TALKS WITH MODERN YOUNGSTERS
Let's just walk away from the dancing, this way, across the tennis courts. The stars are out, aren't they? Why, I can carry it. Well. The pines look dark and cool there, don't they? Yes, but I think it's more like a poem by Sand-burg: "In the dusk, in the cool tombs." Tombs of what? Oh, tombs of all the summer boys like you, who say so much they don't mean.
But I forgot, you're a poet, aren't you? Why don't you write a poem for me about our walking off like this alone and leaving it all? (No, I'd rather just lean against this big rough old tree.)
Well, even if you only like poetry, that's almost as though you wrote it. I love poetry, and that's what makes me write it, I suppose. Well, perhaps you could hardly call it poetry. I mean a Harvard man wouldn't. There's a Princeton fellow who teaches sloyd at the camp on the other side of the lake, and he said that the lines were so filled with--well, he named it right out--passion, that they fairly seethed. Seethed. Well (No, thanks awfully, I'm quite comfortable just here, this way), I admit I had sometimes thought of myself that way--
What did you say? In the dusk, in the cool tombs? . . . I don't think I see what you mean, quite . . . Shall I go on?
And because I had so often thought of myself as being--well--like that, if you know what I mean--I mean, I thought of myself as full of--well--things, if you want to put it that way, which not every man could open up. So that you can imagine how I felt when I met this other man from Harvard, who was on the Lampoon, He read it. He kept calling it "your stuff", which was rather nice of him, I thought.
He said that my poetry had just one fault. He said that my supreme ability to feel, which he thought was greater than in any other girl's poetry he had ever read, had conquered everything else. Do you see? In the great wave of emotion, which overflows all our psychological dikes into the cistern that we call "poetry", I was slowly but surely drowning myself. "Your surrender is always too complete," he said. "You give too much, always." (No, I like this way better.)
And that is my besetting fault, I know. But at the same time that is probably why I can get along with men, because there are so few girls who give of themselves, if you know what I mean. I mean, there are so few girls who really give of themselves. And as a result they never have any men that they can really call friends. From the time I reached the age, if you know what I mean, I always wanted men to be my friends. To be completely the woman, as that Lampoon boy said, and yet to have men friends. And in time, I suppose, one of them would be "best friend" as I call it.
I ought to learn what? The poetry of action. The poetry--of action. I don't quite see . . .
Somehow I've always tried to be just a little aloof from that sort of thing.
Hear the music. "Ramona",
I think we had better be walking back, don't you?
Yes, let's right now.
That was the kind of talk I like. I had a talk that was something like that, once, with a man from Yale. He said to me: "You're the girl who disproves Lloyd Mayer."
Me? What can a poor girl do against the Yale line? I only laughed.
I bet the New Haven Bowl will be just jamful at the Harvard and Yale game.
Are you going?