GEORGE OPPEN          281 POLK STREET SAN FRANCISCO CALIFORNIA 94109                    



Dear Shirley

                 I thank you for the poems         we are both very moved
                I send you, in exchange,    the correct version
of the two poems that Stonybrook's printer mixed together ---
or emulsified

           (you ask again and. again, so simply and so modestly --
                             some question about poetry       as you
ask, to yourself,     of Lamantia also            Asking carefully
and patiently

           I feel that I seem to be dodging the question --
To get closer, is the question, book by book, to
what you cannot say      Only you could know how,    and
of course you know that          I know nothing at all but that
we're on our own         word by word         From scratch.
I understand the question         Cannot answer         Tho I half-
hear, in the poems, where the transition could be less
smooth, less bound by syntax

                                                    your voice, I am sure, must
remain even and pure because         I am sure       that is your
essential quality           Therefore it is not easy             But I hear
you approaching the answer               in your surprisingly clear voice
                I am just saying that I understand the question

(tho of course it is precisely that you might take chances
with -- experiment with )

A lovely day down the coast         And on the hills         I'm glad
we were all four there