.
The sad feeling comes from the fact that this story will repeat itself again with the young men and women (from many countries) at war now across the globe.
The use of the words that double with military terms, I find most effective: "pinned," "fronts," "loaded," "advancing," "muddied" (a very muddy dough boy comes to mind) and "burst."
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This page was published on June 15, 2008 | Keywords: veteran, war, age, observation