The Keeners’ Manual

The late Richard Condon frequently included epigraphs credited to The Keeners’ Manual. Here are as many entries as I can locate.

The Oldest Confession (1958)

The Oldest Confession
Is one of Need,
Half the need love,
The other half greed.

The Manchurian Candidate (1959)

I am you and you are me and what have we done to each other?

Some Angry Angel (1960)

Some angry angel,
Bleared by Bach and too inbred,
Climbed out of bed,
Pulled on a sock,
And, glancing downward,
Threw a rock
Which struck an earthbound peacock’s head.
The peacock fell.
The peacock’s yell,
Outraged by such treason,
Cried out to know why it,
Out of billions,
Should be hit,
And instantly invented a reason.

A Talent for Loving (1961)

The riches I bring you
Crowding and shoving,
Are the envy of princes:
A talent for loving.

An Infinity of Mirrors (1964)

God surrounded me with an infinity of mirrors which repeat my image again and again and again.

Any God Will Do (1966)

Interest is the key to life,
Interest is the clue,
Interest is the drum and fife
And any God will do.

The Ecstasy Business (1967)

Let us go down to the peep show,
For a taste of life and sex to see,
Let us go down to that place of dreams,
For a peek at the business of ecstasy.

The Vertical Smile (1971)


And Then We Moved to Rossenarra (1973)

(“The Optimist’s Song”)

Winter, dear, I’m patient; have your fling.
Go and snow,
Storm and blow,
You’re just a batch of time, you know,
And soon you will be spring.

Winter Kills (1974)

Minutes trudge,
Hours run,
Years fly,
Decades stun.
Spring seduces,
Summer thrills,
Autumn sates,
Winter kills.

Money is Love (1975)

Money, money, always money,
Is money a new kind of language of love?
Would you talk about money to the Easter bunny?
Does a dove coo money to another dove?
Fill up nine canoesful,
Money is baroque--
The only time it’s useful,
Is when you’re broke.

The Abandoned Woman (1977)

Ne’er read a tale for historical facts;
Read tales for historical truth,
Why take a woman who’s all chips and cracks?
You can have one in passionate youth.
History, a mirror which facets ten mirrors
Concealed in a mummy propped up in a booth,
Or, ‘tis also a woman, abandoned and naked
Who pants on a divan to embrace the right sleuth.

Death of A Politician (1978)

This is my body
Up for sale,
This is my conscience
Deadly pale,
This is my sanity
Price tag peeping.
These are my people
Why are they weeping?

The Entwining (1980)

When we drink and when we dine,
When we lust and when we pine,
When we’re born, or life declining,
The present writhes with the past entwining.

A Trembling Upon Rome (1983)

God averted His eye
As the purpled cardinals
Raised up the lie
Of a guilty Church
As unctuous Latin psalms
Were chanted,
As Johannus Hus ranted,
As the cardinals swayed
And slanted,
In mincing lurch,
Jewelled rings extended
To hope, knee bended,
Aspergilla tended,
Censers carrying out the search.

Choirs shrilled their hymns to power,
Holy, holy be its name,
Eternal light and shining tower,
Sword of might and sacred flame.

Prizzi’s Glory (1988)

Seeking good fortune
As we rise from the mud,
‘Tis often we’re paid
From a purse filled with blood.

The Final Addiction (1991)

Squinting through the plugged keyhole of the past,
Spying on himself, (as it were),
He saw that he had been wearing
Someone else’s identity
All the time.

I’m a big fan of Richard Condon’s novels. Here, I have assembled as many of the epigraphs from The Keeners’ Manual as I can. Thanks to Sue Curran, I have discovered that at least one epigraph (from A Trembling Upon Rome) appears in only some editions of that title, so this remains a work in progress. I have examined at least one copy of every Condon title, but it appears that this is not enough.

Please send me any comments, questions, or information about selections from The Keeners’ Manual which fail to appear here. An answer to the most common question: no such book exists, these quotes are all there is. Enjoy!