Dear Bower and Lucile:

Many thanks for the loving gift of the sonnet. Yes, I know it, and I knew Mrs. Reese by correspondence. Also, I once wrote an appreciative article on her work in general.

The sonnet is indeed a beautiful human expression of nostalgic yearning and the old earth-fret. It does not reach very far, but I mean no disparagement, for it is beautiful.

Your letter, Lucile, is precious, because it is simply sincere. All you say of Mona and of our relationship is

I think I'll have something important and most encouraging to tell you later. -Jno.
gloriously true, and it will be made clear in your biography. You know the dedication of The Song of the Messiah — "His woman was a mother to the Word". That was not sentiment. Not long ago she and I were talking about our life and the Cycle and I said, "Well, by God, we did it, didn't we?" And she said, "Yes, Daddy, by God we did". We agreed, as we had often done before, that the Cycle would never have been carried through from 1912 to 1941 (and there were some hard years in there) if we had not been
We must "make hay" in June. Afterward, I will fly to Sigurd in S.C. and Alice in Florida.
together. As the thing grew, she was my ideal hearer, and if the light came into her face, I knew. I am not mourning, I suppose; at least not in the accepted sense of the word. But I have learned, what I long suspected and often knew when I thought of her going first, that all the value I placed on things, in every instance, was based on her sharing with me the sense of value.

I told Mona often that I wanted her to go first, because I did not want her to stand the earthly hell of it alone. She went first, and I know it is good. Mona had been fouling slowly a long while, as you probably felt. She was most fortunate essentially. She had four good children and ten good grandchildren, and she did not lose one of them. Yet she was 74 years old, lacking a month.

I have to talk at Cornell University on May 21st and May 22nd. Then I must talk at an Arts Conference in Yankton, S. D., on June 5th. I'd rather not, but I must do it. I've handled my classes with a curious new feel of power — by fancying Mona down there looking up with a shining face. O, I'm so glad you are my friends!


John N.
John Neihardt Route 7 Columbia, Mo.
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Dr. and Mrs. Bower-Aly, Eugene, Oregon.
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_____ over
Read the remainder of the quotation from "The Messiah" Love is not an outburst of emotion. It is a steady glow.