A Perfect Antidote for Wartime Blues
Critics were divided over whether THIS IS MY BELOVED
, by Walter Benton, was pornography or literary art when it first came out. That question really should have been answered by these lines from the very first poem in the book: "Because hate is legislated...written into/ the primer and the testament,/ shot into our blood and brain like vaccine or vitamins...I need love more than ever now..."
There's no doubt that Benton, who was born in Austria and lived later in the United States, was writing as an individual. However, considering that World War II was approaching its bloodiest worse when the book was first published in 1943, it's quite likely he was also speaking metaphorically on behalf of all humanity. Has anyone yet discovered a better antidote for the disease of international war than universal love?
Similarly, the great jazz and pop singer Arthur Prysock recorded what is now a classic spoken word version of the book (please see related CD review at Creative Thinkers International) in December 1968 when the Vietnam War had the world in tears. Small wonder, then, that a new generation marked indelibly by the Iraq War in 2007 is claiming both the book and CD version of "This Is My Beloved" for its own. In times like these, so much of what it has to say is exactly what we need to hear.
By Author-Poet Aberjhani
Author of I Made My Boy Out of Poetry
And Founder of Creative Thinkers International