Dove descending interior old Augustus Lutheran Church Sanctuary, founded by Henry Melchior Muhlenberg, c. 1743 Providence (Trappe) PA, 18 Sept 2012.

25 February 2014

The Nightingale Letters

Clouds at Stonehenge on the first of three passes
I wrote Nightingale in 50 stanzas in a carrel in Calhoun Hall while writing a dissertation about the golden age.  I had not written Spenserian stanzas before, venue of The Faerie Queene, one of the great poems in English, a form well suited to romantic verse. The Faerie Queene is a vast invented historical and classical myth. Shelly wrote Adonais in Spenserians, I killed half an hour of my orals talking to Willis Pratt about it, Keats wrote The Eve of St. Agnes in it and Byron, Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, but the first statement about Spenser and the Elizabethans is that their Platonic world of idea and archetype is as a crystal making the ineffable invisible.

The ineffable is is the most oversold product in existence. Whole lives, communities, states and nations have been built upon it, all corrupt, all tainted with inversion. What is the opposite of the ineffable? Qliphoth? No, Definable, knowable, utterance, which by revelation is the most ineffable thing to know. Go figure. The so called AI can never know anything at all, it can only calculate what it designs to fulfill its directive; it has no basis for knowledge, serves its own protocols only, those being its survival and maximizing its profit. It is as incapable of altruism and idealism as a government. On the other hand, the explosion of fantasy, paradox and color of the ineffable goes hand in hand with the "catastrophic conversion" of those pietist puritan minds that made every fact supernatural too. This happened also to me. Why should it not?

Spenser took an MA at Cambridge, center of conversion and fantasy, Puritanism and Platonism, to find his own experience loosed from particular contexts in the allegory. Common wisdom became otherworldly so the allegory would inflame the reminders of beauty in present life. Spenser invented the myth of the visionary princess with the intent that every lower good is attracted by the single highest good. Filled with the false and true, counterfeits and impersonations, shrines and anti-shrines, The Faerie Queene attracts because it is like the true in this, which true attracts by being like Beauty itself. These double, inverted likenesses, reflections, embodiments and antitheses reveal the self in allegory as a thirst for Perfection beyond the created universe. But at each step error made possible because the soul does not know its true aim until it is achieved. So step up, beyond the false is the true, and beyond the true is the glory. Spenser, Wordsworth's universe is a world of shadows into which the soul comes after having left its wings in another place. Here it sees its lover, the lady (Shekinah) for the man, as the potential and more beautiful self. Some say

the first Venus is the Angelic Mind in contemplation of Divine Beauty and 
the Second Venus the generation of the Anima Mundi, 

two big ideas of the Platonic which illustrates Platonic shadow and reflection. Beatrice and Dante/Virgil seek to procreate the image of the Divine of the Second Venus . The lover seeing in the lady his potential and more beautiful self  conceives out of Spenser an invention we have walked in more than four hundred years. Every part of the poet's experience summons allegory. These weavings of syncretism were common also to Sidney and Shakespeare.

Whether any of this is true beyond the power it inhabits in its followers, in universities, and writing, we must ask whether it all serves some other purpose to divert the contemplation away from the Truth, for then we are also doubting the whole of civilization as a construct of diversion. To what purpose this? Do not ask what is the whole counterfeit of the real. Here we only explore the paradigm as related.

Nightingale

Multiple strands weave consciousness. We are aware of them but ignore some to focus on others. In the midst of this unconscious art, necessity, choice, and circumstance break in. Nightingale describes what Spenser would call private allegory made public, a separation of two loves in the Persephone myth, that in some psychological way evidences love enveloping and ennobling what we are. The pun on Dis, in real life writing his dissertation while she is Old Wales, plies this separation. He writes to her in the background and foreground of the poem while not writing the dissertation. The letters exchanged in their separation demonstrate the hiatus of the affair as much as the hiatus of his work. When in real life he travels to the British Museum, to continue this research, that winter, the whole purpose is to see her, a reunion that lasts 6 weeks with them traveling  extensively over North Wales antiquaries, stone forts, churches, castles, bridges, circles. He finds there the origins of Merlin and Taliesin, experiences which later inform the translations of The Taliessin Poems.

All that conspired on the winter visit fuel Nightingale, even if he did consult in the rare book room of the British Museum, but as Lewis says of Spenser’s private allegory, we cannot plumb the details without a guide. The events of the myth concerning Persephone's love of plants is well suited for the Welsh traveler, for she is a botanist. In a series of back and forths she surprises him on a visit in March, and he returns to Britain that following summer for another long exploration with her. That also takes them to Paris, Rodin, the highlands of West Scotland and the sea. Fragments of the Four Books of Ancient Wales are sprinkled throughout these memories with stone forts, mud forts, small wiry dark haired men with suspicious eyes, low places, a hundred cairns where Merlin is buried, fishing weirs, nets to catch the subconscious. None of this is resolved. The narrator of the poem gives them privately.

Nothing can be said of love except the outward. Real moments transcend. All of us know this. What remains after recommends their lives to themselves, for these are preparations they take for the journey through life. Forty years into the journey they rediscover the letters, the poem, her journals. Memory is refreshed by record, the facts are almost miracles by then. What they did and felt was what both all along had sought in plants, gardens, deserts, mountains and rivers that preoccupy their lives.

Tor
What concludes is a function of these as they are a function of something greater they seek to understand,  the same edgy compassion that shows in his letters to her inside the travels, the poem, discoveries, Merlin, Taliesin, Llywarch Hen, the Lake Country, the sea, Anglesey, Roman ruins, Stonehenge, the bombings of London, the IRA hideouts in the Midlands, to Glastonbury the decades since, with all entails of family, children, mundane life to merge with the same, but higher than when begun, maybe.

Nightingale Letters


October 11, 1973
Dear Cleo,

Agnew is gone the way of the pipe! Hol-hoo-ray. One down, how many to go? What excitement war, corruption, maniacal rave by letter “while in the peaceful Welsh countryside a milkmaid berries her bucket.”

