Lyrical Partch
A compilation of lyrics from his works

  U. S. Highball
  Seventeen Lyrics by Li Po
  Eleven Intrusions
During the 40+ years of composing, and especially during the first 20 or so, Harry Partch maintained a strong bond with, and love for, the spoken word. In fact, it was the proper setting of text with music (or maybe more correctly, with tones) that begat Partch's inquiries into just intonation, and his moving away from traditional European-style settings. These following are words that became part of his corporeal presentation, syllables with pitches.

Additionally, the works that formed the larger grouping of compositions that are referred to as "The Wayward" (Barstow, U. S. Highball, San Francisco Newsboys, The Letter, and Ulysses at the Edge of the World) contain remarkably evocative language; a portrait of speech patterns and mannerisms that, filtered though daily experience, were not only modes of communication but models of expression. Though never one to purposely separate a holistic approach into individual components, it is hard to not see the intrinsic interest and beauty in these dialogues.  [JMS]

Harry Partch
Contents : Reading : Lyrical HOME


This rendering of the text from an early version of U. S. Highball comes from a brochure that accompanied the recording Partch did in Madison, Wisconsin, and released by Warren E. Gilson. In this light, it is a perfect compliment to Innova Recordings "Enclosure 2" (Innova 401), which contains this recording preserved on CD. Partch included the following notes at the beginning of the brochure:

"U. S. HIGHBALL is an account of "Slim's" trans-continental hobo trip, in a speech-music style. Compositionally and geographically it is in three sections: an introductory "highball" from Carmel, California, to Green River, Wyoming; a middle movement of hobo reminiscences at Little America, Wyoming; and a final "highball" over the road from Little America to Chicago."

     Leaving Carmel, Californi-el---

     I got a letter and the letter said: "May God's richest blessings be upon you . . " and that's why I'm going to Chicago.

    Leaving San Francisco, Californi-o---
    Leaving Sacramento, Ca1iforni-o---

     Going east, mister? . . . It's the freights for you, boy.

     Leaving Colfax, Californi-ax!

     "Let 'er highball, engineer!"

     Leaving Emigrant Gap, Californi-ap!

     "If you want to stay in one piece sleep on the back end of the oil tank, buddy. She's tough goin' down the other side of the Sierras."

    Leaving Truckee, Californigh-ee-ee---
    Leaving Reno, Neva-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-do-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-Oh---

     "Hey, Slim, you'll get killed on that oil tank. There's a empty back here!"

     Leaving Sparks, Neva-darks!

     "I ain't got no matches, ain't got no tobacco, ain't got no chow, ain't got no money. Hey, Slim, is that blanket big enough for two?"
"If you wanta eat today, boys, better get it here. The next division is just a little hole in the desert - not even a store."

     Leaving Ocala, Nevada---

     "Hey, Slim, don't sleep with your head against the end of the car. You'll get your neck broke when she jerks. How're the bulls down where you come from, Slim?"

     Leaving Lovelock, Neva-dock!

     "She's gonna hole in to let a coupla passengers by!"
"There she jerks again! That engineer don't know how to drive this train."

     Leaving Imlay, Neva-day--

     "Freeze another night tonight, goin' over the hump. That's another bad hump this side o' Cheyenne. Tsa bitch! That Cheyenne, huh. That used to be a bad town, but not any more, so much. They used to have a school there for railroad bulls. They taught the rookie bulls the easiest way to beat up on poor helpless bums. But the school's moved to Denver now. It moves hack and forth, from Cheyenne to Denver. Stay out o' Denver, Slim!"

     Leaving Winnemucca, Neva-ucca---

     "We'll highball it down to Omaha - then head for the carnival in Alabama. How 'bout it, Slim?"

     Valmy, Neva-dy---

     "No water here in these corrals. They only turn it on once a year, roundup time. No water for us today."

     Leaving Carlin, Neva-din---

     "They've gone and sealed up our empty! And all the rest are sealed refrigerators. Sh--! Not even a gon-do-la!"

