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The Service of A Quiet Man

The Service of A Quiet Man

In such a noisy, busy world where glibness and quickness are often mistaken for talent and success, the service a quiet man must perform is necessarily a small one: So writes the author of “The Service of a Quiet Man.”

Milton in his universally famous poem, “Sonnet XVII,” more popularly entitled “On His Blindness,” reflects the Puritan (and largely Christian) maxim that one must in whatever capacity offer personal service (‘sacrifice’) to God, and that this ‘gift’ is most acknowledged and praised by those who “best Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best,” even beyond those, privileged by their Earthly success and ambition, may offer much more.  “They also serve whom only stand and wait.”

“Gotta Serve Somebody” sings Bob Dylan in his composition that has been covered by a number of notable recording artists including Natalie Cole.

You might like to eat caviar, you might like to eat bread
You may be sleeping on the floor, sleeping in a king-sized bed.

But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
You’re gonna have to serve somebody,
It may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody.

Dylan’s lyrics reveal scant spiritual concern or personal significance between those who may materially flaunt their sacrifices to a ‘higher power’ and those who willingly or unwillingly can only offer their poverty, their humility, their powerlessness.  Devil or Lord, Good or Bad, one is without exception a limited, negotiating Being in an amoral Nietzschean World.

So who exactly does Myott, the main character in this book, serve?  What impulse dictates?

First Published in American Literary Journal, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA