Archive for February 22, 2010


The art of losing isn't hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother's watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn't a disaster.

--Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan't have lied.  It's evident
the art of losing's not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.


Eunice Parchman killed the Coverdale family because she could not read or write.

There was no real motive and no premeditation; no money was gained and no security. As a result of her crime, Eunice Parchman’s disability was made known not to a mere family or a handful of villagers but to the whole country. She accomplished nothing by it but disaster for herself, and all along, somewhere in her strange mind, she knew she would accom- plish nothing. And yet, although her companion and partner was mad, Eunice was not.

She had the awful practical sanity of the atavistic ape disguised as twentieth-century woman.

Literacy is one of the cornerstones of civilization. To be illiterate is to be deformed. And the derision that was once directed at the physical freak may, perhaps more justly, descend upon the illiterate. If he or she can live a cautious life among the uneducated all may be well, for in the country of the purblind the eyeless is not rejected. It was unfortunate for Eunice Parchman, and for them, that the people who employed her and in whose home she lived for nine months were peculiarly literate. Had they been a family of philistines, they might be alive today and Eunice free in her mysterious dark freedom of sensation and instinct and blank absence of the printed word.

Her days now began to be spent in a narrow twilight world, for illiteracy is a kind of blindness.

She had her pleasures, eating the chocolate she loved and which made her grow stout, ironing, cleaning silver and brass, augmenting the family income by knitting for her neighbours.

Virtue might naturally be the concomitant of such sheltering. She had few opportunities to do bad things, but she found them or made them.

All that jerked Eunice out of her apathy were her compulsions. Suddenly an urge would come over her to drop everything and walk. Or turn out a room. Or take a dress to pieces and sew it up again with minor alterations.These urges she always obeyed. Buttoned up tightly into her shabby coat, a scarf tied round her still beautiful thick brown hair, she would walk and walk for miles, sometimes across the river bridges and up into the West End.

These walks were her education. She saw things one is not taught in school even if one can read. And instincts, not controlled or repressed by reading, instructed her as to what these sights meant or implied

The thoughts of the illiterate are registered in pictures and in very simple words.The advantage of being illiterate is that one achieves an excellent visual memory and almost total recall.

I have eaten

the plums

that were in

the icebox


and which
you were probably
saving
for breakfast


Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet

and so cold