     Moleen, Neva-deen---

     "Wait for the next drag - there'll he lotsa empties on it. Too cold to ride outside this weather.... Look at them northern lights! See them long streaks up in the sky? You can't ride outside in weather like this. We'll build a fire so when the next drag stops all the 'bos 'll come runnin' over to get warm. Then we'll know where there's a empty."

     Leaving Elko, Neva-do---

     "There she jerks again! I can stand everything but them jerks. They make me nervous. And the dirt, too. Yesterday I washed all my clothes in the Roseville Jungle, and I looked so good when I put 'em on that I took a walk, up into town. Now look at me! Look at all the guys on this drag --- not only dirty but they're old before their time. Ridin' freights'll make an old man out of ya, Slim. Still, I can stand that, and the dirt. Can stand everything but the jerks."

     Crossing Great Salt Lake, U-take!

     Going east, mister? .. . Back to the freights for you, boy.

     Leaving Ogden, U-ten---

     "Any thirty-nine hundred engine is going east, Slim. That oil tank's a tough one to ride, though; but I guess there's nothin' else. Well, it's your funeral."

     Leaving Evansting, Wyom-ming!

     "Watch out for those jerks the next fifteen miles, Slim. You've got to hang on every second or you'll go under when she jerks. He really balls the jack goin' down the grade."

     Green River, Wyo-mer---

     "Can stand everything but the jerks."

     Rock Springs, Wyo-o-Oh-o-mings---

     Going east, mister? . . . "There are lots of rides but they don't stop much, do they, pal?"
Back to the freights for you, boy. And since the drags don't stop at Rock Springs-back to Green River, Wyo-mer!

     There are rides on the highway at Green River, but they go right on by. There are rides on the freights at Green River too, but the Green River bull says:

     "You exclamation mark bum! Get your semicolon asterisk out o' these yards, and don't let me catch you down here again, or you'll get thirty days in the jailhouse!"

     Green River, Wyo-mer!

     S-s-s-s-s-stuck! in Green River.

* * * *

     "Want a job potwallopin'? Okay, get in!"

     Little America, Wyo-ma!

     "Short stack, fry 'em on the side, over easy. Coupla babies and a chicken in spuds. Say, boy, hurry up with them bread and butter plates."
"Did I ever ride freights? Huh. That reminds me. One time I was in the yards in Pueblo, sitting with some other 'bos around a fire, waiting for the hotshot on the D. and R. G. Pretty soon an old man with a long white beard come out of a piano box on the edge of the yards, and come over to warm his hands by our fire. He didn't say anything until some of the boys left to catch a drag that was just beginning to move out. Then the old man, who just come out of the piano box, says: 'It's pretty tough to be ridin' the drags on a night like this. I know. I was a bum once myself'."

* * * *

     Leaving Little America, Wyo-ma!

     I have a letter and the letter says: "May God's richest blessings be upon you . . . " and that's why I'm going to Chicago. Going east, mister? . . . Whoopiday! I got one! Chicago, Chicago . . .

     Leaving Laramie, Wyo-mie--- Yih! hoo---

     Chicago, Chicago, Chicago . . .

     Leaving Cheyenne, Wyo-manne!

     Chi-cago, cago. Chi-cago, cago . . .

     Leaving Pine Bluffs, Wyo-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-muffs!

     Chicago, Chicago, Chica-go . . .

     Leaving Kimball, Nebras-ass-kall---

     North Platte, Nebras-katte!

     "The Salvation Army. Notice to transients: This city allows you two meals and bed for one night only. Do not leave this place after six p.m. By order of the chief of po-lice."

     Praise the Lord, O praise the Lord . . . O praise the Lord---
(For coffee and sinkers.)

     Leaving North Platte, Nebras-ass-katte!

     "Such damn people! I can't get a ride. To hell with Nebraska! Also to hell with Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, California, Nevada, and Utah!"
Chicago, go Chicago, cago go Chicago . . .

     Leaving York, Nebras-kork!

     Chicago, aga, aga ogo aga, Chicogo, ogo, ogo aga ogo . . .

     Leaving Lincoln, Nebras-kon! . . .

     Leaving Council Bluffs, I-o-wuffs!

     "Jack Parkin, 111 West William St., Champaign, Illinois. Telephone 8426 if hungry when there."

