ORANGE AND WHITE LITERARY SUPPLEMENT
5he phoenix January, 1960
To Our Readers and Contributors: The Phoenix cannot exist without you. We, the editors and staff, thank you for your reception of our first issue and for your comments and contributions for this issue. Unfortunately, we cannot print all material submitted to us-space does not permit. Contributions for our third issue, scheduled to appear in late February, must be received by The Phoenix editorial staff not later than February second. Short stories not exceeding 10,000 words; poems, preferably not over one-hundred and thirty lines; articles on literature, art, philosophy, current affairs and personal experiences; and pen and ink drawings may be submitted. Address contributions and letters to: The Phoenix Box 253 1621 Cumberland Ave. Knoxville, Tennessee
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ORANGE AND WHITE LITERARY SUPPLEMENT
. . . !}anuap'l' 1960 â€˘ . .
NAN JESSE SUE RENICK
Reading Can Get You Somewhere
BEVERLY GAIL BAYLESS Section Editors:
, Drowned Love
Fiction JEFF GREENE
DAVID LEE RUBIN For Another Time
Poetry KAY REAGER
JIMMY CLEMMER Exposition
Cardboard Fenders JIMMY CLEMMER CAROL COLLI ER
Yeats' Poetic Complexity and Consistency
JULIE MEANS LAURA JEAN GOSS A New Look
Juanita Brinkley, Chica Colebank, Sonja Eliassen, Ann Foote, Laura Jean Goss, H. Phillips Hamlin, Millicent Stone, Julia Witt
The Unvaliant Cross
CLIFTON GOODLETT The Cave -
COVER R. Bolton
Dr. Percy G. Adams
University of Tennessee Publications Council
Dr. Dale G. Cleaver
Department of Fine Art
Dr. Robert W. Daniel
Department of English
Dr. James F. Davidson
Department of Political Science
Professor James E. Kalshoven
School of Journalism
Professor Frank Thornburg
The Gadfly's Sting
The better literature of this century is not pessimistic or sordid to be novel and sensational, but to express a felt truth about our age. When men no longer choose to recognize the existence of challenge, literature, which cannot ignore the emotions and attitudes of its age, reacts by portraying the inertia of comfort-surfeited people, fixing in the mirror of form the terrible complacency of the age. The image of a world dominated by the dehumanizing standardization not only of materials but also of men is ugly. It disgusts us and we condemn the writers who have given it vivid existence in their works. Viewing such works as T. S. Eliot's Waste Land, his later obscurely symbolic dramas The Family Reunion and The Cocktail Party, or Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman without considering their relation to the society which bred them confuses and offends us. Why, we ask, does Eliot's speaker in The Waste Land talk about "White bodies naked on low damp ground and bones cast in a little low dry garret," and describe the sordid seduction of the typist by "the young man carbuncular"? Why must Harry, Lord Monchensey, and Celia Coplestone seek answers in apparitions and riddles? In the world of Willy Loman - our world - we apparently have no alternative. The reality of a Willie Loman's life offers no answers to existence beyond the need to at least counterfeit financial success. The final insignificance of such a life appears in Eliot's images-bodies decaying uncared for, bones turning to dust in an empty attic, and man's deepest emotional involvement a shabby affair of the senses. These images, like Willie's unheroic suicide following his failure to delude himself and his associates into thinking him a great salesman, reveal the hollowness of a materialistically oriented society. If we, Willie's co-inhabitants in this society, seek values more lasting than the new stereo or Cadillac, we must probe beyond the tangible world of steel, concrete, and currency into the obscure territory of emotional and intellectual existence which Eliot has symbolized in the Emnenides and in Celia's tragic death. Literature, by its selectivity, isolates the individual experience of a failure such as Willie or an unprincipled success such as William Faulkner's Flem Snopes and portrays in these individuals the "objective correlative" of the machine age. Through them, we see men who either have lost themselves in social conformity or are ignorant of ethical and cultural values which do not enhance their social-economic status. We cannot dismiss these evils with a casual shudder of disgust. Like the citizens of Athens whom Socrates questioned, we have felt the gadfly's sting.
