Friday, February 22, 2008

Book note: Prayers from an Island, by Richard Wong

One of the hazards of selling used books for a living is that previously unknown books have a habit of popping up (via trade-ins, or estate buys, etc.). And some of them just practically demand that you stop and read at least part of them.

In that vein, I've just come across Prayers from an Island by Richard Wong, preface by J. Akuhead Pupule, published by John Knox Press, Richmond, Virginia, 1968. According to the preface, Reverend Wong wrote special prayers - or "words to live by" - for Pupule's radio show, which aired in Hawaii. This book collects Wong's words to live by, month by month. And it kind of brought work around here to a screeching halt...

An example (from page 58):

Save us from comfortable sins, our Father, that grasp us and have us in their power:

the ritual of busy-ness that has no meaning,

the easy desecration of other people's character,

and the endless boredom because we attempt so little.

Help us to find satisfactions won through risks. Amen.

Another (page 10):

When we are strong enough to stop telling the Big Lie, O God, give us even more courage to stop telling the little smooth lies. Amen.
Another (page 67):

God of the storms and of the calms, we praise thee not only for the times of tranquility but also for the times of fury when winds twist trees and life jumbles our plans - for the world without storms and our lives without agony would bring us nothing to grow on. Make us glad for stormy weather. Amen.
P.S. A quick google shows that "J. Akuhead Pupule" was an invented name, belonging to one Hal Lewis. I have some (fading) memories of radio back in the 1960s. In my part of the world, at least, as I recall all the on-air radio personalities operated under names not their own, and usually on the silly side. For a while, the television weather lady did, too. (She went through several names, but I remember one of the long-running ones was Susie Snowflake.)

1 comment:

Searching Soul said...

Another winner of a book. I'm not sure how I happened upon your blog, but I am thoroughly enjoying it. Thanks for all your work (and evident joy) in writing about such great books!