     Chi-chi-chi-chi-chi-chi . . . gah-go! Yih! hoo---

     Leaving Davenport, I-o-wort! . . . Dee dee dee dee blessings be upon you . . .



BARSTOW: Eight Hitchhiker Inscriptions from a Highway Railing at Barstow, California

Number One

[spoken] It's January twenty-six. I'm freezing. Ed Fitzgerald, Age nineteen. five feet ten inches, black hair, brown eyes. Going home to Boston Massachusetts, It's four p.m., and I'm hungry and broke. I wish I was dead. But today I am a man.

[sung] Going home to Boston, yuh-huh, Massachusetts. It's four p.m., and I'm hungry and broke. I wish I was dead. But today I am a man -- Oh-- O, I'm going home-- to Boston, yuh-huh, Massachusetts.

Number Two

[spoken] Gentlemen: Go to five-thirty East Lemon Avenue, Monrovia, California, for an easy handout.

[sung] Go to five-thirty East Lemon Avenue, in Monrovia for an easy handout, gentlemen. Yo-ho-ho -- Yoo-hoo-hooo -- Ya-ha-ha-- Yee-hee-hee-- Go to five-thirty East Lemon Avenue, in Monrovia for an easy handout, gentlemen. Yo-ho-ho -- Yoo-hoo-hooo -- Ya-ha-ha -- Yee-hee-hee

Number Three

[spoken] Marie Blackwell. Age nineteen. Brown eyes, brown hair, considered pretty. One-eighteen East Ventura Street, Las Vegas, Nevada. Object: matrimony.

[sung] Age nineteen, Brown eyes, brown hair, Oh, but I'm considered pretty. Here's where I live-Dah dah dah dah -- One-eighteen East Ventura Street, Las Vegas, Nevada. Taa -- Ta-ta-ta ta-ta-ta-ta-ta -- ta-ta-ta -- ta-ta-taa- My object is - Yoo-hoo-hoo - Matrimony!

Number Four

[intoned] Dear Marie, a very good idea you have there. I too am on the lookout for a suitable mate. My description -- No description follows, so he evidently got his ride.

Number Five

[intoned] Possible rides: January sixteenth, fifty-eight. January seventeenth, seventy-six. January eighteenth, nineteen. January nineteenth, six. January twentieth, eleven. To hell with it -- I'm going to walk!

Number Six

[ad lib] Jesus was God in the flesh.

[sung] Hey hey hey -- Jesus-- Jesus was God in the fle-esh Hey hey hey -- Hey hey hey -- Hey hey -- Jesus was God in the flesh. Hey hey hey - Jesus -- Jesus was God in the fle-esh Hey hey hey -- Hey hey hey -- Hey hey -- Jesus was God in the flesh.

Number Seven

[intoned] Looking for millionaire wife. Good looking, Very handsome, Intelligent, Good bull thrower, Etcetera. You lucky women! All you have to do is find me, you lucky women. Name's George.

[sung] All you have to do is find me -- You lucky women -- Name's George.
Number Eight

[spoken] Here's wishing all who read this, if they can get a lift, and the best of luck to you. Why in hell did you come, anyway?

[sung] Damn it anyhow -- Here I am stuck in the cold -- I've come, twenty-seven hundred miles from Chi, Illinois -- Slept along the highway, slept in open boxcar without top. Went hungry for two days (raining too) -- Dah dah dah dah -

But they say there's a hell -- What the hell do they think this is? Do they think about this? Dah dah dah dah dah
(and etc: more Dah-dahs here...)

I'm on my way, one half of desert to the east. Then back to El-lay, to try once more -- Car just passed by, make that two more, three more. Do not think they'll let me finish my story.

Here she comes, a truck, not a fuck, but a truck. Just a truck. Hoping to get the hell out, here's my name-- Johnnie Reinwald, nine-fifteen South Westlake Avenue, Los Angeles. Doh dee-dee
(and etc: more Doh-dees here...)

Here's wishing all who read this, if they can get a lift, and the best of luck to you - Doh doh doh doh doh doh -- dah dah dah -

Why in hell did you come, anyway?


