Philip Rahv on Dostoyevsky’s The Possessed

Philip Rahv was the most dialectical of thinkers in the PR group, with the possible exception of Sidney Hook in his dialectical days. Throughout the summer issues of  Partisan Review, 1938, you can feel the need of the contributors to attach what Rahv calls “classical” literary traditions to the present moment, while remaining committed to the positions of the non-CP communists within and around Trotsky. In his essay on Dostoyevsky, Rahv begins his discussion of  The Possessed by making this explicit argument:  A classic has to stay alive to be readable.

“To be means to recur.  In the struggle for survival among works of art, those prove themselves the fittest that recur most often…. The past retains its vitality insofar as it impersonates the present, either in its aversions or ideals; in the same way a classic work renews itself by impersonating a modern one.”

And so Rahv uses his argument to turn the explicitly reactionary Dostoyevsky into the hidden but present radical Dostoyevsky.  The Possessed has become contemporary again because it addresses itself to the problems of revolutionary politics.  The particulars will differ beween the earlier 19th century arguments for Liberalism and Slavism and Nihilism, and those of Bolshevism, but, as Rahv orientates the reader, “It is not by chance that on the occasion of the Moscow Trials, the world press unanimously recalled to its readers the name of Dostoyevsky, the great nay-sayer to the revolution.” 

As you may already know, Dostoyevsky had been involved in his twenties with a radical group in St. Petersburg who studied and modelled themselves on French Utopian thinking. He was arrested with others in the group, and sentenced to four years of hard labour and then exile to Siberia. Rahv suggests that the recovery of Dostoyevsky to Soviet favour was anchored to the fantasy of the ‘Slav Soul.’  As a version of the instinctual mythical romantic nationalism that was abroad in Europe, the  ‘Slav Soul ‘ became an aesthetic movement as well.

Peredvizhniki –Slavophile Artists, 1872     Alphonse Maria Mucha, “The UNion of all Slavs.”


“That swollen concept [the Slav Soul] is the product of the sociological romanticism of the Slavophile movement, which substituted brooding about history for making it… As for those ‘sympathisers’ of Stalin who use the “Slav Soul” to prove the innocence of the GPU and the guilt of its victims…If you make the unfathomable perversity of the Slav nature  your premise, then logically your conclusion cannot exclude any explanation, no matter how wild and incredible.”  

Rahv  argues that although Dostoyevsky had turned against political revolutionary theory, “this analyst of contradictions, who was ever vibrating between faith and heresy, made revolutionaries the object of his venom, there is a real affinity between them.  If Dostoyevsky is now on the side of the revolutionaries, then those are the revolutionaries of the Left Opposition, and the revolutionaries who are the victims of the Moscow Trials.

“If in the past social critics dismissed The Possessed as a vicious caricature of the socialist movement, today the emergence of  Stalinism compels a revision of that judgement. Its peculiar ‘timeliness’ flows from the fact that the motives, actions, and ideas of the revolutionaries in it are so ambiguous, so embedded in mystifications, as to suggest those astonishing negations of the revolutionary ideal which have come into existence since Lenin’s death.[1924]

Taking on the principal characters of The Possessed, beginning with Verhovensky, who Rahv compares with two secret policemen of Stalin’s NKVD, Genrich Yagoda1936_genrich_grigorijewitsch_jagodaYezov and Nikolai Yezhov, both of whom were later denounced and added to the numbers of those executed during  the Moscow Trials and shortly afterwards.

Rahv writes that Dostoyevsky “hated socialism because it objectified his lack of belief and his heretical love for the  boundless expansion and change of which the human mind is capable”. He concludes this essay proving Dostoyevsky’s revolutionary meaning :  “Reactionary in its abstract content, in its aspect as a system of ideas, his art is radical in sensibility and subversive in performance. Rahv’s tour de force also adumbrates the future of criticism.


In 1972, Rahv took another look at Dostoyevsky and there found a version of the novelist’s work that opens out into what will become that more meaningful within rising theories of post-structuralism. Rahv dismisses Reinhard Lauth’s Dostoevsky’s Philosophy Systematically Presented,  as a critical gaffe of the first order: “For in Dostoevsky there is in fact no systematic philosophy, no consistent and logically shaped point of view, neither a stable outlook nor any kind of mental stasis. His speculatively charged, dynamic, spiritually and intellectually turbulent mode of thought breeds mostly insoluble contradictions, paradoxes at once stimulating and disruptive, as well as outright antinomies. The ponderous systematizing that Herr Lauth goes in for with such dogged persistence is a quality of his own intellectual temper, not of Dostoevsky’s.”  Rahv concludes his essay for the New York Review of Books, by looking again at the disjunctions and openings in Dostoeyevsky’s narratives, and linking them to another opposition in his work; that between the old and Hebraic story of the lost kingdom and the prospect of a new earthly paradise, to be made and enjoyed here in this world.