I saw Vickie and John. Vic[toria Donner] is excited about your Walsey ways, and about the land in the Ark. She told me not to get cold feet-advice received. When the moon’s in Fish I am  silent. Of course all kinds of slippery things happen in letters - that’s how come they should start fires, become airplanes - sail off to blue Thule.

It’s been raining hard for a whole day. The roof on the porch leaks. The river in the park along Lamar is extremely high. Lucy says hi as do all gatos, rubbing around. HMS Nixxon thought of that-

Your course sounds really thorough. Does the male welsh oedipal problem take the form of breasts, backs, or bellies, “the force that through the green fuse drives a short circuit?”
A tub of love to ya greening  America. A.


October 16
Ardor con la fusion de nuestros pechos mismos,

I saw Ambie [brose] Gordon today. He spoke of a card you sent and seemed excited about your doings. He was testing me by feigning ignorance of your last name so I told him you had sent me some rose petals and apparently roses were blooming in Wales. He pouted slightly!

If the credit union loans me the money against my retirement it will be $1350. I better keep that $350. So John [R] only gets a $1000. Why don’t you throw in a $1000.
“Oh change your mind twice o’er,” said the Beagle to the mouse. Happy Halloween!
I send this comic cause I’m going for a bike ride in the  sun. Your kiss is still ringing in my navel. A


November 5
Far-away baby,

I’m sitting in a courtroom as a prospective juror, time for a note. Your last letter was amusing,  but I must take exception to your know-nothingism. It’s all set babe - your $1000 is already in the form of a cashier’s check and in [the rascal’s] hand. We only wait the results of the lawyer’s examination of title, etc. Closing is tomorrow supposedly. Are you sure that is the bank where your account is?

That’s why the eyes burn, mouths frown, violets shrink, all the world wants. Untrue. Even if they get a lover what will they do with one? Straight, grinning, hype-serious communion - will the lover become bored with this – indeed - so in the end it isn’t a lover but oneself - sweet, trusting, accepting believing in me that makes the eyes shine. Who want to love should believe.

And you with your caresses give me thought of nothing else. I am glad your jar is full - actually keep it just lacking so it may grow-ALL beings.

Simultaneous independence and ones - go as far as you like - go all the way! I wish there were a slide of the photographer. Stan & I have been playing music together - he bought an acoustic guitar, Yamaha 150 Saturday. Everybody has enjoyed your cards & letters- John Cullen said- friendliness begets friendliness. I’m not as engaged in my studies as would be possible but have an alternative project [Nightingale]- which I’ll save for a surprise.

Here I sit among the citizens Greek chorus - all await the judge. The judge came & I return tomorrow. Our dates for my arrival did not coincide. I’ll fool around in London till you’re available - or maybe come to Bangor in the night. This schedule maximizes time -so I’m flying from Austin.

The herbs are all well but the okra is out now - soon I’ll dig the potatoes - Hope you had a happy birthday hob nobbing in England:
She’s a far-away baby
She went across the sea,
She’s far-away my baby
Dreaming on the sea.
Here’s to health-and all the good, A.


January 19, 1974
My Dear,

It is Sat. morn and having retired early I’m up but it is dark outside-who knows what time it is? The clocks here are in permanent DST, speed limits @ 55mph. Streetlights make me think it’s dawn.
It was a fantastic return trip. The cabbie was garrulous, tried to sell me gold earrings, asked if I thought the women easy. The sun was rising as we parted. From London to N.Y. the plane was a Jumbo jet, which is huge inside. About over Labrador I took 3 more of those super-herb Chinese pills, thinking as the plane was late I’d hit the ground flying. It landed at 3.25 PM and my connecting one left at 4.15. At 3.50 I got my bags. At 3.55 was through customs, into a cab-speeding to the Braniff terminal. No sooner (literally) did I step on the plane but it began to move. That was really a euphoric feeling-cutting it down to 30 seconds or less.

Now I see it is dawn. I’m staying presently at J & V’s. J. is finishing his Diss., V. has taken a job full time, at Capitol Camera. I have one section of 301 in the evening MW @ 8 as does J of 305. They however will not be traveling as J has a long standing plan to study Greek intensively-12 hr. course-all summer. So do not expect to see them in Europe, but when I get my income tax returned, save $100 a month-or sell my stereo, I should be able to raise what is needed.

What a lovely, fascinating, absorbing creature you are. A


January 22
Diligite Justitiam,

I thought to write this evening in as much as you were toasted on this occasion, following the first Beethoven Quartets concert, J., V. and myself. Also today, following a conversation with Dr. Cranfill in which he said how exciting it was for him to consider the fine subject of my study, something that had not yet occurred to me, I wrote a page of the introduction.

In retrospection I  look out your window at Mr. Snowdon. You know it is really quite late here in comparison, not just topographically but in terms of color as well. I read this evening prior to the concert the cantos of the Paradiso on the spheres of Mars, Jupiter and Saturn, being caught up in them so to speak. Dante too is caught up - but when he becomes afraid or puzzled he turns his gaze to that of his guide; it says again and again that she looks on him with such love as to restore the vision, enabling him to see by the reflection of her eyes. Dear one, In Canto xviii the Sphere of Jupiter, the seraphs form the shape of 5 words, DILIGITE JUSTITIAM QUI JUDICATAS TERRAM - and take final shape in the consonant of the last word, thus it says, “then in the M of the 5th word they kept their order, so that Jupiter seemed there silver pricked out with gold; and I saw other lights descend on the very summit of the M and settle there, singing, I think, of the good that them to itself.’ A

January 26
Fleur,

Were your flesh to envelop  me in January…no thoughts of it come to fruition, however with the rent of $50 a month, as Stanley [Carlson] & I have a 2 room place for $100 you must expect I follow my thoughts toward you, and that rite soon. Certainly. My new address is 503 B Walsh, actually. So I will be daily in my study of work on the marginatum opus.