Reading Can Get You Somewhere Miz Marshall. I know Miz Tandy. 1 even know Mr. Ardell (the director.) But I don't know you." "I don't know you either, Sonny," I said as deflatingly as I could. "Sonny" drew himself up to his full four feet nine and indignantly announced that his name was Maximilian Turner, that he was ten years old, and that he was the smartest boy in West Wartburg Elementary. He then proceeded to empty his bulging knapsack onto the desk. "Look at that!" he said. 1 looked. "That's ten more books I done read. Mark it up." The library, hoping to prevent the small-fry from backsliding into illiteracy during their summer vacation, annually sponsored a Reading Club. The task of reading was made more palatable by the lure of seeing one's name on a chart (in red pencil!) when one had read ten books and receiving a colored star for each additional ten. I looked at the chart; its first member was none other than the Maximilian Turner who stood so glaringly before me. "I git a green star, this time," he instructed. "I done read thirty books now." I was genuinely impressed. The Reading Club had only been organized for three weeks. "I'm gonna read a hunnerd if it kills me!" he said earnestly. "I bet there ain~t nobody else gonna read a hunnerd books this summer!" I don't doubt it. "I got two stars already. Ain't nobody else got that many." I consulted the chart. The nearest contender was one Drucilla Willis with a paltry red star. "We1l," I said, "you've got a good head start." He was, however, too modest to claim victory so early. "Yeah," he agreed thoughtfully, "but I gotta git to work on that next star." And he tramped off in search of more literary fodder. I was watching with great interest Maximilian's efforts to reach a book that was over his head, literally speaking, when a husky voice breathed confidentally in my ear. "I want to join the Reading Club, honey." I turned to see what species of child was accustomed to addressing her elders in such a manner (the thought passed through my mind that perhaps her
It was impossible for me to pretend that the surroundings of the Wartburg Public Library were cultural; in spite of valiant efforts on the part of the Chamber of Con1merce, the bare facts were there, tangible and ineradicable. The library was on a side street in the center of town, two blocks from Market Square, one block from the Baptist Mission, and directly across the street from Mae's Cafe (the primary attributes of which were Schlitz and Rooms for Rent). Although the library did not have any concrete lions on its front steps, it did have some remarkably stony-faced farmers. The Wartburg Public Library was surpassed only by the courthouse in its attraction for farmers, drunks, and any other persons similarly disinclined to exertion. These patrons would sit, in all their odoriferous glory, sprawled on the marble steps and spitting at the "Please Do Not Walk on the Grass" sign. What they discussed at their open-air seminars, I never knew. Running the gantlet of these human fountains without intercepting at least one of the watery missiles intended for the sign was quite a feat, and the prospect of lingering within range was not a particularly savory one. No matter how early I contrived to arrive at work, they managed to get there before me; and as a result I always started the day with a mad dash up the steps, head lowered, and skirts clutched about me. Once I had taken up my post behind the circulation desk, however, I settled down to more sedentary activities, such as discarding broken records that had been blithely dropped in the Drive-Up Book Return. One morning, as I was in the process of writing threatening letters to patrons whose books were overdue (they were, in the office jargon, "Blacklisted"), a short, blonde little boy with a knapsack on his back strode up to the desk and, adjusting his glasses, peered up at me. "Who are you?" he said loudly. I told him my name. "Never seen you here before," he frowned. I told him I had only been there four days. He was relieved. "Thought so," he nodded. "I know this library like a book. I know everybody that works here. I know 3
gered off again to a remote part of the reading room. I was surprised that she could read at all, and I was amazed when, three hours later, she was still in her corner pouring over the volumes. True, the volumes had such titles as Mambo Made Easy and Why Birth Control?, but they were volumes. A month later the chart showed Maximilian Turner still leading with six stars; but he was no longer confident. Reading furiously, Ivy Rose was a close second with five stars; she had even taken to coming at night and reading until we closed. No doubt she was losing money by spending her evening hours in a library, but she was determined to out-read Maximilian. and she went at it with a vengence. One day she had been in the library for several hours before I recognized her (and it was almost impossible not to recognize Ivy Rose). She was entirely chan ged. "Ivy Rose!" I said, "You're wearing glasses!" - h," she giggled. "Ain't it wonderful?" I a . '~ed her that they made her look ever so intellectual-and that was my mistake. From that moment on, she was absolutely devoted to me. A few days later, on my lunch hour, she spotted me in a department store and yoo-hooed clear across the room. Two clerks turned to stare at Ivy Rose's new crony, who by this time was hiding behind dark glasses. Another month of this eye-to-eye combat wore on, and with only a few days to go, the tension was mounting. They were neck and neck now, and the outcome was most uncertain. The suspense was so great that a few of our regular patrons had taken to speculating as to which would come out on top. To make the contest even more interesting, a few small wagers had been placed; and, because there was some question as to the reliability of the speculators' integrity, I was requested to keep the money and the books. The day of reckoning dawned at last; the Reading Club was to officially dissolve at noon. Maximilian and Ivy Rose arrived at ten o'clock and went to their respective corners of the reading room. The speculators converged at a table in the center of the room; and, looking their entries up and down to make sure they were still in good reading condition, they spoke in hushed tones. "I puts my money on the gal," said a Negro man whom we were continually having to eject for eating his lunch in the reference room. "Look at them eyeballs go! They's jumpin' back an' forth like crickets on a griddle!" "Nope," said the over aIled farmer. "That young un's got 'er beat. I kin tell 'cause his haid's abnormal big; hit's stuffed with brains, hit is."