“This alternate vision can thus be said to be a precursor of the historical shift from the concern with what exists beyond the visible world to the concern with the visible. As William James once phrased it, “The earth of things, long thrown into shade by the glories of the upper ether, must resume its rights.”

SO Rahv secures the author of The Possessed  for  the Trots, and later, for the deconstructioneers.

read the full text:  click        

next:   Dwight Macdonald on Soviet Cinema, 1930-1938 (Part One).

Reading Partisan Review — One year on

I have now completed a year’s worth of posts about Partisan Review on this site.   I have learned a huge amount about the values and norms and intellectual issues that fuelled the discussions of the contributors during the journal’s first two years, 1937 and 1938, through a reading their poems, essays, articles, political polemics. I have been grateful for the suggestions and comments made by my Followers, and my respect for this blogging life has increased as I have come to read the many blogs that have helped me with this one.

All of which is to say:  I am going to take this weekend off… I will be back next week, with a post on Philip Rahv’s article on Dostoevsky’s politics.

rahv-mugshot-197x300                                 Unknown-9


Looking forward to looking back: Meyer Schapiro on Lewis Mumford: 1938

NOTE:  For reasons I haven’t discovered yet, the BU online Partisan Review is not working .  I think the Schapiro article is very interesting, and will be of interest to those interested in Mumford, in Schapiro, and in issues of reform and revolution. Since I can’t make a link to the text, I give you here the info for finding it in the NYPL or the BL, or university libraries:

Meyer Schapiro, “Looking forward to looking backward” Partisan Review,  vol.5, No.2 July, 1938, pp 12-25.

Meyer Shapiro (by Alice Neel)

In 1938, Meyer Schapiro, the art historian we have met before (see post in this blog: 28 January, 2017) was 34 years old and teaching at Columbia. His contribution to the June, 1938 issue of  Partisan Review was a detailed exegesis of Lewis Mumford’s important book, The Culture of Cities (1938).  Mumford, who later went to to win the National Book Award in 1962, was tat this time, 43, not quite ten years older than Schapiro, and had already won a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1932. His book was given a front page review in the NY Times Book Review, where it was enthusiastically reviewed by R.L. Duffus, who had a strong reputation at The New York Times from 1937 through 1962.

Unknown-9 Lewis Mumford  $_57 April 17, 1938

The two culture and art critics — Mumford and Schapiro–   were well matched for intellectual engagement. Schapiro’s essay, wryly titled “Looking Forward to Looking Back” reminds  us that exposition is 70% of intepretation;  Schapiro’s sharp criticism of Mumford’s ‘reformism’ arises from his very clear exposition of Mumford’s argument. This provides the evidence with which to judge  Mumford’s study in relation to Schapiro’s intellectual world, which at this time was the Trotskyism and community (well lets call it the gang) around Partisan Review. 

(I have lifted the next paragraph from my earlier blog post on Schapiro: )Meyer Schapiro grew up in  Brooklyn.  Born in Lithuania in 1904, he came with his mother to New York in 1907, to join his father, who taught Hebrew in the city.  Schapiro was interested in art and in politics from an early age, and his work as an art historian was marked by his concern for  the social and cultural influences on art, and as experienced by the artist. He wrote for the Nation, Partisan Review, and the New Masses.  Although he worked on ancient art and sculpture, he was fascinated by and wrote much about contemporary art as well. My sense is that his academic credentials were so strong that many on the Left left him out of the set of those who were pilloried for not being activists.  But it is also the case that most of the Partisan Review considered him to be the creator of a new kind of art history — that was as engaged with the issues of class struggle as with those of technique.  If you want to read some great articles he wrote, I recommend you go to rosswolfe’s The Charnel House blog on WordPress, where you will find a number of Schapiro’s most interesting papers, including his 1950 critique of Heidegger’s “The Origin of the Work of Art.” Its a very satisfying read.