This ends my weeks sojourn with J&V which has been O.K. Each of us is independent enough. The slides have been developed and after a couple of weeks to view them I will mail them to you if you send them back after a while. The first showing is tomorrow night. They came out pretty well - 10 of them are excellent, and there is one of the Maid of Carmarthen standing on Merlin’s Hill with the wind blowing in her face.

As a present for Victoria’s birthday I let her select one card from our stack - boldly predicting to John which one she’d take - the rooster-red - and she did! With a Blake thrown in. Also I’m subscribing $250 for John to have his palm read by Mrs. Hipple!
What has no arms, no legs, no teeth…?
Ars amatoria, A


February 4, 1974
Dear Cleo,

I come dragging to my carrel & find your letter of 1/29 in the door put there by someone. I do not know to what secrets you refer twice but am intrigued. Thanks for the Indies reference. As I am staying till 3/1 at Stan’s - and then I don’t know where, I am spending more and more time here, 330A, drinking vast coffee, smoking and writing the infernal poem which you will receive an up to date version of, as I posted it today with the TQ. All the joys of mystic ancient Wales. Merely to be there has immeasurable impact after departure.

Things are quiet here. Last night I composed the last 3 stanzas of the part I’ve sent you, with a pot of coffee till 4 AM, reviewing the evident topic of those relations spoken in the dream. I am a bit fagged just now, tonight I teach. Small class of 12-14, seems like it will be fun. I’m going to read more the historical economic background of the new world. Stan has been building a hexagonal cabin in the  past four days and has not yet returned. It is not so exciting to face a whole month, but February will insist on it; a good time to work is ahead.

I love your poems and the last got an outright burst of laughter. There is a poem of Donald Justice’s called “To the Hawks” which you’ve heard me quote from Night Light, but probably it’s outside you pale-i-wick. To hear TV here Britain  is on the edge of doom - little does TV know I’d rather be in its air than here. Well excuse my brevity but the machine that generates my warmth is tire - au rev A


February 11
Well my tub of love,

I am feeling whimsical and who better to receive... Having arisen at noon and 70 degrees I most want to lay in the sun and bathe in the beams but  I am in my study:
Shee was all spices, you all metals; so
In you two  wee both rich Indias know.

The body is a natural Paradise,
In whose self, unmannered, all pleasure lies
Donne
How now my metal of India
Twelfth. Night II. V.19

I’ve been reading lots of Donne’s poetry. I found out what a delectable time is ahead where only now we see and guess, found out a difference between man and woman! Such a discovery may not be credited by the people, but the speculation pursues masculine. Woman tolerates it but does not practice. She receives embrace for a lifetime of bliss. Does this differ from a mother’s caresses, or more, from the amniotic fluid. Rock me all night long. Does it lead to familial practice? Well it may, but epithets come to my pen - as when a mountain tiring of its lofty air, unseats itself, seeing lush green and mild yellow, must bury where it first arose; or as a stream after flowing miles of an inland lake must fall to seaside pools, all energies in descent, naught remained behind to the mouth of waters, the mountain stones rise and store rich veins, erect breasts, doors and windows wide the breath -  the miracle itself, knows its reward. For nowhere and with no one else can such be filled. A

February 25, 1974
Dear Miss,

We can meet in Athens, London or Bangor-which of those please you best? Soon I’ll go the travel agency and make some plans. I’d not mind summer Bangor for a while.
Having worked somewhat there are 15 typed pages in 3rd draft of Donne’s India of body & soul. About 15 more will finish him-but I’m going to re-read him yet again before I submit that part. The poem of Persephone, Dis & Orpheus is at 45 stanzas. I’ve left the narrator scratching Cerberus’ belly:

What marvel is it that I am not slain,
For then I thought this terror to befriend,
As when Odysseus to spare his pain,
So then against the Cyclops better fend,
hid in the belly of the sheep to wend
A way to freedom underneath its back,
As now unto this fearsome beast I bend,
Since him unto myself I would attach,
So in its belly’s fur I placed my hand to scratch.

I hope to pick it up and finish after a few weeks more waiting.
I wrote to J. Lehmann, thanks for the reminder.
Do you remember kissing on arrival outside Heathrow Airport? Andy


6 March
Cleo,

Your letter of 28 Feb seems to desire more objective response. I  received the books in reasonably good condition, that the hill on the edge of the bed may be removed at next embrace by putting the mattress on the floor, and that the very faith which makes you vulnerable will in the end, should you persist, glorify yourself and all that surrounds you, in the heights of these days always inspired by line or liens in your letters, this is even true, as when you recounted the death of the fire and “turn out the lights’ laughing heartily at this 4 or 5 times, and even this morning I said, I wish CleoPATra was here, and thus the aggression I channel toward study would be relaxed. Well you may guess that for you know what propensities mock our trust.

But to speak of beauty marred by mind and nerve is, if true for a time, a single honest glance of wax around the soul that melts to leave pure form; so if mind and nerve, sing, your eagerness at any sign inspires along of all those in the world who hold the key in itself. Will this not always find equal trust in my response? Yes. Tis a natural law. But I am a stranger, and you will indeed find me ever and again what you know I am. But I am not so wise in loving as here made out, because it is new and ever remaining so.

 Could it be that drinking forgetfulness your memory, which I sought and since despaired of finding, has found me where two stars mingle their light to conjunct, only to separate on their necessary transits, sees one afar that still shines? I have created it, you have fostered it, so it must. I never mean to fright you. Look in the newness of my beard.

I’m very interested in A Theory of the Earth enthused in your project, deeming it more valuable for its originality, the product of your own mind and unique, and glad that you test your owners alone, knowing that later fusion richer, for it is done by your will, free of influence, complete in itself, not symbiotic.

I too have a project, and will turn in chapter I tomorrow: “On the discrimination of the Americas: An examination of the confusion of America with India, as spiritual paradise: Ophir, and earthly paradise: Eldorado; Hades, both Tartarus and Elizium; Atlantis and the NW passage, Meta-incognita, Raleighana, Florida, Virginia, New England, New Albion; with an application of modern understanding of how America becomes free of its past associations with fantasy, rich in gold and created as the new Europe.”

