Dear Lucile:

I knew you were either sick (I don't like the Norman equivalent) or very busy. I thought perhaps you were helping Bower with papers and grades. I'm sorry it was intestinal flu, a perfectly lousy affliction. I've had it myself, but not lately. Apparently you were out of woods (What woods? Who said anything about woods?) when you wrote. Anyway you gave the impression of being all there as usual. (It's such damned indignities that account for my bad disposition and chronic wrath!)

Lady, it's always so good to hear from you! I'm sure you can imagine this poor old man sitting here slumped in his rocking chair and crying in his whiskers — until one of your letters comes along to revive him momentarily. (That's the way it really ain't, because I neither slump nor weep; but I do "bloom all over" when I see your handwriting on an envelope.)

Yes, I'm off for Memphis on June 6th (day after tomorrow). I'm going by air. Why save money? For what? I can actually go anywhere; by air or otherwise, and I don't know where I want to go. But I do want to see Alice and the precious Wubs and the sweet horses again. Those two girls are mine too. Mona & I raised them. They are so dear — the sweethearts! And they do love me as I love them. I'll see Lynn ride, and I'll pet Erica's pony (and it spotted by golly! Alice has her leg cast off, so she's buzzing around again — on crutches, I suppose, as yet.

I want to see you as much as I want to see anything. It's a long way to August.

It seems that freight steamers from New Orleans, bound for the Orient, do stop at Los Angeles, but they take passengers only for the whole trip to Manilla ​. Doggoneit! I don't know what I'll do. Anyway, I want to look at you, and that can be managed in due time. I do hope we can have sufficient time for the Nebraska trip. We should have leisure to dream back the old days as they were. The mere facts will not matter so much, but the feel, the mood, of those early days will give the unmistakable tone of reality to what you may write.

Write me next to this address: c/o Alice Thompson, Route 1, Box 97, Lake Cormorant, >Mississippi.

Second Spasm

I'm waiting for my Poetry class to come out for a big picnic and a session in the Prayer Garden. My last year's class, as you know, had a picnic a week ago.

I'm already halfway to Memphis, altho' I'll not leave until Sat., June 6th at 7:45 a. m.

I'm much interested in your presentation of the Wars entire — with sound effects! And I'm especially glad that you will plan to preserve the impact of the poetry. That's necessary, and you can do it.

Skyrim is very beautiful. A week ago the hedges were like snowbanks with the mass of bloom. That's gone now; but the roses are doing their divine business, and the colors are more vivid than usual because of the rain and cool weather.

Please tell Bower that I don't like him too! In fact, I don't like the Aly family at all; except a slight liking for Stewart, because he and I are still young enough to understand the canine vernacular. That's a bond. Otherwise I'm mad at all of you for being so far away. (There may be a touch of hyperbole in the foregoing; otherwise it is entirely inaccurate).

It's my turn, as chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, to edit the Poetry Pilot issued monthly. I've included some good verse, selected from here and there. One I love is The Last Hero by Chesterton. Good heavens! Do you know that one? It makes the stuff of the diddling esthetics look like what the it is. I do love that shout of glory!

Maybe, after all, I ain't very mad at you'ns. Maybe I still like you a little!

Anyway, be as happy as you can be. It's important. Love everybody, at least a little. And let's not drive any nails into even the smallest cross!

(I'm heavily insured, and if my plane gets wrecked, I'll die a very wealthy man — successful at last!)

—On second thought I guess I do like you all quite a lot.

John N.