If you don’t already know the vocabulary of left politics in  1938, Trotskyists, who had been expelled from the Soviet Communist Party, held on quite adamantly to the distinction between  reform and revolution. Reformism wasn’t simply a call for the reformation of the state, but a prospect of  a slowish but posited inevitable replacement of capitalism by socialism. That is, proponents  drew on Marxist principles while eschewing the practice of revolutionary violence, and did not feel they had compromised the goal of socialism or communism.  Everyone else felt the opposite; namely, that reformism was counter-revolutionary and a betrayal of Communism.  Now that we are well into the issues of 1938, the Stalinist Show trials, the German invasion of Austria, and the creation of a Trotskyist movement in exile, you can see how pusillanimous  the reformists seemed to Revolutionary activists.1907-or-1908-maybe-rosa-luxemburg-rls

The distinction between the two was articulated by Rosa Luxemburg  in a pamphlet she wrote in 1899.  She argued that the political groups of trade unions, and social democrats, while important to the proletariat’s development of class consciousness  cannot create a socialist society.

Schapiro’s criticism of Mumford is born from Luxemburg’s and Trotsky’s politics, but has the added authority of Schapiro’s reputation as an art historian. The dove-tailing  of his academic authority  with his political orientation grounds his argument  that Mumford is inaccurate in questions of art history, over-generalised in his models of historical change, and Reformist in his model of socialist change.

What Schapiro calls Mumford’s “thesis” is a reformist programme of what would constitute “the possibilities of a good city in the future.” Having noted that Mumford’s work is “a work of public education, and full of informative matter, often curious and delightful, touching on many more aspects of history than are ordinarily treated in books on architecture and planning,”  He goes on to eat away, like a friendly but insistent mouse at Mumford’s assumptions, attitudes, and positions. The shape of history that Mumford presents is one in which the securities of medieval life were wrecked by the “the rise of machine technology, despotism, militarism, and capitalism , that the city began to assume its present and hypertrophied.” 

For example, Schapiro argues that Mumford has substituted style for a more complex social and political and cultural network of influences. In Mumford’s writing, style dissolves its specific  meaning into something much less accurate and less useful: “Thus Mumford gives a paramount importance to the concept of ‘baroque,’ by which he designates practically the whole of post-medieval society from the 15th century to the 19th.”  Mumford has, Schapiro writes, seen a turn around from this deterioration in the work of urban planning since the later decades of the 19th century. Now he embraces the “newer ideals of regionalism, conservation, and the garden city, all related to the “biotechnic economy” patterned on the organism.”   You can guess that this is going to end in something unlike revolutionary socialism.   It does.   The Garden City Movement, begun by Ebeneezer Howard after the publication in 1889 of  Edward Bellemy’s, “Looking Backward”, a utopian novel of socialism triumphant, was a version of what Mumford encouraged, and helps explains Schapiro’s essay’s title “Looking forward to lookin back.”


Schapiro moves from Mumford’s inaccuracy about style to his reduction of elements of pictorial art to the determinations of history, through a technique of analogical thinking: for Mumford, “The forms seem to arise from a field. beyond the canvas (politics)….But no historian of art will take the comparison seriously …. ” and goes on to list a number of technical aspects of art form that Mumford misunderstands in his discussion of the organic.

Shapiro wins in the disciplined logic of his critique of Mumford, and makes something of a fool of him. But then, Schapiro has an organised field of Marxist analysis to guide him.

When I read Schapiro’s post-war work of the 60s and 70s  I find something of Mumford’s spirit of adventure in his own arguments, even though Mumford had the ‘wrong line’ –Reformism!

In Memoriam. John Ashbery


Its been a tough week here what with John Ashbery’s death on Sunday. I was a New York City kid who grew up reading John Ashbery and Frank O’Hara.  Though I loved O’Hara from the start, it took until I was in my mid-20s before I could find my way through an Ashbery poem without grabbing for the shore.   Then, as if by a miracle, the poems began to invite me in — maybe I just relaxed.

The one here, from A WAVE, is what I thought of as soon as I learned that he had died. Death imbued and funny, Keatsian and autumnal, it a pure product elegy.


Somewhere someone is traveling furiously toward you,
At incredible speed, traveling day and night,
Through blizzards and desert heat, across torrents, through narrow passes.
But will he know where to find you,
Recognize you when he sees you,
Give you the thing he has for you?