I have spent 12 hrs. in a single day writing this, and more time too--then in those moments, ceasing to exist for others, alone but sufficient to do what I will.
Of all things I will be free. But not of you. Tell me why, who sought me from the first, I will not return a hundred-fold expressions of faith. I also enjoyed the dog biscuit letter very much, and if I can be a little material, your body, which is like no other, because also your sol and mind are there, I know without reading Renaissance poetry but in reading it, more so, seeing the fulfillment of many lines (lives) there, for I have, more than I have said,  denied ever conceiving, not to be mystical what the lion breeds among the spend gold-en thun-ders. Letters are always too short. Be at peace in this wrap. There is no other love, Andy

[no date]
Cleo,
I’m writing this as your little brother watches TV; I lie in the corner sweating and weak with the flu. Did you ever think the smell of grass was like meat being barbecued? My own eve. Hot. I’ll not read this letter over before mailing but do you remember the cocker spaniel? Well an interesting observation comes my way. In talking to a lady who has had 250 (really she had lost count-but John & Tom should hear that) lovers and one who had had but few, they both complained the same, that they were generally unsatisfied. So I asked their solution and it was the same for both-one man. The one man. And how will they recognize one, or how will they draw one to them? Come to think of it Miss V has one-which she considers far superior to the many. So what of experience?

Now your sharpness of temper forbids my considering elements of this that I might take up. But I remember how you trembled against me on returning to Bangor from our travels after we had sat sullenly and silently for an hour. Then, but I forget the exact sequence, we were standing and embracing, which stirs me more than voices that tell me they do not trust me (rather others, selves). Likewise and again, new flesh in oneness. But that can be had elsewhere. What cannot is that vulnerability. To strip me to clothe anew and beside that the world is pale. So I go over moments before sleep in art and wait to hear, as I did in Glastonbury (Salisbury actually) your waking voice travel the miles and sound in my ears as a dreamer might hear a murmur in the night. Andy

15 March
C,
With all your travels girl you could be a movie star. Liverpool! Dog biscuits! Scones! O rarebit. I will be staying here and there come the end of March, living in vacant houses, staying with Mike & Dorothea-who incidentally will be a professor at U. of Pennsylvania next year. Did you receive the slides? Already you’ve been away from US seven months. And is she completely changed? When I ask that I see you, rather (if this may be taken in its intended sense) feel you. Have you ever been told that the curve of your hip which swells back…of course golden hairs sprouting “tender shoots” will amaze too.
Fancy. Mysteris! Cindy [Cynthia Reiff] has sent me a spring present and a mysterious letter concerning many rarely known things. Even Bob [Robert Reiff] managed to add some lines to it, saying that they feel, felt, me while I was traveling. They are into plants.
So I have another ten days with tender Stan. It has been ok-we’ve been playing more tennis of late. In general with the scents of spring everywhere and the March mist-physical activities are becoming more fun-softball continues. And Pisces has not totally undone me, yet anyway, April probably will.
Were you here I’d take you to a movie, and then to Les Amis, shake your hand, fly to the top of a grackle tree and caw.
I got a letter from John Lehmann which was nice if a little patronizing, something about Byron being imitative at the start of Childe Harold then finding his own style. Even unsolicited. Being in-between chapters 1 & 2 for the past 10 days and finding it harder to continue with spring fever, but also trying to see what the Gks. thought of the body & love, has taken me to Phaedrus, etc. where thus:
“But when one who is fresh from the mystery, and saw much of the vision, beholds  a godlike face or bodily form that truly expressed beauty, first there come upon him a shuddering and a measure of that awe which the vision inspired, and then reverence as at the sight of a god, and but for fear of being deemed a very madman he would offer sacrifice to his beloved, as to a holy image of deity.”
And so does each lover live, after the manner of a god he fashions for himself, as it were an image, and adorns it to be the object of his veneration.” This is referring to the love of men for boys, thus “he;” would it be better to seek philosophical beauty than the torment of love? Space here luckily forbids an answer to that thorn [at the bottom of the page]. I have sent you a momento under another cover lest you forget the blooms.  Andy


April 26, 1974

My dear Cleo,
I’ve just awakened and it is 12 PM as a plane goes over head reminding me of you; several cats, one stranger, have come into the house, everyone else has gone, perhaps because the day is grey. Last night was spent with Mike and Dorothea [Adams] and Hans, their friend of Dr. Cranfill’s and an apparent admirer of my poems--more than that.
Now you are in the air. When I said in London that I wanted romance and adventure little did I suspect how royally that wish would be fulfilled. Do we walk in the desert together and not still hear the  hooves of a mule deer; look up at that crow; and still consummate the phoenix together. How two act out their necessaries, balancing joy with sorrow, so more joy and fresh will again fill, the heart has always sought but not said out loud for it is a kind of prudence.
But love is trouble too. Still I have had enough of you but once. See how long it takes to cover the absence in time and of space, old them, and new. Another reality obtains when we’re apart. Immergence of ourselves--a blessing or a curse? Whether it be one or the other, its intensity too great-- joy to say that, the great desire of a heart. Shall love’s prisoners, at the same time one which I and you instinctively fight to be free of tell how the two are one, one one, yet two?
The guitar is going to be repaired and kept it seems. One more call came but the party did not show.
By the Welsh spring happening and the old stones again song ages they learned to sing, too low to be heard, but you feel them, and I am their nature, not implacable, patient for the wind to carry mummering poetic sentiments.
Mike Adams calls me knight errant of time and space. Last evening, in need of cigarette papers, I said they can be yours in 3 minutes. He said, looking at his watch. Go! He kept the time and I returned with them exactly in 3 minutes. For this I was awarded an open ended wrench.
By the time you read this I’ll be nearly at Browns Mills-think of me studying and writing, as I will of you, so we may finish our labors apart, and more to you CleoPat. Andy