mother was a saleswoman), and I found myself face to face with Ivy Rose. Ivy Rose was undoubtedly the best-known figure in Wartburg. Not a day passed by that some innocent little child didn't point a tiny finger and in a clear ringing voice shout, "There's Ivy Rose!" His mother would then gently smack him and lead him away by a small pink ear, giving him such motherly advice as, "If I catch you near that tramp again, I'll tan your hide!" Yes, Ivy Rose was a familiar sight as she would lean against a lamp-post whistling at the boys; and for only two dollars, Ivy Rose would lean against the boys. "Honey," she breathed again, "I want to join the Reading Club." "But Ivy Rose," I stammered, "the Reading Club is for kids. And," I added lamely, "you're not a kid." God knows, she wasn't a kid! Even beneath that layer of orange make-up and fiery rouge, I thought I saw her face reddening. Her black pencilled eyebrows began to come together in a scowl, and she swung her black beaded bag ominously. Being a confirmed coward, I gave in. "Okay, Ivy Rose," I sighed, "you can join the Reading Club." "She beamed from earring to earring. I opened the reading Club register and wrote her name. "Address?" "Well, honey, I am presently residing at the Hotel Lafayette, but I may be moving soon." I wrote: transient. "Age?" "Twenty-eight." "Grade?" I grimaced. "Congratulations," I said, "you're now a full-fledged member of the Reading Club. For your first ten books, you get your name on the chart; for each additional ten, you get a star. You'd better get started if you want to catch up with Maximilian Turner. He's read thirty books in three weeks, and he aims to read a hunnerd-hundred!" "A hundred, huh?" she said. "We'll see." And slyly winking one of her green-shadowed eyes, she turned and teetered off on her spike heels. Half an hour later, she reappeared, staggering under an armload of books. She dumped them on the desk and mopped her orange brow with a large flowered handkerchief. "Do yer stuff, honey," she panted. I checked out ten of the books and said, "You'll have to read the rest in the building, Ivy Rose. We've only got so nlany books, and contrary to popular opinion our collection does not rival that of the Library of Congress.' "Aw," she said consolingly, "your library is better than Congress's any day." She loaded up and stag4
"Aw, how you know that?" asked the Negro. "I done read hit in a book." "What book? You ain't never read no book." He was mistaken; the farmer had, indeed, read a book. It was (in his words) The Battle of Gittysburg. They were too intent on the business at hand to start on one of their all-day squabbles that morning. They looked at the clock. Eleven-fifteen. They looked at Maximilian; he was reading. They looked at Ivy Rose; she was reading. They looked at me; I was changing the odds on a small blackboard propped up on the desk. Suddenly the door burst open, and a policeman
bounded into the room blasting on his whistle. "This is a raid!" he yelled at the top of his lungs. "Officer! Officer!" I said in a discreet whisper. "You're in a library!" "This ain't no library!" he bawled. "This is a gambling joint! I've got orders to close this here place and confiscate these here books! Come on-all of you! You're under arrest!" Protesting our innocence, we were herded out of the library and into a paddy wagon; and as they closed the door, I could hear Ivy' Rose saying plaintively, "Anybody got a flashlight? I only got two chapters to go!"
Beve,.!';} (jai! Ba';}Eedd
Beve,.!';} (jai! Ba';}Eedd
I drowned; yet both feet on the land, firm and dutiful feet, belie the liquid stifle of my cry, as does the dryness of my hand. I drowned; yet no one mourns my end for they still see my form move past and think of this time as the last in which they've seen their living friend. I drowned; and yet they don't believe, for they have seen me, even touched my hand and flinched because it clutched theirs fiercely ... flesh and form deceive.
It wasn't a thunderous failure.
Such filigreed things never are. It wasn't the maladied splendor
of nova releasing a star. It wasn't the heart's disillusion, accepting what sudden we know, but a civilized, cheerful intrusion that went when we told it to go.
For Another Time This dusty sheeted chair was once the seatMatched with stand and planter-owned by a fine Lady to whom I'd chanted Vergil. But She would reply with eclogues of her ownIn-folded irises and sunlight were Her rime that scolded scholiasts and wished Dead tongues away. "Latin, I fear, Is for another time, " she said and dashed My darkest drealTIS to bluest irises Inviolate by questionings of mind Too proud to die, she wryly called the kiss Of age effete; but then, more nearly bland; "I'll be your eclogue, this planter will house my sad, Though shrouds may grey with scansions of my blood!" Chicago Review, Winter 1957-8. Copywright 1957, University of Chicago. 5
willing slaves of those who wield the Dollar unthinkingly. "How high a Trendex will this program get?" or, "How much will thIs article boost circulation?" are the questions asked by these interests. They seldom consider whether or not the program or article tends to raise or lower the cultural standards of America, or whether or not the ideas presented therein are worth the air time or the paper space. "If a lot of people hear it, or read it, it must be O.K.," they say. That is why John Q. should carefully select the things he hears and reads and should not expect truth and ele.. vation from those who try to buy his attention and confidence with money. Joh'l Q . should start listening to those people who have things-to-sell-that-cannot-be-bought-with-money -his clergymen, his teachers, and intellectuals. Also he should read reliable newspapers, beneficial magazines, and watch a few of his television programs. Through doing this, he should realize that truth is not to be found everywhere, and that it will not come from people and machines that are at the mercy of those motivated in selfish and single-tracked ways. Although John Q. feels stomped upon because he has found out that a segment of the television industry restorted to intentional deceit to gain its Trendex rating, he still unknowingly swallows enough intentional deceit, in liquid form, every day to drown Moby Dick. He continues to allow himself to be benumbed and soft-soaped by those interests which care only for his money, not for him. Some seem to think that public confidence is a pawn to be shoved back and forth across the chess boa r d of sellers-of-things-that-can-be-bought-withmoney, and that truthfulness, honesty, and quality of message-medium, if they are taken into consideration at all, are subordinate to stark figures compiled by Trendex in deciding what medium will be used and how. In short, some designers of parts for the car of public confidence and opinion have repressed the idea that John Q. is an individual to be respected, and have adopted the idea that he is only a consumer. These designers do not respect the integrity of the American public, and they are in an isolation booth insofar as the loftier purposes of humanity are concerned. They make the cardboard fenders and parts of the communications industry appear to be at their mercy.