Hardly anything grows here,
Yet the granaries are bursting with meal,
The sacks of meal piled to the rafters.
The streams run with sweetness, fattening fish;
Birds darken the sky. Is it enough
That the dish of milk is set out at night,
That we think of him sometimes,
Sometimes and always, with mixed feelings.


Next Week: Meyer Shapiro on Lewis Mumford…

Summer Reading, 1938. The PR short story contest

The June issue of Partisan Review, Vol.5, No. 2 begins with the names of the winners of a short story contest held by the journal: Delmore Schwartz and Mary King would split the prize of $100, and the runners-up were Elizabeth Bishop and James Agee.  Three of these writers had been associated with Partisan Review from its start, while Mary King’s submission to the contest, “My Father Brought Winter,” was unsolicited.Read the story: (copy and paste into browser)

I can’t find the original announcement of the contest, but about King herself the journal included this:“Mary King writes from New Orleans: ‘The story which you have accepted is the first thing I have had published. I was born in Angleton, Texas. I tried newspaper work for a while and various other jobs one gets in depressions by ringing doorbells, answering advertisements and visiting employment agencies– stenographic and even secretarial. But I didn’t like them. Three years ago I came to New Orleans, where I am now living in the French quarter. I settled down to writing seriously, though I had tried it spasmodically before, only last October.’

Atlas_Delmore-Schwartz Delmore Schwartz

Schwartz’s “The Statues,” (see post on this blog, 8 July, 2017 for more about Schwartz’s story) is a proto-magical realist evocation of how the imagination can turn whatever it perceives into harbingers of an altered world of light.  I suppose Delmore was too much of an insider at PR to be given the whole prize, but his story is contemporary, absurd, ironic, and modernist. Read the story: (copy and paste into browser)

ElizabethBishop     Elizabeth Bishop

Elizabeth Bishop’s “In Prison” (see post on this blog, 7 April, 2017 for more on this story), is more like one of Kafka’s than it is like Atlantic Modernism, and while it is chilling and distressing, it also creates an atmosphere of uncanny cosiness. No crime is mentioned, but the oppressive inevitability of imprisonment is always with the narrator and with the reader. It becomes clear that the narrator is always in prospect of prison, now while living in a ‘hotel-existence,’ but later ‘in’ the prison; that is the primary condition.’ Read the Story:(copy and paste into browser):

James Agee James Agee

James Agee’s “Knoxville: Summer of 1915”  is a phenomenology of the experience of evening in a small provincial town in the south, and moves generically from narrative to poem to prayer. It became the preface to Agee’s novel, A Death in the Family, an oratorio by the composer,Samuel Barber, and a part of the curriculum of high-school English classes in the well into the 1960s.  (I have included Agee’s text at the end of this post).


Summer is the time for fiction and what these stories all share is a vision of the American heartland as a geography of both small-mindedness and quiet continuity; for those who have fled Texas and Knoxville for writing lives, and those, like Bishop and Schwartz, who have been drawn into surreal surroundings of mystery-and-beauty and mystery-and-fear.

These stories all also are touched by the debates going on in the later 1930s about what kind of genres were revolutionary.  Partisan Review  neither entirely endorsed nor rejected the popularity of ‘proletarian’ literature. That is, not in the way in which its advocacy of Modernism in literature and art was an unwavering commitment within  the journal’s cultural-political point of view.

“My Father Brought Winter” is a distorted companion to Agee’s piece. Social  and material life is rotting — teeth breaking, men drinking, and crops just as unhealthy. The narrator, now older and long fled, was a girl in a dying family of American crisis — the depression, capitalism, the works. She is invaded by the disappointments of her father, her uncle(?) and the land itself, and becomes like them, flat, colourless, stagnant. Even the hatreds within the family are fading into a vaguer complaisance.

Agee’s memoir/poem/reverie transmutes the everydayness into a kind of holiness. The plain southern American life, with its routines and its small pleasures is, indeed, the grounding of Agee’s stream of remembrance, and like Schwartz’s “Statues” it lifts the quotidian into the miraculous.

