Got myself caught up in a tiny (yet ambitious) personal project which I have been working on since last year. I stayed up all night and went to bed around eight in the morning today. I suspect I’ll do it again tonight, ha. You won’t approve of this, I’m sure—this behaviour. But I’ll be alright tomorrow. Tomorrow it’s business as usual, I promise. But this weekend—let’s call it a small mercy.
Anyway—I’ve been reading this book again. It’s changing my life. I really should get you a copy.
[excerpt, a letter from Elizabeth to Cal, dated 18 May 1948]
I don’t know why I haven’t written you a thank-you letter before now, except I guess I thought it so often & loudly to myself that I already thought I had—anyway, you were awfully kind & nice & I really had a wonderful time, & feel quite picked up again to the proper table-land of poetry for the summer, off which I guess one does gradually slip unless there are a few people like you to talk to—except I guess there aren’t more than two or three. (34)
[excerpt, a letter from Cal to Elizabeth, dated 20 May 1948]
How much I enjoyed your visit—and yet it will be September before I get my poem rolling again—it worries me not writing, and yet it seems right and sensible to wait. But will the inspiration come when I call it? No peace in this world for the poet! Poor poets! (35)
[excerpt, a letter from Elizabeth to Cal, dated 30 June 1948]
And then maybe I’ve felt a little too much the way the woman did at certain more hysterical moments. People who haven’t experienced absolute loneliness for long stretches of time can never sympathize with it at all. (38)
[excerpt, a letter from Cal to Elizabeth, dated 2 July 1948]
I know the solitude that gets too much. It doesn’t drug me, but I get fantastic and uncivilized…It’s funny at my age to have one’s life so much in and on one hands. All the rawness of learning, what I used to think should be done with by twenty-five. Sometimes nothing is so solid to me as writing. I suppose that’s what vocation means—at times a torment, a bad conscience, but all in all, purpose and direction, so I’m thankful, and call it good as Eliot would say. (41)
Two poets who write each other letters spanning three decades—it’s meant for us.
Good night, M.