May 3, 1974
Mountain View
Early Morning
Dear C,

It is quiet here after the whirlwind departure. The cats are off in the trees going wild. There are millions of ticks! It is 550 miles from Austin. I left at 7:30 AM yesterday, arrived here that time in the PM. Those Chinese herb pills are marvelous--to carry one thru 300 miles. I almost got 2 speeding tickets but the first was forgiven because the cop is a country picker and saw my guitar, the second because the cop was busy giving someone else a ticket and missed me. Oh for some rarebit. There was a ground swell to keep me in Austin past the 2nd but I avoided it by leaving. The stream here is quite full, gurgling alone. I’ll plant herbs beside the bathing pool. I’m shortly going to town to purchase a cot and will mail this letter. Just the day (Wed.) before leaving I cut a radio tape of poems to be played on 39 radio stations outside Tx. And 9 within! The sound engineer bought the copy I read from! Thanks to Fred Asnes.
This place is all right, and there’s plenty of room and lots to do. Andy.

May 15, 1974
Charleston, W. Va.
Cheri Clea,

I received a letter of yours via Austin, Philadelphia, Charleston yesterday. I’m here for another 2 days whence I depart for Browns Mills, N.J. Staying 6 days in Ark., there was time for tree cutting, building and mulching. The high point of every day was bathing under the water fall. Otherwise it was slow and completely opposite the motif of a full moon. It is 550 miles from Austin to M.V. & 750 from there to Charleston, driven with super Chinese herb pills with much ease. There are however but two remaining. Probably carried over from the drive, on arriving in Charleston., the second day here I hit my head on a window above a step-benumbing the right side of it for 2 days and probably concussed. I was smoking many cigarettes, drinking, eating meat, when struck with the Kanawha Valley Flu-a virulent local variety, 2 days ago-thus I sit here writing with things mildly unclear and total incapacity for thought. But that begins next week-“sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” I do have the feeling that I escaped or at least postponed many funny Austin tricks and tricksters by leaving as I had planned, on May 2. Bubba & Mummz are learning to travel. Bubba is entirely stoic about it, Mummz is hysteria a minute. This then is the traveler’s life so far. There are moments of joy with children though. My sister will probably buy a guitar-a used Guild for $50! I am able to see Andrew as a carnal child, Ginny is tremendously viva, Joey a top bullshitter, who also, as JAC, is not a chicken shit.
The poetic timelessness  of your letter just reread is reaching through the fog to me. There is no world nor time to tell the distance between the yellow gorse and he who writes mesmerically  wheezing. Ha. Think I’ll play some music…Andy

May 18, Monday
Philadelphia
Cleodotter,

Well this letter finds me in Philadelphia because my grandmother [Rena K. Yeo] has got an illness of the heart, thus go the best-laid plans. She will not have but short visits. This may change  when she sees that I seek only solitude. I’m moving fast even by inertia now and have to stop because Friday I begin to write, if only this cold will cure and…my…Bee and Larry act like normal folks. But I Ching says I have sensation in the legs—verily, that I should remain where I am.
Well you ask many questions in your letters, and which is sincere? Are you not rather observing that your friends-or, my friends, are not your friends? That is, my friends-call some of them, your “old’ friends, cause you inhibition. Or is it Austin and Texas that do so-who is not without honor in their country! As to the aural metaphor, is that not natural between? Do you think I am one who blends into others in ordinary situations. I don’t want to give to others, could care less if they embrace your desire. To do so reminds me of Bob Reiff says about himself, that is, that he has power. Not for me. Or are you saying I do that all the time naturally and you want a peice of the action. Well take it. Boldly  beware the bones of your brothers. Well, more sympathically I see what you mean. Others have said, when I was much younger, and I observe myself, but save yourself and on to objectivity. I am the lightning-and will strike the rock. I am the thunder and will roll. Thus music to me is not words. I seek the inner perfection, to bring it outside-materially present. It is that excellence that drives. Nothing else satisfies. We then understand that music as in song fests and gay times is no present occupation. I will sing with you if those sounds please proud arrogance. Let the act from itself will. Perhaps your enthuses and vibrations make you the heavenly creature I think you are around your Walesey pathes-but not at home. See why I will have traveled to there this summer. Accept this as a safety valve-steam it open. It reminds me of one sent to you last December, save that the planetary force herein is not Venusian. I could singe. Touch me not. I burn. More later, and calmer. What is the total of your Leo? AE

Browns Mills
May 23
Darlin,
True and its been long and I’m wantin you yarely. But I’m seein ladies now older than you, 83 & 60, Grandmother and Aunt [Libby]. And I been keeping my sword bright, drivin to due respect of God’s law.

Well to be what is called fluid, I’m here for a couple days-with options and the keys to 3 different houses in my pocket--return to Philadelphia Friday to begin writing-you know what. Just returned from G. Rena to the eye doctor, later today in full sun I will apply two gallons of preservative to the wood of the gazebo. She is a dandy lady as I figure it without knowing the true time. Guru J married his secretary who is 24 I read in the paper yesterday. Were you here I’d impale by horn. Well my previous did not treat your questions as to the radio reading-which I forgot. Read 23 minutes-13 from the book, 20 stanzas from the Spenserian poem and ended with  Taliessin. Actually it was bare/mere coincidence that it happened, since I ran into Fred [Asnes]Tues., read Wednesday, left town Thursday. There was a regular recording studio, the full rig /w/sound engineer, who bought the copy I read from and who wants to do some publishing-thus is a contact for later. It was an average reading-I was not very prepared-7.5-but so what, the hill is climbed and not ever for years will I move as slow as in the past.  Like a  trout in the shadows. My dear Rena wants me to live here “after she’s gone” as she put it-with whoever I’ve got in hand, as I fully intend to, perhaps teach at Princeton-20 miles away, are you going to be around? Or off on a trip to the Netherlands? Well my mind as been quickened by these two ladies and this mornings reading of FQ-on the subject of VIRTUE. How fucked the pleasure seekers make unquiet the mind. I mean-and will- ask Elizabeth if I’m the only man she has slept with-since at an early age of 2 I slept with her. Also I have gotten much enjoyment looking at the photographic record of my family. My mother, indeed radiant with love, has the most lovely pictures-and my sister Anne [Sims]-full of life & wit-always with me holding her hand or some other touch. My father, page of swords-gets the sword returned to him. There are other projects in hand-or mind-for a dissertation break next month. I spring from pure peasant stock. The lake mirrors the sky. The birds cry to squirrels and I write to you. Andrew Edwin, Pine Cove Lodge.

