Dean Koontz’s “Book Of Counted Sorrows”

For all those Dean Koontz fans, who always wonder about the snippets of poetry at the beginning of many of his books.

The Book of Counted Sorrows was originally a nonexistent book “quoted” in many of Dean Koontz’s books. Koontz subsequently wrote a book of poetry by the same title.[1]

The Book of Counted Sorrows was originally a nonexistent book “quoted” in many of Dean Koontz’s books. Koontz subsequently wrote a book of poetry by the same title.[1]

Non-existent book 
For many years Koontz fans everywhere searched for this elusive book.[citation needed] Many librarians were frustrated in their attempts to locate it,[1] because it did not exist. This was confirmed by a librarian from Cedar Rapids Public Library who corresponded with Koontz regarding this mysterious book. Koontz himself stated that he received up to 3,000 letters per year inquiring about it.[1]
In a letter dated August 10, 1992,m Koontz stated:
Actually, there is no such book. I made it up. The way you made up footnote sources for fabricated facts in high-school English reports. Oh, come on, yes, you did. Sometimes, when I need a bit of verse to convey some of the underlying themes of a section of a novel, I can’t find anything applicable, so I write my own and attribute it to this imaginary tome. I figured readers would eventually realize THE BOOK OF COUNTED SORROWS was my own invention, and I never expected that one day librarians and booksellers would be writing from all over the country, asking for help in tracking down this rare and mysterious volume![2]
Koontz went on to say that he would publish such a book in a few years, when he had enough verses to fill a volume. He included a history of the poems in the beginning of the book, followed by the poems, some having never been in any of his books.[1] According to Shannon Presley of Harvest Books, “Koontz himself wrote the poems, attributed to a Stephen Crane…you can find the collected poems at http://user.xmission.com/~emailbox/koontz/sorrows.htm#Sole_Survivor”

Second non-existent book 

In the beginning of a very few books (such as Odd Thomas), Koontz quotes from The Book of Counted Joys.

Actual Book

In 2001, The Book of Counted Sorrows was published in an e-book format offered exclusively through Barnes & Noble;[3] It was the first book published in Barnes & Noble’s launch of its first-ever list of books from its newly formed electronic-publishing division, Barnes & Noble Digital, and “quickly became Barnesandnoble.com’s best-selling e-books of the year.”[4] Barnes & Noble Digital’s premier 2001 edition is no longer available.

Later that year, Charnel House published two limited editions of the book: a 1250-copy numbered edition and a 26-copy lettered edition.[5] Both editions quickly sold out from the publisher.[citation needed] In the summer of 2009, Dogged Press issued a 3000-copy hardcover edition.

Sources

Greenberg, Martin H.; Gorman, Ed; Munster, Bill, eds. (1994). The Dean Koontz Companion. New York: Berkeley Books.

References

  1. a b c d Dean Koontz. Podcast Episode 25: Book of Counted Sorrows 1 (Podcast). Retrieved July 9, 2011.
  2.  Bauch, Chelsea (December 10, 2010). “When Real Books Inspire Fake Books”. FlavorWire.com. Retrieved July 2, 2011.
  3. “The Book of Counted Sorrows 1”. Retrieved 1 February 2013.
  4. DSN Retailing Today 40 (21). November 5, 2001. p. 6 http://infotrac.galegroup.com/itw/infomark/795/268/10838164w16/purl=rc1_PRS_0_A79867442&dyn=5!xrn_1_0_A79867442?sw_aep=frlopacplus. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  5.  Stefko, Joe (2001). The Book of Counted Sorrows. Retrieved July 2, 2011. Illustrated by Theresa De Perez
  6. Charnel House Press Ki

From Wikipedia – https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Book_of_Counted_Sorrows

               In the fields of life, a harvest 

                  sometimes comes far out of season,

                  when we thought the earth was old

                   and could see no earthly reason

                   to rise for work at break of dawn,

                   and put our muscles to the test.

                 With winter here and autumn gone,

                   it just seems best to rest, to rest. 

                    But under winter fields so cold,

                  wait the dormant seeds of seasons

                  unborn, and so the heart does hold

                   hope that heals all bitter lesions.

                    In the fields of life, a harvest.



               Life is a gift that must be given back

               and joy should arise from its possession.

                It’s too damned short, and that’s a fact.

                Hard to accept, this earthly procession

                  to final darkness is a journey done,

                 circle completed, work of art sublime,

                 a sweet melodic rhyme, a battle won.



                  Death is no fearsome mystery.

                   He is well known to thee and me.

                    He had no secrets he can keep

                   to trouble any good man’s sleep.

             
                 Turn not thy face from Death away.

                  Care not he takes our breath away.

                  Fear him not, he’s not thy master,

                     rushing at thee faster, faster.

                    Not thy master but servant to

                   the Maker of thee, what or Who

                     created Death, created thee

                       and is the only mystery                   

                   

                           In the real world

                            as in dreams,

                           nothing is quite

                           what it seems.

           

                         Life without meaning

                          cannot be borne.

