Jerome Berglund


It's funny how the old arts persevere, and in the quaintest bunghole of suburban Minnesota, some fetid gutter in a Korea Town slum, an insignificant pool of standing water in Iowan flyover country, on a nursing home curio shelf, ancient traditions life on, triumph modestly, imperceptible, unsung.

But let's be better than those many other Philistines, we. Make an effort to have keener eyes, more perceptive grasps of history, appreciate the potent archetypes, how they recur and transmit, reproduce almost virulently. Fortunately, these patterns' replication, persistent prevalence is worth celebrating, applauding, glorying about, rather.

So that, with effort, we may at last exult in finding acquaintance with a truth, hidden carefully in plain sight: that Ancient Greece, and the Victorian English countryside, are not, in fact, always so distant as we might imagine them to be, at a given moment. Sometimes, if we remain aware most vigilantly, keep our eyes sufficiently peeled, we will find such distant destinations may be the merest few steps away, to our profound amazement, in defiance of whatever expectations we may have internalized, assumptions of supposed modernity and the march of progress, leaving jewels of the past by the wayside. But no, the laws of physics assure us matter is never created, nor destroyed. It just changes shape, evolves in form, shifts phases, turns from liquid to gaseous. More often, rather than demolition, treasures become buried. That is a most fortuitous windfall, for it means their return demands only a tenacious archaeologist to unearth them, dust off the sediment and lift these wonders from their hideaways, return them to deserved, long omitted light, to profound public benefit and appreciation.

"Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee" was popularized by famed underaged-cousin marrier and wife-drowner Jerry Lee Lewis. It was written and first recorded by "Sticks" McGhee, who borrowed the chorus from Samuel Theard. He reportedly composed the song basing it upon chants he became familiar with from a basic training boot camp, during his time in the service. Now, let me ask you this. Were you blessed with immortality, long ago had been privileged enough to walk those ancient Grecian meadows of old, in their heyday, by the moonlight, do you not imagine you might have overheard some bacchants at worship before the altars of Dionysus, writhing in a campfire's glow, chanting something perhaps in a very different tongue, yet nonetheless strikingly similar?

Jerome Berglund graduated from the cinema-television production program at the University of Southern California, and has spent much of his career working in television and photography. He has had photographs published and awarded in local papers and last year staged an exhibition in the Twin Cities area which included a residency of several months at a local community center. The most recent show featuring his pictures, at the Pause Gallery in New York, opened in early December.

More from Issue 18

More from Visual Arts