Seventeen Lyrics by Li Po
A special thanks is in order to Chris Nelson, who submitted the Li Po lyrics to me already set in ascii, and then I took forever to get them online. The dates and places of composition, along with revision information, are from Dr. Bob Gilmore; the notes accompanying the texts are from the translator, Shigeyoshi Obata.  [JMS]
1. The Long-Departed Lover (December 1930; New Orleans)
2. On The City Street (August 1931; Santa Rosa)
3. An Encounter In The Field (August 1931; Santa Rosa)
4. The Intruder (August 1931; Santa Rosa)
5. On Ascending The Sin-Ping Tower (October 15, 1931; San Francisco)
6. In The Spring-Time On The South Side Of The Yangtze Kiang (December 9, 1931; San Francisco)
7. The Night Of Sorrow (December 17, 1931; San Francisco)
8. On Hearing The Flute In The Yellow Crane House (February 17, 1932; San Francisco)
9. On Hearing The Flute At Lo-Cheng One Spring Night (February 17, 1932; San Francisco)
10. A Dream (February 29, 1932; San Francisco)
11. On Seeing Off Meng Hao-Jan (January 1931; New Orleans. Revised Nov. 14, 1932; Pasadena)
12. On The Ship Of Spice-Wood (April 1931; New Orleans. Revised Jan. 15, 1933; Pasadena)
13. With A Man Of Leisure (January 1931; New Orleans. Revised Jan. 16, 1933; Pasadena)
14. A Midnight Farewell (January 17, 1933; Pasadena)
15. Before The Cask Of Wine (August 7, 1933; Gloucester)
16. By The Great Wall (August 8, 1933; Gloucester)
17. I Am A Peach Tree (August 11, 1933; Gloucester)

1. The Long-Departed Lover
(December 1930; New Orleans)

Fair one, when you were here, I filled the house with flowers.
Fair one, now you are gone--only an empty couch is left.
On the couch the embroidered quilt is rolled up; I cannot sleep.
It is three years since you went. The perfume you left behind
haunts me still.
The perfume strays about me forever, but where are you, Beloved?
I sigh--the yellow leaves fall from the branch,
I weep--the dew twinkles white on the green mosses.

2. On The City Street
(August 1931; Santa Rosa)

They meet in the pink dust of the city street.
He raises his gold crop high in salute.
"Lady," says he, "where do you live?"
"There are ten thousand houses among the drooping willow

3. An Encounter In The Field
(August 1931; Santa Rosa)

Came an amorous rider,
Trampling the fallen flowers of the road.
The dangling end of his crop
Brushes a passing carriage of five-colored clouds.
The jeweled curtain is raised,
A beautiful woman smiles within--
"That is my house," she whispers,
Pointing to a pink house beyond.

4. The Intruder
(August 1931; Santa Rosa)

The grass of Yen is growing green and long
While in Chin the leafy mulberry branches hang low,
Even now while my longing heart is breaking,
Are you thinking, my dear, of coming back to me?
--O wind of spring, you are a stranger,
Why do you enter through the silken curtains of my bower?

5. On Ascending The Sin-Ping Tower
(October 15, 1931; San Francisco)

An exile, I ascend this tower,
Thinking of home, and with the anguish of the waning year.
The sun has set far beyond heaven's immensity;
The unsullied waters flow on in bleak undulation.
I see a stray cloud of Chin above the mountain trees,
And the wild gees of Tartary flying over the river dunes.
Alas! for ten thousand miles under the dark blue sky
As far as my eyes can reach, there is but one vast gloom for me.

6. In The Spring-Time On The South Side Of The Yangtze Kiang
(December 9, 1931; San Francisco)

Note: Both the stray cloud and the migratory birds remind the poet of his own wanderings.

The green spring--and what time?
The yellow bird sings and will not cease.
On the bank of the Kiang I am growing old, white-haired.
My homeward way lies lost beyond the horizon.
Though my thoughts fly into the clouds of Chin,
I remain with my shadow under the moon of Chu.
My life is a wasted thing,
My garden and fields have long been buried under weeds.
What am I to do so late in my years
But sing away and let alone the imperial gate of gold?

