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The N.C. Essay
Once upon a time, in our very
own time, there was a young man
who stood upon the threshold of
his life as an adult. His parents
had loved and praised him, so
that his heart lay open to love; his
teachers had instnicted him in
the needs of society and the joys
of achievement, so that he ex
pected much o£ himself; and his
beloved had chosen him above all
others, tiU death did them part,
so that his daily life was full of
hairiness and pride. Strong in his
youth, trusting his stren^, he
chose to enter a demanding and
useful profession, one of the great
tasks of the world, a task which
would call forth his utmost
alxlities and ambitions.
His guidance counselor said it
was an interesting choice, of
course, but since his type of
person was especially good with
children, and primary teachers
were so in demand, and nurses
also, and by the way how fast
could he ty^? And his beloved
said to him, don’t make any plans
for next year, I have to see about
my job first, then if it looks like
we need the money you can
always line up a typing job in
L.A. And his parents said to him.
Sharing of goals and working
together are the important things
in life, the sacrifices you make
now will deepen the love you
share. And his old teachers said
to him. How is your beloved’s
worit coming? You must be very
proud of such a promising
beloved. And you want to work
also, how fast can you type? And
his mother said to him, in
private, I know you had high
hopes for yourself, but don’t
worry, soon there will be
children, you have to think of
important things first, children
change your entire life, you learn
to live for their sakes, not just
And the young man was
doubtful whettier this advice was
in his best interests, but their love
and e:q>erience caused him to
doubt himself, and besides the
employers he talked to were sure
that his type of person tended to
quit and wasn’t worth training,
but he did have a delightful smile
and how fast could he type? And
his pastor, who had studied
psychology and sociology, with a
minor in ethical systems, ex
plained that there was nothing
really wrong in the young man’s
dilemma, just the natural in
security of transitional roles, but
his type of person had a special
aptitude for loving ottiers and for
simply being, finding fulfillment
in that fashion, by a natural, and,
as it were, sacr^ instinct.
So, in the end, being good
hearted and wishing to think that.
their advice was good, the young
man accepted a job in typing and
tried to develop himseU in his
spare time after his work and the
cooking (for which his type of
person had a special aptitude)
and washing the dishes (with
which his l^loved occasionally
helped, as a favor, after a long
demanding day on ^e job). When
his beloved’s promotion and
transfer came through, they
went shopping together for a new
garment for him, and celebrated
all evening, with friends, and
everyone said how charming he
was in his new garment, and how
proud he must be of his beloved,
and how lucky he was to have
such an important and loving
beloved, and afterwards, in
private, his beloved was indeed
In L.A. he found another job
quite easily, for he was used to
being delightful and he could type
well enough. After dinner and
dishes he developed his interest
in cooking (he had a way with
spaghetti), and wondered if
children would make a dif
ference, or would a night course
in drama make a difference, or a
subscription to Life, or would a
sex manual deepen the
relationship he already shared
with his beloved, or would a more
youthful cut to his garments give
him a new image and a new
outlook on life this spring.
When the children came it was
a daughter at first, but he didn’t
mind, really, because she was
such a good baby, not demanding
like some, a real charmer, girls
are that way. He developed his
feeling for children, just as
everyone said he would, so much
so that they had to remind him to
appreciate how hard his beloved
was working, evenings and
weekends at times, to t^e care
of them all. Then, feeling that he
needed to broaden the interests
he alreay had, and to share his
days with adults, he found a part-
time job with an interesting in
stitution, typing of course, and
everyone said How is your
beloved’s work coming along?
and How is your child coming
along? and How do you find time
for it all? And he got used to
answering these questions in a
fashion that was charming. And
the next of the children was a son,
and he and his beloved were
relieved, not to have to try again.
Everyone praised his son, such a
tou^ little kid you could hardly
keep up with him, into everyUiing
right from the begii^g, boys
are that way, a real fighter, he’ll
go far in this world. For a while
he made plans for his son, and
dreamed of a place in the world,
but everyone kept asking What
does your beloved do? and What
do your children do? and How do
you find time for it all? and he
wondered why children, even a
boy of his own, had not made such
a difference, and whether after
the children were grown he
should develop himself, and how.
