Poem of the Month / The PACK Admires

From Thoreau’s Walden

‘Hardly a man takes a half hour’s nap after dinner, but when he wakes he holds up his head and …

‘My Own Delightful Gordon,

‘Your letter has moved me as deeply as you may imagine. But alas, I must ever decline to be Mrs. Lowther. My reasons are twofold. I am dedicated to my Girls as is Madame Pavlova, and there is another in my life whose mutual love reaches out to me beyond the bounds of Time and Space. He is Teddy Lloyd! Intimacy has never taken place with him. He is married to another. One day in the art room we melted into each other’s arms and knew the truth. But I was proud of giving myself to you when you came and took me in the bracken on Arthur’s Seat while the storm raged about us. If I am in a certain condition I shall place the infant in the care of a worthy shepherd and his wife, and we can discuss it calmly as platonic acquaintances. I may permit misconduct to occur again from time to time as an outlet because I am in my Prime. We can also have many a breezy day in the fishing boat at sea.

‘I wish to inform you that your housekeeper fills me with anxiety like John Knox. I fear she is rather narrow, which arises from an ignorance of culture and the Italian scene. Pray ask her not to say “You know your way up” when I call at your house in Cramond. She should take me up and show me in. Her knees are not stiff. She is only pretending that they are.

‘I love to hear you singing “Hey Johnnie Cope.” But were I to receive a proposal of marriage tomorrow from the Lord Lyon King-of-Arms I would decline it.

‘Allow me, in conclusion, to congratulate you warmly on your sexual intercourse, as well as your singing.

‘With fondest joy,

Jean Brodie’

‘For Lent. No puddings on Sundays. No tea except if to keep me awake and then without sugar. Meat only once a day. No verses in Passion week or on Fridays. No lunch or meat on Fridays. Not to sit in an armchair except can work no other way. Ash Wednesday and Good Friday bread and water.

*

‘Drops of rain hanging on rails etc. seen with only the lower rim lighted like nails (or fingers). Screws of brooks and twines. Soft chalky look with more shadowy middles of the globes of cloud on a night with a moon faint or concealed. Mealy clouds with a not brilliant moon. Blunt buds of the ash. Pencil buds of the beech. Lobes of the trees. Cups of the eyes. Gathering back the lightly hinged eyelids. Bows of the eyelids. Pencil of the eyelashes. Juices of the eyeball. Eyelids like leaves, petals, caps, tufted hats, handkerchiefs, sleeves, gloves. Also of the bones sleeved in flesh. Juices of the sunrise. Joins and veins of the same. Vermillion look of the hand held against a candle with the darker parts as the middles of the fingers and especially the knuckles covered with ash.’