7. The Night Of Sorrow
(December 17, 1931; San Francisco)

A lovely woman rolls up
The delicate bamboo blind.
She sits deep within,
Twitching her moth eyebrows.
Who may it be
That grieves her heart?
On her face one sees
Only the wet traces of tears.

8. On Hearing The Flute In The Yellow Crane House
(February 17, 1932; San Francisco)

A wandering exile, I came away to Long Beach.
I gazed toward home, beyond the horizon,
Toward the city of Chang-an.
I heard some one in the Yellow Crane House,
Playing on the sweet bamboo flute
The tune of the "Falling Plum Flowers" . . .
It was May in the waterside city.

9. On Hearing The Flute At Lo-Cheng One Spring Night
(February 17, 1932; San Francisco)

Note: The "Willow-breaking" was a popular parting song.

Whence comes this voice of the sweet bamboo,
Flying in the dark?
It flies with the spring wind,
Hovering over the city of Lo.
How memories of home come back to-night!
Hark! the plaintive tune of "Willow-breaking."...

10. A Dream
(February 29, 1932; San Francisco)

Note: In this poem the poet describes his dream of visiting Mt. Tien-mu, "Fostermother of the skies", in Chehkiang. The other mountains, Chi-Cheng, the "Scarlet Castle", and Tien-tai, the "Terrace of Heaven", are located in the same province. Prince Hsieh is a poet-governor of the 4th century under the Chin dynasty whom Li Po admired immensely.

The sea-farers tell of the Eastern Isle of Bliss,
It is lost in a wilderness of misty sea waves.
But the Sky-land of the south, the Yueh-landers say,
May be seen through cracks of the glimmering cloud.
This land of the sky stretches across the leagues of heaven;
It rises above the Five Mountains and towers over the Scarlet Castle,
While, as if staggering before it, the Tien-tai Peak
Of forty-eight thousand feet leans toward the southeast.
So, longing to dream of the southlands of Wu and Yueh,
I flew across the Mirror Lake one night under the moon.
The moon in the lake followed my flight,
Followed me to the town of Yen-chi.
Here still stands the mansion of Prince Hsieh.
I saw the green waters curl and heard the monkeys' shrill cries.
I climbed, putting on the clogs of the prince,
Skyward on a ladder of clouds,
And half-way up from the sky-wall I saw the morning sun,
And heard the heaven's cock crowing in the mid-air.
Now among a thousand precipices my way wound round and round;
Flowers choked the path; I leaned against a rock; I swooned.
Roaring bears and howling dragons roused me--Oh, the clamorous waters of the rapids!
I trembled in the deep forest, and shuddered at the overhanging crags, one heaped upon another.
Clouds on clouds gathered above, threatening rain;
The waters gushed below, breaking into mist.
A peal of blasting thunder!
The mountains crumbled.
The stone gate of the hollow heaven
Opened wide, revealing
A vasty realm of azure without bottom,
Sun and moon shining together on gold and silver palaces.
Clad in rainbow and riding on the wind,
The ladies of the air descended like flower-flakes;
The fairy lords trooping in, they were thick as hemp-stalks in the fields.
Phoenix birds circled their cars, and panthers played upon harps.
Bewilderment filled me, and terror seized on my heart.
I lifted myself in amazement, and alas!
I woke and found my bed and pillow--
Gone was the radiant world of gossamer.
So with all pleasure of life.
All things pass with the east-flowing water.
I leave you and go--when shall I return?
Let the white roe feed at will among the green crags,
Let me ride and visit the lovely mountains!
How can I stoop obsequiously and serve the mighty ones!
It stifles my soul.

11. On Seeing Off Meng Hao-Jan
(January 1931; New Orleans. Revised November 14, 1932; Pasadena)

Note: The Yellow Crane House stood till a recent date not far from the city of Wu-chang, Hupeh, on a hill overlooking the Yangtze-kiang. Once upon a time the dead man of Shuh, traveling on the back of a yellow crane, stopped here to rest. Hence the name of the house. There is another interesting story just as authentic, according to which: there stood here a tavern kept by a man whose name was Chin, to whom one day a tall rugged professor in rags came and asked very complacently, "I haven't money, will you give me wine?" The tavern keeper was game; he readily offered to the stranger the biggest tumbler and allowed him to help himself to all the wine he wanted day after day for half a year. At last the professor said to Chin, "I owe you some wine money. I'll pay you now." So saying, he took lemon peels and with it smeared on the wall a picture of a yellow crane, which at the clapping of his hands came to life and danced to the tune of his song.