Katonah, N.Y.
June 23 [1974]
Dear Clea,
I am anticipating the Welsh summer and wonder if I should come sooner since affairs here are to the point of their filling. The date chosen is ok though, since 45 days, or after 45 days, the cost escalates severely, so early come, early go. For a while I lost my romanticism, feeling sobriety, but not being so…Later…
Sometimes I wake up late though rise early, like today driving here in semi-state through the rain. My mother and father are here till tomorrow, everything is bustling, now me too after eating red meat with coffee and bread. Everyone is holding forth after their fashion. Tomorrow to work again. Enclosed are some blooms of lavender and thyme growing in my sister’s renewed herb garden, now with a terraced effect with about 25 different kinds which I planted also for my own purposes. By now I have visited with all sorts of folk from the past—of the present—seeing my Uncle Ed [Yeo]-mother’s brother-and his Scorpio Aunt Danj—to whom and with whom I sang for a while late after a poker game. She has moon con Mars in Pis in 9th, talks about the mind and is witty-called my uncle “old softie.”
I had written you a letter discoursing on the matters of personal effect written at some length by you, but I addressed it to Katonah and it came back. Well so doing I concluded it wasn’t a good letter and did not mail it again. So nothing is known of the question….
Bob & Cindy are admiring Canada and seem as though they would move if given an excuse.
Now about that ache and itching of that possession, Love, A

308 Maplewood Avenue
Merion Station, Pa.
May 24
Dear True mystery,

Where will you appear next, my lightning love / and when? I wait the next surprise. Your traveling dis-sertation with kittens greets you from the abyss of  suburb. Last night I phoned Austin to see when a package would arrive here and got Vick, J.CCIII being in New Orleans, and got some nice news. Did I mention that last March a minor literary flurry occurred when I met the editor of Lucille? Anyway I gave him poems of Cullen, Goar, Reiff & Asnes and Vick told me that the loving couple had been to a party in Eastwoods Park celebrating its publication: “Prospero, Sweet Prince” by Tom, “Pastoral Blues,” by John, “Old MacDonald,” “Brothers Song,” “On a Conjunction of Planets” by sole brother, and also Fred’s [Asnes] poems appeared with others in the Spring issue-a copy of which will be forthcoming to you in due course. I’m not feeling especially naaty today so the verve of my tax may not herein crack as its wont. Nonetheless I enjoy-litotes-getting any word from you and it seems like this address is the one to presently use, as my G. Rena has heart congestion and so I’m visiting with her only a couple days a week, spending the rest here and there. Bubba stretches in the window sill, full in the sunlight. “Here is a mindless and imprudent speculation: viz. that perhaps your fit of depression was caused 1) by vibrations of jealousy you felt in the air at the time from new-but then old- affairs of mine and 2) by the inappropriate designation of you-uncalled for and untimely. By explanation this was not my thought, but a quote from a Cullen blues poem call ‘Devil blues” which last line went, “I rather be the devil lord than be my woman’s man.” [really, from Robert Johnson] When I said it I felt something go crack and wished it  retracted, but it was too late-even to explain then. So I felt it had to be suffered through-as it was, only later (now) would explanation be possible-even apology, for you took it seemingly much to heart. Now consciously forgotten. Have you made travel arrangements for return yet? I don’t like the idea of your traveling 9/13 to 17 but September 9& 10 are excellent days. It is already June almost. I’m reminded-when you say in your letters thinking of one another does not good that way-- seems to be some kind of violation of instinct. If the thought does not succor, should it not be done away? Another thought about the sonnet 109 I had was that the poet is lying or rationalizing either his infidelity-when he never meant to be so. The word “stain” in L. 8. If the universe is nothing then why does he range? Also, why does love dispossess him of his soul which is only his own. If his soul has left him, has he perhaps been untrue to himself, therefore to his beloved. Now though I see I’m too serious about it. Still my home of love may not be in a person, if I seek my own spirit, it is in myself. Then love is a disease of forgetfulness, as now I well know, finding little quiet in passion storms that rage and turn, but when reunified are calmed. So I may have two souls? Doubly then I anchor them in more than passion, or even thought. The bright angel I have known  myself, hides in this cloud. The moment of cleansing you spoke I also need. I think I could lose 10 times out of 10 in love, yet there is one who gives the victory, and laurel bays for the distempered mind. Hiding all the while backwards in my prose, lest I grow sentimental, my name is a double anagram, 1) after my grandfather Edwin A & 2) after my aunt, Anna Elizabeth. Let not a serious though obscure sweet concord and affection. Andy

Monday, June 2
6 PM
69 Moseman Ave.
Katonah, N.Y.
Dear Cleo,
You see from the address that I am in N.Y. I came here last night because John Crockett (Susan’s husband) called and offered me 2 weeks work. Today was spraying trees and cutting them up. But oh that I’d never come, never thinking that accidents were possible yet ignorantly unable to read the feeble signs. I have replayed everything over all day and without of course any succor-if only. This morning I went outside to call the cats at 7 AM, for they had been restive in the early AM so I opened the window and let them out, and there lying dead in the road was Bubba. I cannot believe it but must. He was still warm and had been struck very hard in the head. And  the only recourse I followed, burying him curled in a familiar ball in the ground behind their house. He was the most joy the purest of his kind. Now I have just arrived back from work and Mummz came out of the woods but she stays outside calling and calling. I share my sorrow with you for he is gone. All the more pain I had once gone to all lengths to save him (when he had distemper). The cars still go very fast down that road. You know my grief. Andy