Tyler-by-Deren-from-Boultenhouse-upright Parker Tyler

The contest elicited a letter from Parker Tyler in the next issue of Partisan Review (Vol. V,No.60 (see post about Tyler on this blog, ‘There is nothing we have to say that/We do not lean over saying as/From a Balcony’ February 11, 2017), in which he praised the serious critical work of PR, but sugared no pill about the works of fiction, in particular the story that opened the June issue, “My father Brought Winter,” by Mary King:

Your new number reads and it strikes me with even greater force that the critical function of the Review is far more creative than is the creative function.  I am glad to see LONG reviews and articles. Length in these things is important. But as for Mary King’s story, to which you award half the prize, if your judgment is correct and it is really tops over 300 stories, Partisan Review is not serving the public by such a contest and is, aesthetically, wasting its money……I do suggest, emphatically,that you would improve the value of the magazine by confining it to criticism, and excluding both poetry and fiction. For on the basis of what you have published of the two latter categories, the Review has no reason for a monthly existence.”

Tyler’s suggestion was ignored, and PR continued to publish poetry and fiction.


“Knoxville: Summer of 1915:

Knoxville: Summer of 1915  by James Agee (This is in its entirety with the same paragraph breaks as originally provided by the author. The Barber version set to music uses approximately a third of this text)

We are talking now of summer evenings in Knoxville, Tennessee, in the time I lived there so successfully disguised to myself as a child. It was a little bit sort of block, fairly solidly lower middle class, with one or two juts apiece on either side of that. The houses corresponded: middle­sized gracefully fretted wood houses built in the late nineties and early nineteen hundreds, with small front and side and more spacious back yards, and trees in the yards, and porches. These were softwooded trees, poplars, tulip trees, cottonwoods. There were fences around one or two of the houses, but mainly the yards ran into each other with only now and then a low hedge that wasn’t doing very well. There were few good friends among the grown people, and they were not enough for the other sort of intimate acquaintance, but everyone nodded and spoke, and even might talk short times, trivially, and at the two extremes of general or the particular, and ordinarily next door neighbors talked quiet when they happened to run into each other, and never paid calls. The men mostly small businessmen, one or two very modestly executives, one or two worked with their hands, most of them clerical, and most of them between and forty-­five.

But it is of these evenings, I speak. Supper was at six and was over by half past. There was still daylight, shining softly and with a tarnish, like the lining of a shell; and the carbon lamps lifted the corners were on in the light, and the locusts were started, and the fire flies were out, and a few frogs were flopping in the dewy grass, by the time the fathers and the children came out. The children ran out first hell bent and yelling those names by which they were known; then the fathers sank out leisurely crossed suspenders, their collars removed and their necks looking tall and shy. The mothers stayed back in the kitchen washing and drying, putting things away, recrossing their traceless footsteps like the lifetime journeys of bees, measuring out the dry cocoa for breakfast. When they came out they had taken off their aprons and their skirts were dampened and they sat in rockers on porches quietly. It is not of the games children play in the evening that I want to speak now, it is of a contemporaneous atmosphere that has little to do with them: that of fathers of families, each in his space of lawn, his shirt fishlike pale in the unnatural light and his face nearly anonymous, hosing their lawns. The hoses were attached at spigots that stood out of the brick foundations of the houses. The nozzles were variously set but usually so there was a long sweet stream spray, the nozzle wet in the hand, the water trickling the right forearm and peeled-­back cuff, and the water whishing out a long loose and low­curved and so gentle a sound. First an insane noise of violence in the nozzle, then the irregular sound of adjustment, then the smoothing into steadiness and a pitch accurately tuned to the size and style of stream as any violin. So many qualities of sound out of one hose: so many choral differences out of those several hoses that were in earshot. Out of any one hose, the almost dead silence of the release, and the short still arch of the separate big drops, silent as a held breath, and only the noise of the flattering noise on leaves and the slapped grass at the fall of abig drop. That, and the intense hiss with the intense stream; that, and that intensity not growing less but growing more quiet and delicate with the turn the nozzle, up to the extreme tender whisper when the water was just a wide of film. Chiefly, though, the hoses were set much alike, in a compromise between distance and tenderness of spray (and quite surely a sense of art behind this compromise, and a quiet deep joy, too real to recognize itself), and the sounds therefore were pitched much alike; pointed by the snorting start of a new hose; decorated by some man playful with the nozzle; left empty, like God by the sparrow’s fall, when any single one of them desists: and all, though near alike,of various pitch; and in this unison.