A SIMPLE EASTER TRIP
Walking on the cold blocks of lakefront stone
behind Grant Park I know this busy place
is my city always but now not home
when I come. No loss of love or fall from grace
with loved ones brings my faroff feeling on,
no lack of welcome, nor any sense of waste
puts distance here. Today I am far from.
I am here for a week wanting to go south
to trees and hills, back to quietly drawn
remains of waves. A beach taste in my mouth
tring to mind a beach I napped on all at ease,
my body like slow water &e beach both
held and let go. There will be flowers on trees
down there next week. Spring will be double spring
sweet whole months rather Uian a few pale days
carefully spent. New names for new budding things
new home people things wait. Goodbye you hard place
I fly now down the warm draft on my new wings.
Printed with permission of The Brown Bag,
Copyright 1970 by Noel Callow
By Noel Callow, now Mrs. Noel
Kirby -Smith, writing instructor
BIG CHEESE AND SMALL BEER
Some incidents from the LIFE of Miss Harriet Monroe
will provide a good example of how editrices grow :
Young Harriet began small, by her own brave admission;
was a “silly little crybaby” at the Centenniel Exhibition
to which her father took her without her mother’s permission.
After Harriet survived The Great Chicago Fire
Robert Louis Stevenson inflamed her young desire.
Meanwhile, she ate her hearty brea^asts
enjoyed her delightful lunches
thoroughly enjoyed her delightful, hearty dinner.
But, yearning through it all for a life that would be higher,
Harriet aspired to retire desire,
or, as she herself wrote without a trace of resentment,
“unused faculties become gradually less insistent
deprived of life’s supreme fulfillment.”
The f^ grown Miss Monroe was straight and strong,
senstitive, soft, dark, and somehow also round.
She published Yeats, Stephens, Eliot, - Joyce Kilmer’s Trees.
(and after that had to listen to Ezra Pound)
I won’t mention any others; the list is long, all the rest
were just about best. Thus progressed the blessed virgin editrix.
He likes to use the nicknames of his betters
in late night conversations with his peers
who observe that his wisdom about letters
expands with the consumption of numbers of beers.
He feels so uncomfortable praising those peers!
A small college has purchased his letters:
Someday we find out, in an absence of beers.
Exactly what he thought of his betters.
Printed with permission of THE BROWN BAG,
Copyright 1970 by Noel Callow
N. C. ESSAY STAFF
Sebastian de Grazia
I HAVE BUSINESS AT THE CONRAD HILTON
I have business at the Conrad Hilton
two days after the what-do-you-call-it,
the day after the convention ended,
the morning after everyone moves themselves out.
t he hotel guests are ready to go home.
Usually the lobby aisle smells fresh:
fresh air, fresh whisky, fresh flowers, roast beef.
Now vomit and gas hang heavy and ^arp,
the red flowered rug shows spots of fresh blood.
It is noon but almost no one talks yet;
a few people make quiet arrangements.
I notice these liberal delegates
wear sunglasses and nod with deep concern.
The rejected candidate continues to flirt
with leftover gangs across the street.
The evening papers will call it a speech.
Shall I go home and write a sad poem
or meet my friends at the Palmer House bar?
Copyright 1972 by Noel Callow
Here’s to the frenzied archer, for the breasts
that fed his young desire the muses kissed
when his sad mother did them newborn nurse
before she bore her changeling nebulous
diurnal sign of God’s amused distress.
Here’s to the centaur self; vaned southerly
his arrow keenly warped swerves oriental.
Nor rider nor ridden this two bodied one
shuts his own bam door against the thief.
His empty quiver a teleidoscope
this visionary has no single hope.
Copyright 1972, Noel Callow
I AM SHOWN THE SIMPLEST CONSTELLATION
Cassiopeia’s ordinary chair
was not an easy one for me to find.
That queen would queenly fidget to recline
had she been waiting to seat herself there.
It appe^s to night as a collapsing line,
some flimsy splintering stage furniture
useful forever once more to allure
us to this splendid nightly pantomime.
Sitting down here I am comfortable, sure
that every good thing will last a long time.
My occasionally literal mind ,
is satisfied to see what was obscure
telescoped. This evening is the best time.
I rest on a rug on this old not-star,
praise Cassiopeia’s top-heavy chair,
your fine eyepiece, each invisible line.
Copyright 1972 by Noel Callow