Public opinion can be compared with a car, because it is composed of many parts put together on an assembly line. The parts are designed and built by those who have the desire and the power to influence people, and they are assembled neatly into their places on the chassis and wheels of public attention and confidence by the communications industry. Some of the parts are made of honest-to-goodness metal, but others are made of cardboard. Cardboard fenders do not belong on cars, and cardboard-like deceptions and farces do not belong among the things in which the public places its confidence. Judging from the Frankenstein of the television quiz show mess, it appears that some segments of the comlTIunications industry are attempting to bolt cardboard fenders on the chassis of public confidence. John Q. Public was fooled by the quiz shows-he swallowed the bait hook, line, and cathode tube and is now mad at the television industry. He should not be blaming television: he should be blaming John Q., since he was, and still is, too gullible. John Q. needs to realize that he must take with a grain of salt any word that proceeds from the mouth of a seller-of-things-that-can-be-bought-with-money. In the case of television, he should take three grains of salt, an aspirin and a phenobarbital. John Q. needs to examine carefully everything he is implored to accept, buy, or believe, as the case may be. He needs to examine them not only to discover their surface appearances, but also to uncover the motivation behind them, and he should definitely not condone cardboard fenders. Too many of those who scheme to produce what America sees and hears are motivated solely by the Almighty Dollar. Although the Dollar is an absolute necessity in America, it should be a servant, not a king. Once the Dollar becomes uppermost in the minds of those who would tell John Q. Public what to believe and do, it blinds them to the advancement of the standards and ideals of America. Whenever the sole reason for the existence of the communications industry is to persuade John Q. Viewer to part with his money, then the industry has entered an isolation booth insofar as the Human Being, American Public, is concerned. Segments of the communications industry; notably segments of the television industry, have become the 6
Yeats' Poetic Complexity And Consistency Carol Collier The poetry of W. B. Yeats has a complexity, which arises not from its form, but from its symbols. In spite of this complexity, Yeats' symbolism is basically consistent. I find reading Yeats' poems rather like seeing an object through the fog. As I penetrate the mist, I find something that is real and the more to be appreciated because it has come as a revelation.
aesthetic, and intellectual equipoise which the speaker hopes to achieve. Because the speaker wishes to be soul, he asks the sages of God's fire to consume his heart. The close relationship in Yeats' images and choice of words is here illustrated. The verb "consume" is consistent with ~he symbol "fire" and heart implies again the physical world. Further association between the actual and the ideal realms is implied in the description of the heart as "sick with desire and fastened to a dying animal," a thing "which knows not what it is." This contrasts with the "artifice of eternity" into which the speaker desires the sages carry him, a changeless state quite different from a country of birth and life and death. In the conclusion of this poem, Yeats achieves a hopeful tone. Confidently the speaker says, "Once out of nature I shall never take/ My bodily form from any natural thing." Believing that he will complete his trip with the sages, he says that he will choose for his being a form of art, a creation like the golden birds that "Grecian goldsmiths" have made for the "drowsy Emperor~' or "Lords and ladies of Byzantium." The song of the bird, the speaker's chosen image, has no end, but sings on "Of what is past, or passing, or to come." So the speaker's thoughts have set sail and left behind the ordinary "birds in trees-Those dying generations. " "Byzantium" describes the speaker's goal and the intensity of spiritual refinement found there. Quickly Yeats dispenses with the world of conventional reality, a world that is ever becoming something else, like night following day. He establishes a mood of concentration with the lines: A starlit or a moonlit dome disdains All that man is All mere complexities, The fury and the mire of human veins." The speaker's attitude toward this world is indicated by his referring to the veins, the physical, as composed of "fury" and "mire." The symbols in the rest of the poem are different. The image which first confronts the speaker is called not a man, not even shade, but "Hades' bobbin bound in mummy cloth." Hades is the Latin term for the abode of the dead. Therefore, "Hades' bobbin," in "unwinding," can impart knowledge of that which lies beyond physical life.