                          We find a mission

                        to which we’re sworn

                         – or answer the call

                        of Death’s dark horn.

                         Without a gleaning

                          of purpose in life,

                         we have no vision,

                           we live in strife,

                           or let blood fall

                          on a suicide knife.



                      Nowhere can a secret keep

                    always secret, dark and deep,

                      half so well as in the past,

                      buried deep to last, to last.



                    Keep it in your own dark heart,

                     otherwise the rumors start.



                    After many years have buried

                    secrets over which you worried,

                     no confidant can then detray

                     all the words you didn’t say.



                      Only you can then exhume

                     secrets safe within the tomb

                       of memory, of memory,

                     within the tomb of memory

.
                          In the real world 

                            as in dreams,

                           nothing is quite

                           what it seems.



                         Vibrations in a wire.

                             Ice crystals

                         in a beating heart.

                              Cold fire.



                          A mind’s frigidity:

                            frozen steel,

                        dark rage, morbidity.

                              Cold fire.



                          Defense against 

                             a cruel life

                          death and strife:

                              Cold fire.



                      Living in the modern age,

                     death for virtue is the wage.

                     So it seems in darker hours.

                     Evil wins, kindness cowers.



                      Ruled by violence and vice

                     We all stand upon thin ice.

                     Are we brave or are we mice,

                    here upon such thin, thin ice?



                    Dare we linger, dare we skate?

                     Dare we laugh or celebrate,

                   knowing we may strain the ice?

                     Preserve the ice at any price?



                         Faraway in China,

                      the people sometimes say,

                        life is often bitter and

                         all too seldom gay.

                        Bitter as dragon tears,

                    great cascades of sorrows flood

                         down all the years,

                      drowning our tomorrows.



                         Faraway in China,

                         the people also say,

                       life is sometimes joyous

                         if all too often gray,

                      Although life is seasoned

                       with bitter dragon tears,

                       seasoning is just a spice

                      within our brew Of years.

                       Bad times are only rice,

                      tears are one more flavour,

                      that gives us sustenance,

                       something we can savor.

               Those who would banish the sin of greed

                embrace the sin of envy as their creed.

                Those who seek to banish envy as well,

                only draw elaborate new maps of hell.



               Those with passion to change the world,

                look of themselves as saints, as pearls,

               and by the launching of noble endeavor,

                  flee dreaded introspection forever.



                     Evil is no faceless stranger,

                   living in a distant neighborhood.

                Evil has a wholesome, hometown face,

                  with merry eyes and an open smile.

                 Evil walks among us, wearing a mask

                    which looks like all our faces.



                   Beaches, surfers, California girls.

                 Wind scented with fabulous dreams.

                   Bougainvillea, groves of oranges.

                  Stars are born, everything gleams.



                   A weather change. Shadows fall.

                  New scent upon the wind – decay.

                  Cocaine, Uzis, drive-by shootings.

                  Death is a banker. Everyone pays.



                 Under the winter moon’s pale light,

                   across the cold and starry night,

                 from snowy mountains soaring high

                    to ocean shores echoes the cry.

                 From barren sands to verdant fields,

                   from city streets to lonely wealds,

                   cries the tortured human heart,

                   seeking solace, wisdom, a chart

                   by which to understand its plight

                  under the winter moon’s pale light.

                   Dawn is unable to fade the night.

                    Must we live ‘ever in the blight

                  under the winter moon’s cold light,

                  lost in loneliness, hate, and fright,

                  last night, tonight, tomorrow night

                 under the winter moon’s bleak light?



                Winter that year was strange and gray.

                The damp wind smelled of Apocalypse,

                and morning skies had a peculiar way

                  of slipping cat-quick into the night.



               At the point where hope and reason part,

               lies the spot where madness gets a start.

                 Hope to make world kinder and free –

                  but flowers af hope root in reality.



               No peaceful bed exists for lamb and lion,

               unless on some world out beyond Orion.

              Do not instruct the owls to spare the mice.

                 Owls acting as owls must is not vice

.
               Storms do not respond to heartfelt pleas.

               All the words of men can’t calm the seas.

                Nature – always beneficent and cruel –

                  won’t change for wise man or fool.



              Mankind shares all Nature’s imperfections,

                 clearly visible to casual inspections.

               Resisting betterment is the human trait.

                 The ideal of utopia is our tragic fate.



               Those who would banish the sin of greed

                embrace the sin of envy as their creed.

                Those who seek to banish envy as well,

                only draw elaborate new maps of hell.



               Those with passion to change the world,

                look on themselves as saints, as pearls,

               and by the launching of noble endeavor,

                  flee dreaded introspection forever

.
                      All of us are travelers lost,

                     our tickets arranged at a cost

                   unknown but beyond our means.

                     This odd itinerary of scenes

                    – enigmatic, strange, unreal –

                     leaves us unsure how to feel.

                    No postmortem journey is rife

                     with more mystery than life

.
                     Tremulous skeins of destiny

                         flutter so ethereally

                     around me – but then I feel

                      its embrace is that of steel.



