On Giving Yourself Over to Something

Leon Edel’s lifetime profession
Gave us the life and times of Henry James.
Titanic interest in an austere soul
Spilled over the bowl – again and again –
Into five volumes, bookchat, marital toll.
This last comes not from the Master’s lesson,
But that other act we are grateful for:
Sifting through the booze-perfumed late journals
Of podophile Princeton-man of letters,
Wilson – that extramural mind eternal.
As a deliverer of dead men’s mail,
Edel is the postmaster general;
By bestriding these two, we know better
Whether to craft focused, painful, lives
Or be like one text stretched into five.