In the two Byzantium poems, the revelation is especially effective. "Sailing to Byzantium" expresses the desire of the speaker,an old man, to forget the physical world, and to exist in the meeting of mind and spirit, which Byzantium-symbol of "art and intellect" - represents. "Byzantium" describes this eternal country of the soul. Neither abstraction would be meaningful if Yeats had not given it reality through the creation of these poems. The speaker enters into Byzantium, he says, through "studying monuments of its own (the soul's) magnificence." I enter this symbolic city through the experience of the poems. Why do these poems create for me so deep an ilnpression of reality? First considering "Sailing to Byzantium," I find a complex chain of images all relating to the central meaning. "That is no country for old men," the speaker says and his tone is desolate as he describes the sensual life-"The young in one another's arms . . . The salmon falls, the mac~erel足 crowded seas"-in which he has no place. The transience of this life is expressed in the line "Whatever is begotten, born, and dies." In despair the speaker reflects that "an aged man is but a paltry thing." Then his mood changes and he realizes that if soul claim him from body, he can endure beyond the flux of becoming. He can learn the soul's refinement through study of the "sages." Yeats' logic in choosing Byzantium as a symbol is thus explained. The ancient city, which lasted for one thousand years as capital of the Eastern Roman Empire, represents endurance and culture. Its mosaics suggest the eternity of art. Fire, traditionally associated with purification, becomes the symbol for. the force that fuses everlasting qualities into man's soul. This is what the traveler desires: that the sages, who are eternal as the Byzantine mosaics and stand in "God's holy fire," be teachers to his soul. He asks that they "perne in a gyre"-turn in a balanced circle. Thus Yeats effectively depicts the state of religious, 7
After seeing this vision, the speaker looks upon the golden bird which is yet "more miracle than bird or handiwork." It symbolizes the eternity of art, which the speaker in "Sailing to Byzantium" has mentioned. Here it is associated concretely with the unperishing "Cocks of Hades" which crow in one age as another dies. The words, "by the moon embittered," connect this golden bird with the classical phase of civilization, further suggesting unfading art. The final height of the soul's achievement in Byzantium comes through the purifying flames. As the fire in "Sailing to Byzantium" represents cultural peace, so the flames are the elements of this fire-the fine works of art which the speaker sees in this mythical city. These works, which are not produced, "Flames that no faggot feeds," come from the mind's inspiration and so hold fast him who regards them, blending the elements of his spirit into the oneness of "a dance," a being so intense that it seems "an agony of trance." The final section of "Byzantium" is almost exultant
in tone, as the speaker watches the "golden smithies of the Emperor," artists of a great artist like the Grecian goldsmiths in "Sailing to Byzantium," building the changeless out of changing images. The "marbles on the dancing floor" symbolize the eternal perfection which replaces creatures of the "dolphin-torn . . . gong-tormented sea." The dolphins appear synonymous with the primary, or physical ; the gong with the passage of time. These belong to the life of becoming, which Byzantium conquers, molding from it the eternal realm of being. These poems, especially when considered together, illustrate Yeats' inter-related symbolism. The complex symbolic patterns in these poems have been protrayed consistently-the earthy always contrasting with the intellectual and aesthetic. In the unusual representation of culture as fire and gold, and the soul as Byzantium, Yeats achieves his effect and makes his theme convincing, so that I envision the possible accomplishments of maturity, growth, and the coalescing of mind and spirit as richness and beauty.
A New Look
"But soft! what light through yonder window breaks? It is the east, and Juliet is the sun." The passer-by slackened his pace, slowly approached the partly open door of Room 101 in the Education Building, and looked cautiously inside. There on a small stage at the front of the room, he saw a woman of stately appearance earnestly speaking to a rapt audience. Such was the scene on the evening of November 12, when Mrs. Pat Nicholson, Scottish drama recitalist, was presented by the English Speaking Union of Knoxville. She discussed "Shakespeare's Women," as portrayed in several of his plays. Throughout her talk, Mrs. Nicholson supported her statements and displayed remarkable versatility by acting the principal female parts from several of Shakespeare's works. Outstanding among these selections was the famous balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet. An interesting point brought out by Mrs. Nicholson at the outset of her talk and around which she seemed to base her presentation was the fact that the -路parts Shakespeare gave to his women were lesser parts in all but one instance. This, she pointed out, was necessary because at that time the parts of women were portrayed by young boys. Their experience was naturally limited and it was risky business for a playwright to depend on such novices to carry too large a part. Only in one instance does Shakespeare give a major role to
a woman, the part of Cleopatra in Anthony and Cleopatra. In this instance, according to Mrs. Nicholson, the great author seemed to have found a boy upon whom he could depend to deliver a worthy performance. By relating rather sketchy facts from his life to his writings, Mrs. Nicholson tried to show Shakespeare's attitude toward women in his own life. Her evidence, though, contradicted itself as she gave portrayals of Constance from John II and of Gertrude from Hamlet, giving an ideal picture of a devoted mother in the former and -a disillusioned picture of an unfaithful mother in the latter. Quoting from "Sonnet 130" and Anthony and Cleopatra, she connected these descriptions of a mysterious "dark lady" with a woman Shakespeare might have known during his years in London. The known facts about Shakespeare's life, however, are not sufficient to warrant such conjectures and the presentation would have been better had Mrs. Nicholson avoided interpreting the author's works in terms of his life. Far overshadowing this fault, though, was the effect of Mrs. Nicholson's lecture. Her entire talk was well planned and smoothly given; her crisp Scottish accent was refreshing, and her projection was above reproach. All in all, one left the performance feeling that he was privileged to have heard Mrs. Nicholson speak and to have been introduced to this new look at Shakttspeare. 8
The Unvaliant Cross year ago in a MATS waItIng room at Y okoto Air Base near Tokyo. It was late October then and cold, the first fall after the war-the "police action" as the big brass in Washington liked to call it-had begun. When it started I was working in New York, editing news sent in by our A.N.S. staff in the Far East. I had fought in the last war, in the South Pacific, and I didn't particularly want to get into this one, even as a newsman. But Mr. Bennett, Chief Editor of our Far East Bureau, thought differently. I had experience in this part of the world, knew a little about the people, knew more about war. So in September I took two weeks' vacation at a beach in the Florida Keys, swimming in the surf and reading up on Korea. A week later I was in Japan, in the MATS waiting room sitting beside the grey-haired chaplain. He had a good clear profile, like a statue, but not saintly-very firm with a hard-cut nose and chin. I watched him leafing through an obsolete issue of Life magazine.
