the paumanok review yellow background background image
Skip navigation
D.E. Fredd decorative flourish The Professor and Philosopher

Perhaps you feel our union is modeled after O’Brian’s Captain Aubrey and Stephen Maturin.

Fine wines, good food and music, to say nothing of glorious flora and fauna,

Will delight our connubial voyage.

But let us not forget the mistrals, levanters and siroccos that can sweep down and buffet any Mediterranean marital barque.

I cannot, therefore, promise you a happy or even alternative ending as Dickens might.

And destiny will not always bare its character by signpost surnames like Podsnap, Tappertit, or Bumble.

You must also endure prolixity and circumlocution from me.

The comma is both my métier and curse.

I will attribute my darker moods to a liver complaint which attends those sensitive souls in Thackeray.

You will no doubt swoon, suffer the vapours and be indisposed to receive guests as did Trollope.

And, whatever our fate, it will surely converge upon us like Hardy’s iceberg, inexorably.

Yet I shall face it for both of us with a Conradian stolidity and narrate it as dispassionately as Marlow would.

But, for now, I am reminded of Ishmael perched aloft in the crow’s nest who gazing from on high at the azure Pacific

was captivated by its beauty

as I am by yours, my dear.

Until he realized that one slip would send him plummeting beneath the placid façade

To greet the monstrous terrors lurking below.

It will be your wifely duty, then, to stick to the exteriors of life,

My beacon as it were,

To natter and prattle about like Mrs. Bennett

While I, Kurtz-like, continue to probe the dusky interiors,

Climbing higher each time, gathering momentum, so as to plunge ever deeper

Hoping to touch bottom and the white purity of its torment.

I promise you all this and nothing less, my dearest.


D. E. Fredd lives in north central Massachusetts and teaches at a small New Hampshire College. He has published poetry in The Paris Review and Café Review. Short fiction soon will or has appeared in The Transatlantic Review, Southern Humanities Review, Rosebud, 13th Warrior Review, Word Riot, The Armchair Aesthete and others he forgets. A novel, “Exiled to Moab”, and a collection of many stories is awaiting publication.