November 23rd, 2009

The Lord Charon

Charon, the ferryman of the dead, has survived into modern Greek folklore (or, at least, 19th century Greek folkore) as a personification of death- part angel, part bogeyman. My friend [info]sovay posted some fascinating material about him yesterday- which prompted this....

The Lord Charon

For Sovay


He is not a lord like Milord Byron;

None of us is beneath his notice.

He sits in bushes and spies on us.

When the moment is right we go into his sack.


He empties that sack in a dreary garden

Where souls are planted in long straight rows,

Sending up leaves as thick as your hand

And a stalk with clusters of shiny, black fruit.

Me For Sherlock

There's a game they play on the Book Show, where they ask their writerly guests which character in fiction they'd most like to be. Last night I caught an episode where Ben Elton opted for Bertie Wooster because he is so sunny. Apparently in an earlier episode Seamus Heaney chose Jeeves.

So who would I like to be? The answer that immediately pops into my head is Sherlock Holmes. Really? Yes, really. Most of the people in books who aren't Mary Sues are sorry and suffering individuals- victims or one thing or another, or forced to jump through hoops in order to learn Life's Big Lesson. Holmes, it further occurs to me, is the only fully convincing portrait of a genius in fiction. I can't think of another. Can you?