A. N. S. Headquarters Puang-Lo, Korea 5 Dec. 1951 Att'n: Bill Bennett Ed. in Chief, Far East Bureau Affiliated News Service Dear Bill, This is the story I never intended to write. You probably won't want to print it, but I must tell itit's the sort of thing you can't just forget about.
Sitting in this eight-by-nine clapboard hut with its draughty tarpaper roof and squat, grease-coated oil heater, I can see through the blurry plastic window the whiteness of December snow, almost pure. I was sitting here smoking and staring at black typed letters on yellow copy paper last Friday when Father O'Hara came in. He stopped just inside the door, kicking one boot against the other, knocking off the snow, and stood there quite a while, just looking at me. "Michael," he finally said, "you've been in the Faith almost as long as I have." "Not in the same way, Father." "You know what happened on Porkchop Ridge." I stared at the typewriter. "A priest has a responsibility, more than other men." I looked at his lined, wind-burned face, at his deepset brown eyes. "We're all human," I said. "Only human, Michael?" I couldn't answer. "You know that's not what we're supposed to believe. We also have souls." He walked to the window and stood with his back to me. When he turned I saw tears in his eyes. "Oh, God, I wish we didn't," he said bitterly. I went sick inside. "Father ... " I had to grope with the thing. "You can't blame yourself." "No? Who then?" I felt him looking at me, but I couldn't meet his look. "I don't know," I said. He fingered the cross on his khaki lapel. I began typing. Father O'Hara and I came together a little over a
"Have you been waiting long, Father?" He let the magazine fall shut. "Since four," he smiled. "Sixteen hundred, they say, don't they?" "Yes," I said, wondering if "Father" was right. In uniforms you couldn't tell. "It's a different world-so organized." Then he laughed, his brown eyes kindling slightly. "In some respects it's not unlike my own world. You're a reporter?" He had noticed the "Press" badge on my uniform. "Yes-Michael Farrell, Affiliated News Service." "Father Francis O'Hara." We shook hands, then I excused myself, said I'd be back, and went to check flight departure time with the operations officer. "It's good to have a fellow Irishman along," Father O'Hara said later shouting over the revving engines of the C-54 as we sat at the end of the runway before take-off. "Thanks," I yelled back. We talked intermittently on the flight over to Seoul. He commented on the hard, uncomfortable bucket seats, which reminded him of the last war. He said he'd been with Patton's Corps then. "You're a little older than most of the chaplain's I've known," I said, looking for a story, or perhaps just curious. 9
"The Army thought so too, but I had a friend at the Pentagon. " "Why did you want to get into this war?" " 'Get into' isn't quite correct. Chaplains aren't really in a war, you know." I thought I should have remembered. "But to answer your question, Michael," he continued, "I feel I'm needed and I think I have something to give. Perhaps that sounds conceited. What I mean is that although men seem different in a war, they aren't. They're still human beings with souls~ they still need Faith." He stopped and looked out the window. I looked too. Stars shone so close through the blackness it seemed you should be able to touch them. I asked Father O'Hara where he had lived in the States. He said that for the past six years he had been pastor of St. Paul's in Richmond, Virginia, but that his home was really Iowa. "I grew up on a farm south of Council Bluffs. It's been a long time." He seemed to be looking at the rivets in the grey steel floor of the plane. "My brother and I used to go swimming the first of the summer in a little creek that went almost as dryas the proverbial bone by the middle of June. I haven't gotten back very often since I went away to Seminary in Minneapolis in 1920." He suddenly seemed to remember me. "I'm getting sentimental. You've never been in Iowa, have you?" I had. I told him that I had taken two years of journalism at Iowa City in 1936 and '37, and that nly home was Independence, Missouri. So we talked more about the Midwest. Although we'd both been away a long time, it was still home, in away. Flying is like being on a ship-you can get to know a lot about a person before a flight is over. I liked O'Hara in spite of-or perhaps because of-his eagerness for the war and his sudden sentimentality. I saw Father O'Hara a few weeks later at the Army Headquarters building in Seoul. He was with two other chaplains, waiting in the anteroom of Colonel Ross's office. I had just been in talking to Ross, who is, or was then-I think he has been transferred-Director of Troop Morale, Korean Theater. As far as I was concerned he didn't even know which war we were fighting, and his pompous statements about "fighting to secure the peace for the free world," and "proving the value of the United Nations" were too much to stomach. Well, that's war. Anyway I was fed up. It must have showed because when Father O'Hara looked up from an issue of The Stars and Stripes, he asked if anything was troubling me. I laughed. The other chaplains looked at me, curious, but I couldn't help it. There was something so damned innocent and refreshing about O'Hara's ex-