These sweet pale streamings in the light out their pallors and their voices all together, mothers hushing their children, the hushing unnaturally prolonged, the men gentle and silent and each snail-like withdrawn into the quietude of what he singly is doing, the urination of huge children stood loosely military against an invisible wall, and gentle happy and peaceful, tasting the mean goodness of their living like the last of their suppers in their mouths; while the locusts carry on this noise of hoses on their much higher and sharper key. The noise of the locust is dry, and it seems not to be rasped or vibrated but urged from him as if through a small orifice by a breath that can never give out. Also there is never one locust but an illusion of at least a thousand. The noise of each locust is pitched in some classic locust range out of which none of them varies more than two full tones: and yet you seem to hear each locust discrete from all the rest, and there is a long, slow, pulse in their noise, like the scarcely defined arch of a long and high set bridge. They are all around in every tree, so that the noise seems to come from nowhere and everywhere at once, from the whole shell heaven, shivering in your flesh and teasing your eardrums, the boldest of all the sounds of night. And yet it is habitual to summer nights, and is of the great order of noises, like the noises of the sea and of the blood her precocious grandchild, which you realize you are hearing only when you catch yourself listening. Meantime from low in the dark, just outside the swaying horizons of the hoses, conveying always grass in the damp of dew and its strong green-black smear of smell, the regular yet spaced noises of the crickets, each a sweet cold silver noise three-noted, like the slipping each time of three matched links of a small chain. But the men by now, one by one, have silenced their hoses and drained and coiled them. Now only two, and now only one, is left, and you see only ghostlike shirt with the sleeve garters, and sober mystery of his mild face like the lifted face of large cattle enquiring of your presence in a pitch dark pool of meadow; and now he too is gone; and it has become that time of evening when people sit on their porches, rocking gently and talking gently and watching the street and the standing up into their sphere of possession of the trees, of birds hung havens, hangars. People go by; things go by. A horse, drawing a buggy, breaking his hollow iron music on the asphalt; a loud auto; a quiet auto; people in pairs, not in a hurry, scuffling, switching their weight of aestival body, talking casually, the taste hovering over them of vanilla, strawberry, pasteboard and starched milk, the image upon them of lovers and horsemen, squared with clowns in hueless amber. A street car raising its iron moan; stopping, belling and starting; stertorous; rousing and raising again its iron increasing moan and swimming its gold windows and straw seats on past and past and past, the bleak spark crackling and cursing above it like a small malignant spirit set to dog its tracks; the iron whine rises on rising speed; still risen, faints ; halts, the faint stinging bell; rises again, still fainter, fainting, lifting, lifts, faints forgone: forgotten. Now is the night one blue dew. Now is the night one blue dew, my father has drained, he has coiled the hose.Low on the length of lawns, a frailing of fire who breathes. Content, silver, like peeps of light, each cricket makes his comment over and over in the drowned grassA cold toad thumpily flounders.Within the edges of damp shadows of side yards are hovering children nearly sick with joy of fear, who watch the unguarding of a telephone pole. Around white carbon corner lamps bugs of all sizes are lifted elliptic, solar systems. Big hardshells bruise themselves, assailant: he is fallen on his back, legs squiggling. Parents on porches: rock and rock: From damp strings morning glories : hang their ancient faces. The dry and exalted noise of the locusts from all the air at once enchants my eardrums. On the rough wet grass of the back yard my father and mother have spread quilts.

We all lie there, my mother, my father, my uncle, my aunt, and I too am lying there. First we were sitting up, then one of us lay down, and then we all lay down, on our stomachs, or on our sides, or on our backs, and they have kept on talking. They are not talking much, and the talk is quiet, of nothing in particular, of nothing at all in particular, of nothing at all. The stars are wide and alive, they seem each like a smile of great sweetness, and they seem very near. All my people are larger bodies than mine, quiet, with voices gentle and meaningless like the voices of sleeping birds. One is an artist, he is living at home. One is a musician, she is living at home. One is my mother who is good to me. One is my father who is good to me. By some chance, here they are, all on this earth; and who shall ever tell the sorrow of being on this earth, lying, on quilts, on the grass, in a summer evening, among the sounds of night. May god bless my people, my uncle, my aunt, my mother, my good father, oh, remember them kindly in their time of trouble; and in the hour of their taking away.After a little I am taken in and put to bed. Sleep, soft smiling, draws me unto her: and those receive me, who quietly treat me, as one familiar and well-beloved in that home: but will not, oh, will not, not now, not ever; but will not ever tell me who I am. (c) 1938