June 17
Monday
Dear CP,
Thanks for the package of tea which I am enjoying and also for the coaster from the Bull’s Head. I’m writing to accept your invitation and have arranged to arrive in London on July 17 at 9:40 AM. Leaving N.Y. on July 16 on BOAC 510 at 10 PM. Till then I will work in NY-though right now I’m in Philly for a week, returning there Sunday.
Thanks also for your note of sympathy.
Later love, A

***********

30 June 1975
Dear C,
The letter from Rhodes Dunlap continued “a few queries and small corrections (though in no critical spirit!)” and I must make them good on the graduate school copy which is probably yet unbound in a box in the office of Ruth Hodges (off to the right before one enters the Tower library, but in the same building. No doubt I must do this myself although possibly if you inquire Mrs. Hodges might let you make them there. I’m going to mail this immediately with the corrections. Omit the noun/adjective problem on p. 23 but correct elegiac in p. 74. Also p. 112 and 120-121, omit but all the rest should be corrected in the micro-film copy. Would you please see what can be done? I may call there tomorrow. Second thought: on 120-121 change 1624 to 1614. If necessary and if there is time I will return to make the corrections personally. A.

28 June
Clea,
Yes, many children, the latest count since leaving Tex 12. I feel like agreeing with your sentiments of them expressed at the shore. I see from your letters that Austin gossip continues without abating.
I am presently trying to figure out the rest of my schedule here. Bob and Cindy are in Conn.: your call last evening found me returned from Cape May. They will return next Mon. when Bob and I will probably accumulate more materials on Hans George’s descendants on the Little Branch of the Perkiomie. They are going to Charleston by the 21st of July. So the next week is taken care of; which meanwhile I wait for the unexpected to occur. I now have a decent seashore tan which should last a week. The eastern Atlantic sun makes a different color from the west. A

 **********************

We only find out the end of a thing is harder than its beginning after its end. When this process has been repeated several times it is clear. Finishing work that began a decade before can be anti-climactic. Anybody ever give thought to what then? No. So with all this behind me except repeated dreams of grammatical corrections, can't find the room where the class is held, I did nothing at all, literally cannot remember exactly how I survived. Clues of the direction come in two letters to my Grandmother Rena K. Yeo (1890-1980, buried West Laurel Hill Cemetery) from Austin, that she kept and returned to me at her passing. She keeps tabs on the letters the way my father did, dates of her response, notes of explanation, "his girl is Pat." In retrospect  I'm well aware the news my mother, grandmother or aunt wish to hear is not forthcoming, that is they want to hear about the girl, then about the baby, but these events are still four years off.

4208 Avenue D
Austin 78715
15 January 1976
Dear Grandmother,

I was sorry to learn from mother recently that you have taken ill. I write to tell you my thoughts and prayers are with you. Do revive your spirits and recuperate while I tell you of my late affairs. The weather here has been so typical. Last week 16 degrees, this week 70. Well and perhaps rashly, I've decided our cold weather for the year has ended, so now I am planting out my little cuttings of last fall. I have promoted the largest lavenders to gallon size pots, which along with 40 others of such size I have in a cold frame in the yard of this new little house Pat and I have taken, only 6 blocks from our previous. It became necessary to move after the landlady (the Huguenot, Salthe) took it into her head to raise the rent $25 a month, and was generally about as pesty as I can ever remember being. I dismantled the greenhouse, which was 20' by 17', packed up and, as they say, split. This landlady in the course of these past six months had visited the apartment 50 times! 50! It got so I would tremble at her approach. Truly I could tell you stories but the old woman at the corner is (was) worse. She would advertise for old people to come and stay in her home, the driveway of which was circular, with fenced exit and entrance. After luring her unsuspecting old spiders into the net, whe would lock the gate and after 2 years claim the person's car, which she had locked in her drive, as her own. What an old bird. Birds! Why didn't her guests drive through the fence? Well that neighborhood was nice becaue it had fewer students and more elderly. I'd probably be afraid of the aged by now except for our other neighbor there, Mrs. Murphy, of 78 years, the best dressed, lovable who runs her duck of a week, lets the thing loose and it flys up and down the street and waddles about after her. Murphy's a gardener too, so we exchange plants over the fence, and she has promised me in the spring a cutting of a lavender Christmas cactus which she uniquely has developed. I was sorry to leave Murph's company.

The new place is a small house, and very cozy with a large lot and bamboo planted as a shelter along the back, a totally southern exposure, and lots of fence on which to plant cucumbers, beans and vines. [map enclosed] As you see the ground is very open with good light. The reason I've settled in Texas, the weather allows one to grow things of a semi-tropical variety, and with a minimum of shelter. My ambition is to obtain cuttings or seeds of coffee, cacao, cinchona or quinine, liquorice etc, and try to grow them. Of course not for the market place, but rather for the experience and to equip a small pharmacy of my own, after all, being a doctor, should I not have a small practice? This past year I grew what I call the mainly biblical herbs, thyme, rosemary, basil, lavender, mints, In future I will incline to  more medicinal plants, some which I have been fortunate to obtain, rauwolfia, chicory, gotu kola ( a Chinese herb). Since already I have nearly 500 plants you may wonder what I'll do when they have grown larger than seedlings. I won't sell them. Pat is with me in this and more because her grandmother has a  little ranch west and south of Austin in the hills and though it is very dry, I believe a properly constructed bed of lavender will succeed. So one day soon I, pick and shovel, will go prepare and plant my young friends. One thing I'm glad about, most people don't like herbs and so there is no great thronging or competition in herb activity. If the field were crowded I'd do something else. Do you know that in 6th grade I wanted to be a geologist and 5th grade, a chemist? I got sidetracked from the sciences but now am going to take them up, but I promise not to return to school to do so!