                      On the road that I taken,

                     one day, walking, I awaken,

                  amazed to see where I have come,

                   where I’m going, where I’m from.



                    This is not the path I thought.

                    This is not the place I sought.

                    This is not the dream I bought,

                    just a fever of fate I’ve caught.



                   I’ll change highways in a while,

                   at the crossroads, one more mile.

                    My path is lit by my own fire.

                    I’m going only where I desire.



                    On the road that I have taken,

                     one day, walking, I awaken.

                     One day, walking, I awaken,

                    on the road that I have taken.



                 Hope is the destination that we seek.

                  Love is the road that leads to hope.

                 Courage is the motor that drives us.

                 We travel out of darkness into faith.



                   Holy men tell us life is a mystery.

                 They embrace that concept happily.

                   But some mysteries bite and bark

                   and come to get you in the dark.



                 Darkness devours every shining day.

             Darkness demands and always have its way.

                   Darkness listens, watches, waits.

               Darkness claims the day and celebrates.

                Sometimes in silence darkness comes.

              Sometimes with a gleeful banging of drums.



                 We can embrace love, it’s not to late.

                 Why do we sleep, instead, with hate?

                    Belief requires no suspension

                   to see that Hell is our invention.

                 We make Hell real; we stoke its fires.

                  And in its flames our hope expires.

                  Heaven, too, is merely our creation.

              We can grant ourselves our own salvation.

                  All that’s requires is imagination.



                  Is there some meaning to this life?

                 What purpose lies behind the strife?

              Whence do we come, where are we bound?

                These cold questions echo and resound

                 Through each day, each lonely night.

                  We long to find the splendid light

                   That will cast a revelatory beam

               Upon the meaning of the human dream.



                      Courage, love, friendship,

                      Compassion, and empathy

                    Lift us above the simple beasts

                        And define humanity.



               To know the darkness is to love the light,

           to welcome dawn and fear the coming and night.



                 Night has patterns that can be read

                  less by the living than by the dead.



                      Where eerie figures caper

                       to some midnight music

                       that only they can hear.



                 Every eye sees its own special vision;

                 every ear hears a most different song.

              In each man’s troubled heart, and incision

                would reveal a unique, shameful wrong.



               Stranger fiends hide here in human guise

                   than reside in the valleys of Hell.

                But goodness, kindness and love arise

                 in the heart of the poor beast, as well.



                     Pestilence, disease, and war

                        haunt this sorry place.

                      And nothing lasts forever;

                    that’s a truth we have to face.



                    We spend vast energy and time

                    plotting death for one another.

                    No one, nowhere, is ever safe.

                     Not father, child, or mother.



                  Is the end of the world a-coming?

                 Is that the devil they hear humming?

                 Are those doomsday bells a-ringing?

                  Is that the Devil they hear singing?



                 Or are their dark fears exaggerated?

                  Are these doom-criers addlepated?



                Those who fear the coming of all Hells

              are those who should be feared themselves.



                          There’s no escape

                       From death’s embrace,

                        though you lead it on

                           a merry chase

.
                          The dogs of death

                           enjoy the chase.

                          Just see the smile

                        on each hound’s face.



                         The chase can’t last;

                         the dogs must feed.

                         It will come to pass

                        with terrifying speed.



                       The hounds, the hounds

                      come baying at his heels.

                      The hounds! The hounds!

                     The breath of death he feels.



                      Numberless paths of night

                      wind away from twilight.



                  Something moves within the night

                   that is not good and is not right.



                       The whisper of the dusk

                      is night shedding its husk.



                   Holy men tell us life is a mytery.

                 They embrace that concept happily.

                   But some mysteries bite and bark

                   and come to get you in the dark.



                 A rain of shadows, a storm, a squall!

                 Daylight retreats; night swallows all.

                   If good is bright, if evil is gloom,

                  high evil walls the world entombs.

                Now comes the end, the drear, Darkfall.



                 Darkness devours every shining day.

              Darkness demands and always has its way.

                   Darkness listens, watches, waits.

               Darkness claims the day and celebrates.

                Sometimes in silence darkness comes.

              Sometimes with a gleeful banging of drums.



                We can embrace love; it’s not too late.

                 Why do we sleep, instead, with hate?

                    Belief requires no suspension

                   to see that Hell is our invention.

                 We make Hell real; we stoke its fires.

                  And in its flames our hope expires.

                  Heaven, too, is merely our creation.

              We can grant ourselves out own salvation.

                  All that’s required is imagination.



                   To see what we have never seen,

                    to be what we have never been.

                    To shed the chrysalis and fly,

                    depart the earth, kiss the sky,

                    to be reborn, be someone new:

                     is this a dream or is it true.



                   Can our future be cleanly shorn

                   from a life to which we’re born?

                    Is each of us a creature free – 

                    or trapped at birth by destiny?

                   Pity those who believe the latter.

                  Without freedom, nothing matters.



                          In the real world

                            as in dreams

                           nothing is quite

                           what it seems.

                            

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