Excerpt from Secretaries of the Moon

Oct. 20, 1945

My very dear friend:

How opportune the arrival of your charming letter! I had just taken a wonderful bath ( it is 12 :40 morning, bright skies of azure tinges and a subtle breeze that spells perhaps a great hurricane or then a nice afternoon at the ball game. Yes, I go to such things: today the Almendares plays again the Habana in the inaugural game. Oh, it is silly but I find the people who go to this affair, a baseball game, amusing and really more interesting to talk to than most of the so-called clever fellows, of course I do not speak of really intelligent people like Lezama or Mariano ) and this bath was the first bath after four days with an acute attack of sinusitis which makes me very miserable. For that reason I have deserted Villa Olga. I had no one to take care of poor Pepe there. Pompilio is very indifferent in these matters and Lucera, well, she just makes funny faces and goes on chewing her pensive leaves of grass. I was delighted to read the little discourse on my animals (they are not worthy of such elegant attention ) and most assured by your opinion on the ignorant man. I say "assured" because I have many such ignorant men for friends and I have been criticized bitterly by some of my literary friends who consider it a waste of time and a contamination. "Think of your Spanish and your modales (manners)" they exclaim. Sometimes they accuse me of having the democratic virus and cite Baudelaire to reinforce their silly ideas. Of course, all these lads are the very ones who are so bored most of the time, and come to Villa Olga to entertain themselves, or their souls. They are amazed at the fact that I am contented, occupied and even a little fatter. They all go away, however, for the city has too many shallow distractions for such people.

I agree with you, old wise man (how old are you anyway? I hope the old won't disgust you ) in that I do not think as much as I should. But remember that thinking is a difficult process and I did much rather look at Pompilio eating his oats or just converse with Evaristo, a blond guajiro who comes to bring the groceries. I will try to think more intensely and precisely as you recommend.

I saw an article, very poor indeed, on your genre of poesia in the latest Sewanee. I could not define your poetry so easily, but I like it very much and read it quite often. In that Sewanee came the Phi Beta Kappa poem which I had already read (fragments ) in the Harvard Bulletin. Of lately I have been reading only poetry, 16 and 17th century Spanish poetry which is marvelous. That is enough for a few months, with our daily exercises of gymnastic thought.

My essay on Scott Fitzgerald is gathering moths in the deepness of a drawer. I came to him with the best of intentions but he bores me so and there are so many more interesting things to read and do.... I am coming to regard reading now as a close circle and only the most excellent of poets and writers get around the circle. For instance, I discover that I knew nothing of the French theatre: Racine, Moliere and Corneille were unknown figures although I had gone thru the gestures of perusing some of their plays when learning French. I must therefore spend some time in their wonderful world, above all Moliere's.

I might close by reiterating my invitation to have you lock up the Insurance and take a trip to Habana this winter. If you decide to do that, let me know in time. Otherwise, I might go to N.Y. this Xmas to see my sister Olga.

An affectionate embrace,

Did I ever talk to you of Linda, my lovely (she) dog -- how do you say perra?

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