Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A Year With Thomas Merton - September 27

What a September Day Should Be

Czeslaw Milosz was here yesterday. Same face as on the new French book (Une Autre Europe) but considerably aged. I am enthusiastic about the Polish poets he has gathered into an anthology. A great deal of irony, depth, sophistication, intelligence, and compassion. This seems to me to be very real and human. I react to it as I do to most Latin American verse: as something belonging to my world. (I can hardly say this for most American or English poetry except Stevie Smith and Peter Levi.)

Everything that a September day should be--brilliant blue sky, kind sun, cool wind in the pines. But I have to wear white gloves because I cannot go near the woods without getting more poison ivy. I seem to have become extraordinarily sensitive, and if I am within fifteen or twenty or thirty feet of it, I seem to get more. On my face, too, but I shall go with face bare. If necessary I shall make myself a mask out of a little bag with holes in it and come into solitude looking sinister like a Ku Kluxer. Tiny, delicate fishbones of clouds in the sky. Harps of sound in the sweet trees. Long shadows on the grass. The distant bottomland flat and level and brown, ploughed and harrowed. The hills.

September 10 and 12, 1964, V.142-43

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