pression. It was hard to remember that he had been through all this before-mud, men fighting their guts out, and desk soldiers like Ross mouthing inanities about making a better world. O'Hara and I agreed to meet in the anteroom an hour later, then I went downstairs. Grey-white flourescent light illunlinated the almost deserted Press Room with its long rows of typewriters and phones lining the walls. I sat down at one of the typewriters, wrote a cynical piece about Army morale directors, deleted some of the cynicism, and called the story into our A.N.S. Seoul headquarters. When I went back to Ross's office the Father was sitting in the same green metal chair he was in when I left, looking at a pamphlet called "What the Army Offers You." I thought he was probably still waiting for Ross to see him. The other chaplains were gone. "Oh, there you are, Michael!" he rose a little stiffly. "You didn't have to wait long," I said as we walked down the dim corridor outside the office. "No, not at all. Have you been to the front yet?" "Briefly. " "I'm assigned to Lt. Col. Krayton's Division-infantry. I'm scheduled to go up with Captain Lacozski tomorrow. " We went to a small restaurant near the Seoul government buildings, where we ate a Korean imitation of suki-yaki, which might have been bad anywhere else. With Father O'Hara there talking about the simplicity and goodness of the Korean people, I didn't notice how the food tasted. I hadn't particularly noticed the Korean's simplicity and goodness either. "You know, they are worth fighting for," Fatl}er O'Hara said. He was trying to manipulate a pair of chop sticks. "Do you really think so?" "Don't you1." I said I supposed so. I actually hadn't considered it that way. He laid down the chop sticks, placing one over the other. "I don't like war, Michael, but sometimes it's the only means God gives us of being Christians." I thought he meant it. "Have you ever really looked at a Korean child?" "I don't know what you mean." "I have. I was walking down the street near our quarters the other day and I saw a little girl-probably about four or five years old. She was standing looking at one of the garbage pails outside the kitchen. We couldn't very well talk to each other, so I took her in and had the cook fix her a bowl of soup and crackers. We didn't need to talk, Michael, because it was plain, there in her face-love . . ." Father 10
impact of war-just remained there, a place on the map through which soldiers and refugees moved, going on up or down the rocky peninsula. During this time I was covering the Sixth Marines and an Army helicopter rescue unit. J didn't run into Krayton's Division until early this November, about forty miles north of Seoul. Everything was moving up fast into North Korea. You could see it in their faces-the soldiers'-this was like it should .be. They might get out of here by Christmas. About a week later it wa~ different. Everything was moving south again-cold, muddy columns, leaving jeeps and trucks frozen like helpless beasts in the grey muck. On November 26, I was with the detachment Krayton left up front as a blind while he pulled the main strength of his division south along the Puang-Chuang road. There were thirty of us crouching in the cold mud, smoking, now and then talking without much coherence. Everyone was thinking of himself. Except the Father and Lacozski-they were talking together about something. I heard Lacozski mention Minneapolis: "Home," I thought. The Captain and O'Hara had become pretty close, since they met about a year ago. The Father was proud of Lacozski, said he could lead men anywhere. He had told me about the time Lacozski and two privates, just over green from Stateside training camps, waited it out three hours under fire, holding a forward gun position. He said he'd seen Lacozski stay with a wounded man-joking about baseball or the girl back home, praying sometimes, sometimes just kneeling there quietly. And I said, I had rather liked Captain Lacozski that first time I met him back near Pusan, and if the Father thought he was a good man that was good enough for me. We waited. Nothing happened for maybe four or five hours, then we heard them. I'd heard it before, that banshee wailing, but never coming out of stillness like this. "Well, I suppose this is it," a young corporal beside me said. "Do you think they know we're here," sonleone else asked. Nobody answered. They knew all right. Father O'Hara and Lacozski were talking to two or three of the men-low, quiet. Then Lacozski gave the orders to scatter-try to make it look like a big detachment, a whole division if possible. I smiled to myself. I'd been through this before the waitIng, almost feeling the first shots come. Only the screaming was new, coming down close now. They had us spotted nicely. I watched Lacozski with four or five others
O'Hara was looking past me, toward the doorway. I turned and saw an old Korean man standing there, slumped, staring inside. After a moment he walked on into the street. "Love?" I asked. Father O'Hara looked at me, as though coming back from a long way off. "Yes. You see, love means many things. I avoided thinking about it in France because that was easier, but charity, Michael, charity remember." "I suppose I forget sometimes/' I said, looking at my chopsticks and feeling like a guilty boy at catechism who had forgotten the word Charity. There are things I wish I could forget-the rest of this story, Father O'Hara standing by the window in this hut, staring away from me at the snow. But I can't. As I said, maybe that's why I'm writing this, trying to get rid of the bad taste it leaves in my mouth -like the sacramental bread gone sour. I don't know. Last winter our troops were almost shoved off the Korean Peninsula into the Sea of Japan. I was shuttling between Krayton's Division and the Sixth Marines, and I remember one evening after mess, sitting in Captain Lacozski's tent with him and Father O'Hara. Lacozski was one of Krayton's company commanders. "I think we're finished," Lacozski said, his swarthy Polish face flat and expressionless. "It seems