Friday, November 6, 2015

The Curlew Whistles No More For Arthur Chillew

The Detroit Free Press, November 6, 1906
Just the sound of Arthur Chillew's name sounds poetic. Even the first sentence of this short blurb is prosaic. But Mr. Curlew's death was anything but magnanimous, having died in the tent hospital at Eloise 109 years ago today. Probably from tuberculosis, as the tent hospital generally catered to, and then shipped to Maney's Morgue in old Detroit, where the cadavers always seemed to end up. Yeah, there's no redemption in this epistle to the forgotten dead though the name Chillew made me think of the curlew's whistle in Robinson Jeffers's somber poem:

The Low Sky

No vulture is here, hardly a hawk,
Could long wings or great eyes fly
Under this low-lidded soft sky?

On the wide heather the curlew's whistle
Dies of its echo, it has no room
Under the low lid of this tomb.

But one to whom mind and imagination
Sometimes used to seem burdensome
Is glad to lie down awhile in the tomb.

Among stones and quietness
The mind dissolves without a sound,
The flesh drops into the ground.

Hardly a proper epitaph for the named dead of Eloise but it'll have to do until I have time to follow-up on Mr. Chillew.

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