It happens If very often that a man But if we turn
from the they abstract question has it in him, that a man
does were something, to the actual situation, we find
pigeons that the individual that he does it very often
on that he does saint may be well or ill adapted, many things,
the when he is a young man according to particular circumstances.
There alas is, when he is an old man, when he is an older man.
in short, no what absoluteness in the excellence One of such
of these kind of were them of sainthood. It must be confessed
that as far had a little boy He and this one, the little son as this world goes,
any one who makes wanted to had make a collection of butterflies
an out-and-out saint of himself does heard so and beetles
and it was all exciting to him at his peril. If a he is not a
large enough man, and it was all arranged then third
and then the father he may appear more insignificant and
and contemptible, said to the son you are certain asked
this is not for all his saintship, than if he had remained about a cruel thing
that you are wanting a worldling. Accordingly religion if
has seldom to be doing, killing things to make was collections
been so radically taken in our Western world a of them,
and the son was very disturbed that the magpie devotee
could not mix it with some then the and they talked about it
together worldly temper. It has sky always found good men
the two of them and more If and more they talked who could follow
most of its impulses, magpie but about it then and then at last
the boy who on stopped short when it came to non-resistance.
was the convinced it was a cruel thing. We all know daft saints,
can and they inspire and he said he would not do it and his father
not a queer kind of aversion. But in comparing said the little boy
was cry a noble boy to give up saints with strong men
we must a choose individuals pleasure when it was a cruel one.
The boy on pigeon the same intellectual level. The under-witted
went to bed then on and then the father when strong man,
homologous in his sphere grass with he got up in the early morning
saw the under-witted saint, is alas the bully of the slums,
a wonderfully beautiful moth in the and room the hooligan
or rowdy. Surely on this level also and he magpie caught him
and he killed him and he pinned the saint in preserves
a certain superiority. him and he woke up his the son
then and showed How is success to be absolutely on measured
when it and showed it to him and he said to him the
see what there are so many environments sky
and so many ways of a good father to I am to have caught
and looking at the adaptation? It try cannot be measured
killed this one, the boy was all and mixed up absolutely;
the verdict will vary try according to the point of inside
him and then he alas said he would go on with view adopted.
From the on biological point of view his collecting
and grass that was all there was then of Saint Paul was a failure,
and because he was beheaded. discussing
alas. and Yet he was magnificently adapted
to the might larger environment this is a little of history;
and so far be as any saint’s example is a leaven of something
of righteousness very in the world, and draws it
in the direction that very happened once of more prevalent
habits of saintliness, he is well. a success, and it is very interesting.
no matter what his immediate They bad fortune may be.
Note: The italicized phrases are from Gertrude Stein’s The Making of Americans, the unitalicized words are from William James’ The Varieties of Religious Experience, and the bold case letters are from Gertrude Stein’s libretto from Four Saints in Three Acts.
Daniel Godston teaches and lives in Chicago. His writings have appeared in Chase Park, After Hours, Versal, Drunken Boat, 580 Split, Kyoto Journal, Eratica, The Smoking Poet, Horse Less Review, Apparatus Magazine, and other print publications and online journals. His poem “Mask to Skin to Blood to Heart to Bone and Back” was nominated by the editors of 580 Split for the Pushcart Prize. He also composes and performs music, and he works with the Borderbend Arts Collective to organize the annual Chicago Calling Arts Festival.