possible," I said. I rather liked the Captain. Everybody was thinking that we were about through and trying like Hell not to say so. He had the honesty to come out with it. He was stubborn, too. I learned that later. Father O'Hara looked untroubled. I could hear the snow as it melted, running over the gravel under the corner of the tent where the heater stood. The Captain took a deck of cards out of his inside jacket pocket and began shuffling them slowly, the tap of card on card grating in the quietness with the snow melting outside. "You wouldn't object to our playing some poker, would you, Father?" Lacozski finally asked. O'Hara smiled like an angel with his halo askew. "Stud or draw?" he asked. Lacozski laughed, relaxing. We played until midnight. Lacozski cleaned up on us and we kidded him about outdoing the "Luck '0 the Irish." Maybe in a way he did. By the middle of the next month MacArthur had got our forces out of Pusan, back on the road to Seoul. Back to the shell of a city that didn't really take the 11
checking the machine-gun emplacement, dim shapes against blackness. Father O'Hara came back from somewhere to my left and knelt in the mud beside me, saying the rosary. I tried to see his face, to see if he was afraid, but I couldn't. Every battle, every attack is always new and I never get over feeling scared. I always start thinking maybe it would be more human to run than to sit like a clay decoy, waiting to die. "Have you your rosary?" "What?" Father O'Hara was talking to me. "Here," he said, putting the cold beads into my hands, Looking at his face, bright in the fire of exploding shells, I didn't think that he had ever experienced fear. I began slipping the rosary through my fingers, saying the familiar words, felt more than thought, that I scarcely remembered learning. The sharp report of rifle fire about thirty yards ahead of us distracted me. I gave the beads back to Father O'Hara. Then I saw them-their shap~~足 running, crouching, but always yelling, that fiendish yelling. Lacozski was standing up beside the gun, shouting. I saw a form run past me-I couldn't tell whether it was one of us or one of them. A man screamed "My God!" and I felt Father O'Hara moving away from me. I followed him, feeling my boots suck in and out of the mud. He was going toward the gun emplacement. He must have known. Lacozski lay beside the gun carriage, one hand reaching for the firing mechanism. The others were
The Cave -
gone. The Captain must have seen Father O'Hara standing there because he called to him. "It's up, Father, it's up ... " he kept saying. He stopped hunting the firing mechanism, reaching out as though wanting to find O'Hara's hand instead. His lips moved. When he coughed I saw a bloody froth in his mouth. O'Hara stood there looking down at him, staring as though he had never seen death before. He didn't say anything, just stood looking, holding the rosary in his hands. Somewhere below us a single heavy shot punctured the sound of the Chinese yelling, fainter now with distance. Then O'Hara turned, "My son. Michael . . ." he said. The unused rosary still in his hand, he knelt. When I took the beads from him, I saw that he was crying, but I couldn't say a damned thing. I went to Lacozski, knelt, and started muttering the "Ave." I don't know if he realized that it wasn't O'Hara. Yes, I knew what happened on that ridge, which some code man with a sense of humor had named Porkchop. I don't know where Father O'Hara is now. When he walked out of here a week ago into the snow and vanished, something had gone out of him. Itdeath or love-something had come too close.
As a story this is probably headed for the morgue, unused. Colonel Ross's "folks back home" might be disturbed by it and even the A.N.S. can't afford that. Yours till the next deadline. Mike T. Farrell A.N.S., Korea
A Review ment toward his best friend, a father who secretly wants his son to perish within the cave, an old man dying of cancer who discovers the meaning of life, and others like them come forth from the dark depths. The lost find themselves and their identities. The story is mystical, realistic, coarse, tender, despairing, and inspiring-a curious mixture of extremes which seems to shout "Life" and then again, to whisper, "Life!" It is fascinating, thought-provoking, and moving because it possessses the same blend of reality and symbolism of life itself. The idea which emerges from Mr. Warren's novel is a unique reversal of what Plato stated over twothousand years ago in "The Myth of the Cave." Those in Plato's cave "see only their own shadows, or the shadows of one another which the fire throws on the opposite wall of the cave" because they cannot turn their heads. Ransom's cave forces men to face the reality of their own existences.
The cave in Robert Penn Warren's novel of that name meant many things. To the crowd and the battery of television cameramen and announcers, it only meant that somewhere down there in that dark a man was dying and "Thank God I ain't him!" To some of the townpeople it meant a place to hide guilt, to others a means of fame and wealth. In every mind it was symbolic of something remotely desired and vaguely feared. But to that "cave-crawling hillbilly," when he was down there in the protective dark with the cool red dust sifting soundlessly over his clothes and skin, it meant a place-the only place-where he could know who he was. The author, Robert Penn Warren, builds a tale involving the citizens of a small East Tennessee town in a chain of events which force many to make admissions. These admissions, lying unspoken and unrealized for years, erupt to the surface to shock both witness and speaker. A preacher who admits his resent72
U. T. Archl.