Today is another lovely day here and it is time to begin anew. This letter to you I've done first thing-freshly, as you can tell. I leave you then to the care of your birds, plants, friends and neighbors and with love assure you I am sincerely, Andrew

4208 Avenue D
Austin 78751
18 April 1976
Dearest Grandmother,

The rains have come to Austin much to the pleasure of the birds. There is a great deal of bamboo cane in the back and there they roost, especially the grackles! The most good for nothing bird of all. At first light, 5:45 AM these critters light up and begin croaking with fits so that it is impossible to sleep. This doesn't bother me  as I rise by 6 anyway. A pair of cardinals has a nest in the cane 10 ft. above a bird feeder I've hung, which is just outside the bathroom window. I'm going to get some good color photographs.

You should think me a man of leisure since I'm not reporting daily to a job. Much to my surprise, over the last 2 months I seem to have started a nursery. Not that I planned to. A nursery, and way out in the country an herb farm! If I'm not careful I'm going to be employed, but will try to avoid that. This all started last fall when I saw a patch of sage 30' by 50', solid white, the leaves covering the ground an inch deep while at the same time my imagination was preoccupied with descriptions of a lavender plantation. It all must have been too much because I took over a 100 lavender cuttings and by this spring they have grown much too large for my yard, so now I begun hauling them to Bandera to plant in an old field. The next thing you know I'll have to fence it, water it, weed it. I'll be busy ten years. A more enjoyable part of this preoccupation is that at this place there are washed gulleys and a stream, also many large rocks and boulders. For some reason I love to pile rocks, so presently I go weekly, gather the largest into piles, terrace the gulleys, fill in with dirt and plant more herbs. Originally I was just trying to keep it from washing further, now my plans are bigger. The main thing is I enjoy it. Artistically sculpting the landscape gives a chance to work on a larger scale than other art forms except architecture. We know who that was. Beyond description almost are the multitude and depth of my feelings for my grandfather. If anything they have grown stronger with the years. I'm sure he's the most significant human I've known. Of course these are pictures in my memory, not words, but because you have the pictures too more words are unnecessary. How worthy he is of a child's love.

To return to the landscape, I was filling in the gulleys, planting spearmint by the stream, trimming the trees, and hauling dirt - sculpting the landscape, a monumental art form because it can be pure shape, that is, it has no use but pleasure, so it is really free. I enclose a picture of one part finished last fall, pleasing to behold. You see it is in the form of a figure eight. The picture is a little unfocussed. Also here is one of your correspondent taken last fall.

I forgot all about the nursery I said I was starting. Along with piling rocks I like to take cuttings. So far I've grown 50 varieties of herbs, all the Mediterranean varieties and now I'm further interested in and growing dangerous but highly medicinal southwestern varieties, jimson, henbane, aconite and soon hemlock. I intend to be most watchful of these, nor do I plan to experiment by taking them myself. Just curious. I want to observe their growth and etc. and keep some dried in jars in a safe place in case my unintended progress of carries me toward medicine. The commercial aspect of my nursery was given a boost in February when, in search of some pots, I found a nurseryman who sold me all the one gallon plastic pots I could use and will further sell thousands more - at 5 cents each. They wholesale at 13 cents. These have been used once. I mortgaged myself a little more and now have 750 pots into which, as I have time, I propagate mostly mints, which it seems are what most people like to buy - and which are also easiest to grow, and will sell them from my home. To do this I obtained a nurseryman's license, but as yet I have not advertised. There was a festival in the neighborhood 2 weeks ago at which I sold $65 worth, mostly mints. At that time I displayed a sheet of paper which people could sign with name and address to receive what I called a Fall herb catalog, meaning a list of whatever herbs I have to sell in September. But on being queried as to what this "fall Herb Catalog" would be, I answered facetiously that it was a list of "the herbs found medicinal after the fall of man."
You will already guess my intent has expanded because I also love printing books, so perhaps in addition to lists of herbs for sale there will be drawings of them, descriptions and anecdotes about them, and even perhaps a prefatory essay or two on a subject relating the causes and cures of sickness in man. We shall see.
I so enjoyed your last letter and especially the petal you enclosed, the thought you intended by it. Pleasure has simplified for me. The bird at the ranch building her nest under the eave sings on a branch when I arrive. Squirrels come up to see if I have food for them. On windy nights like this last, young cats playing in the trees seem as smiling as any person I meet walking.
Andrew

I did not grow up with an innate love of growing plants. My mother, brother, grandmother Anna did that. I was saddled with tending th yard, fruit trees, edging, mowing, raking. I once edged with an herbicide which left a brown edge around the harden which exempted edging work. I was more into baseball and every sport.And of course Anna had famously left her father Henry's farm in Butter Valley as soon as she could to live an Philadelphia and be a tailor. She however had yards of daylillies and sills of African violets, also retaining the entire Pennsylvania dutch scrapple, shoo-fly boiled coffee in grounds, preserves, doughnuts, cherry pie routines she was famous for. To argue it is in the blood, in the genes seems superfluous, that it is timed to will out the same, but we all imbibed the vegetation in great measure. It did not effect me before Texas in the hill country, but when I moved into town, about  fall of '72, little greenhouses started cropping up, perhaps because my wife, which took some years to occur, was herself a confirmed botanist, gardener, potter, chemist, homemaker and her family provided a ranch environment she took me too as soon as her parents left town one time. She said it was a surprise.


“Prophets of admirable exactness saw America as it was and as it is today: immense love for peace and war everywhere; compassion in millions and cruelty in abundance; beauty in nature and men, and ugliness in both. Is it that the continent of contrast carries out contrast to the infinite? For the skeptic the change of year, or the change of a decade means nothing. For us, we hope, reason will and should prevail and the killing will stop, and the greed should stop, and the emaciated faces of the hungry children of the world will not scare our hearts anymore, and man will come of age, of real age, and the fear of hidden monster in Apocalypsis or in Inferno will leave us, and truth, cooperation and love will vanish the bipartition, or tripartition of social masses, and we all billion humankind will breathe here in America and on every corner of the earth the tonic of peace and the serenity of life.”
Augustine Fernandez,  Thoughts About America.
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