Of course I began this thinking oh dear Fred is recovering from a serious
misadventure, and a little too slowly refocused on it as a dramatic monologue.
Then I thought didn't Kafka use the phrase?
A detour to wikiquote found this:
A book must be the axe for the frozen sea inside us.
Letter to Oskar Pollak (27 January 1904)
Which I copy just to show that there are Pollaks in Kafka's life in 1904.
'out for stars' has a pleasing old-poetical feel to it, and another distraction
- I think of Robert Frost somewhere.
But mainly I have enjoyed your Frozen Sea for the dramatic resonances it sets up
between the speaker and his doctor and the others thereabouts, with strong
ironies and hints of deep knowledge despite his saying 'no revelation'. The
coming universal disaster comes through with a strikingly imaginative relish...
Quoting Frederick Pollack <[log in to unmask]>:
> The Frozen Sea
> I sit by the thick glass
> and draw aside the pseudo-lace
> curtain, an unexpected
> old-world touch. Stars
> and ice. I have my own thoughts
> on both, and like being near them.
> No one else needs the bed, no one else
> gets sick as winter passes.
> And my presence, says the doc, is a jinx.
> Why was I out there? How did the engine,
> GPS and radio all fail
> at once? My explanations
> are inadequate; I say I was out for stars.
> I was lucky: the hand beneath
> the bandage has stopped itching.
> In spring I’ll be flown out, and given
> a better prosthetic foot.
> Then there will be questions, but for the moment
> the doc hazards
> a neurological diagnosis.
> I may be a jinx, but they come
> obsessively. Show up once, then
> stay away, alarmed
> and disgusted, afraid of being
> somehow compromised, then helplessly visit again.
> They ask if and when (trying not
> to say “if”) I intend to return
> to work. I say I know
> enough, now. Whatever data might show.
> I say I have the stars, and try to show
> them the stars, and cure the illusion
> that they’re receding. But I also
> assure them I’ve had no
> revelation, that there is
> no mystical knowledge. That knowledge
> is what *they – bright, gormless,
> depthless, straight-ahead,
> easily discombobulated – have;
> my state-of-the-art-professional dears,
> my brothers. That I love
> nothing and no one
> else. The doc warns me
> not to become too
> excited. I don’t. They bring me –
> I’m more of an outsider now
> than the shrink – their little problems.
> I pity significant others, strained
> by distance (though I laugh privately:
> what do they know of distance?).
> Affairs, unformulable doubts,
> memories, or just the zero-Kelvin night.
> (I tell them it’s warm.) And larger
> concerns: the sub-glacial sinkholes,
> expanding thermals under vanished ozone.
> The sickly plankton, blind seals,
> the penguin mummies on the ice. The crack
> that will swallow us
> come spring. I heard it booming, I tell them, when
> I was out there. Smelled the all-destroying wind,
> the pestilent breath of normals.
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