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'They carry back bright to the coiner the mintage of man,
The lads that will die in their glory and never be old.'

If I could put 23 words in a row that were that good, (not even touching on the rest of the poem,) I would be content with life.I return to Houseman over and over, and Kipling too. There must have been something in the water, in those years.

Taken as a shard of writing it could easiy refer to the young men who died 1591-4. (we know there was crap in the water then. Maybe the tapering off of genius is correlated with too much water drinking...) Only Will made it out alive. And Ben Jonson who was younger.

I have decided that reading Marlowe is like prancing in cumulous clouds, or perhaps like a whopping dose of morphine. Nashe, is like curly wooden fretwork, and Jonson is like pushing your face into the sunwarmed earth under a tree. I like all those things. All those things are more complicated than they seem. (Well, I am guessing about the cloud prancing.)

It seems strange that the writing that moves me most is not that of my own country. I love much of it, of course, Emily Dickinson, Millay, Frost, but I always felt that the stories came from somewhere else first. We cannot tell what will move us. I remember reading somewhere that Phil Collins the singer is a world expert on the Alamo. I can imagine him as a little guy, reading about Davy Crockett.

It appears I will be going up to Massachusetts in the next week or two. One final sleep in the house of my childhood. I lived there summers until I was 15. And I lived there full time age 5-15. After 15 I did not really live at home. I was visiting after that. (You cannot send your kids away and expect to have them come back fully your own. that is perhaps the point.)

I think I will be renting a car to go up, so I am going to take Z and Hazel with me. He can help with any heavy lifting, and get a little break from the city. And Hazel will enjoy running on the beach. Thurber (another good one,) said that Marthas Vineyard is a paradise for dogs. And it is very true. So we have that to look foreward to.

But I am not leaving yet. My fan and other fiction has fallen sadly off. Hope to do something about that in the next week.


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 30th, 2014 11:27 pm (UTC)
Lucky you to be going to Martha's Vineyard!! I envy you. My childhood summers were spent in a cottage on a large lake in Plymouth and they were magical summers. The cottage is gone now, replaced by a year round house, ownwd by someone else. I can only revisit my cottage in my dreams.
Oct. 31st, 2014 08:21 am (UTC)
Having just read your last piece, and the way you put the words together there, I think you have good reason to be very content indeed :) I really need to sit down & read more Marlowe. I have seen his plays but I have never sat down & read his words.

Hope your trip to the Vinyard goes okay. Going back to childhood homes is always strange, and having to let the go, stranger still. It's what makes us who we are though. (Icon is a picture of my own childhood home by the sea.)
Nov. 1st, 2014 03:02 am (UTC)
Yes, I have the mixture of eagerness and dread that usually comes along with this sort of expedition. In a funny way I think you may understand it better than almost anyone. Both islanders, you and I... you know what it means to cross over into a self-contained world, the things we bring, the things we leave.

And the Vineyard in winter (or late fall,) is only for people who actually live there. The summer people have all left. I plan on taking some walks on the empty beach, and in the woods. Lots of silence. It will do me good.
Nov. 1st, 2014 12:00 pm (UTC)
Oh yes. I know exactly what you mean. I always feel I am never quite the same person on and off the island. It's almost like you reassemble yourself during every crossing. I think only islanders really understand that. And the feeling is definitely more powerful in the winter once the summer people have gone.

I plan on taking some walks on the empty beach, and in the woods. Lots of silence. It will do me good.
Yes, I'm sure it will. Empty beaches are good for the soul.
Nov. 1st, 2014 05:40 pm (UTC)
even when you are 'writing about writing' your style is sonorous and lovely
I relate as you know to the childhood home thing = I may now spend only one or two more days in mine as there has been an offer for it which I have accepted. Far from the full sale but it is hopefully the start of one.
I find it strange the mixture of belonging and yet not belonging that seem to be twisted together
hope you all 3 benefit from the beaches and sea
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )