Public Execution – Bodies of the Soul, from Caravaggio’s Dagger 6.1

The Flaying of St. Bartholomew - Jaume Huguet 1412-1492

The Flaying of St. Bartholomew – Jaume Huguet 1412-1492

The indifference to others’ mortal pain, to the point of preference for the spectacle of it being inflicted, and also the schism between belief and persecution, are the subjects of the poem, which opens the concluding Taxonomy of my 2013 book Caravaggio’s Dagger. This concluding Taxonomy, in a work whose theme is a pursuit of right action, examines how the artistry of place can assist in an awareness of the inexorability of war and social disruption.

Bodies of the Soul was written between 22 June 2004 and 7 February 2013, in Vancouver (British Columbia), at Seal Cove on Grand Manan Island in New Brunswick, and at Edmonton (Alberta), and was published shortly after its completion by St. Thomas University’s Nashwaak Review (Fredericton, NB), 30/31, 45 (2013).

When first drafting the poem I was reading the late George Jonas’s book of poetry The East Wind Blows West, in which I found the translations of George Faludy’s poems the most interesting. Both Jonas and Faludy were Hungarian, and I had admired Faludy’s work already many years before. I still admire it. I was also studying Verdi’s Macbeth and Shakespeare’s Richard II, and had recently read Michael Cunningham’s The Hours and Naguib Mahfouz’s The Beggar.

Caravaggio’s Dagger is published by Iguana Books (Toronto, Ontario, 2013, 105 pp.). It can be obtained from the publisher, and from Amazon, Chapters Indigo, and many other international online distributors. Buy it here, or here or here. Kindle, ePub, or print edition.





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