My friend bade farewell at the Yellow Crane House,
And went down eastward to Willow Valley
Amid the flowers and mists of March.
The lonely sail in the distance
Vanished at last beyond the blue sky.
And I could see only the river
Flowing along the border of heaven.

12. On The Ship Of Spice-Wood
(April 1931; New Orleans. Revised January 15, 1933; Pasadena)

Note: The poet is in his typical mood. The poem is a manifesto of his happy triumphant existence of freedom and of sensual and poetical indulgence. Mu-lan is the name of a precious wood. Chu-ping, or Chu Yuan, 332-295 B.C. was a loyal minister under Huai-wang, the ruler of the Chu state. He is celebrated for his poems, which include the famous Li Sao. The river Han is a large tributary of the Yangtze, which originates in Shensi and flows southwestward through Hupeh, joining the main stream at Hankow.

My ship is built of spice-wood and has a rudder of mu-lan;
Musicians sit at the two ends with jeweled bamboo flutes and pipes of gold.
What a pleasure it is, with a cask of sweet wine
And singing girls beside me,
To drift on the water hither and thither with the waves!
I am happier than the fairy of the air, who rode on his yellow crane.
And free as the merman who followed the sea-gulls aimlessly.
Now with the strokes of my inspired pen I shake the Five Mountains.
My poem is done, I laugh and my delight is vaster than the sea.
Oh, deathless poetry! The songs of Chu-ping are ever glorious as the sun and moon,
While the palaces and towers of the Chu kings have vanished from the hills.
Yea, if worldly fame and riches were things to last forever,
The waters of the River Han would flow north-westward, too.

13. With A Man Of Leisure
(January 1931; New Orleans. Revised January 16, 1933; Pasadena)

Yonder the mountain flowers are out.
We drink together, you and I.
One more cup--one more cup--still one more cup!
Now I am drunk and drowsy, you had better go.
But come to-morrow morning, if you will, with the harp!

14. A Midnight Farewell
(January 17, 1933; Pasadena)

By a pale lantern--under the cold moon
We were drinking heavily together.
Frightened by our orgies, a white heron
Flashed out of the river shallows. It was midnight.

15. Before The Cask Of Wine
(August 7, 1933; Gloucester)

The spring wind comes from the east and quickly passes,
Leaving faint ripples in the wine of the golden bowl.
The flowers fall, flake after flake, myriads together.
You pretty girl, wine-flushed
Your rosy face is rosier still.
How long may the peach and plum trees flower
By the green-painted house?
The fleeting light deceives man,
Brings soon the stumbling age.
Rise and dance
In the westering sun,
While the urge of youthful years is yet unsubdued!
What avails to lament after one's hair has turned white like silken threads?

16. By The Great Wall
(August 8, 1933; Gloucester)

He rides his white charger by the Fortalice of Gold,
She wanders in dreams amid the desert cloud and sand.
It is a season of sorrow that she scarce can endure,
Thinking of her soldier lover at the border fort.
The fireflies, flitting about, swarm at her window,
While the moon slowly passes over her solitary bower.
The leaves of the green paulonia are tattered;
And the branches of the sha-tung blasted and sere.
There is not an hour but she, alone, unseen,
Weeps--only to learn how futile all her tears are.

17. I Am A Peach Tree
(August 11, 1933; Gloucester)

Note: These two stanzas are taken from a poem written by Li Po in behalf of his wife, expressing her sentiment toward himself.

I am a peach tree blossoming in a deep pit.
Who is there I may turn to and smile?
You are the moon up in the far sky;
Passing, you looked down on me an hour; then went on forever.
A sword with the keenest edge,
Could not cut the stream of water in twain
So that it would cease to flow.
My thought is like the stream; and flows and follows you on forever.


Eleven Intrusions

1. Two Studies on Ancient Greek Scales: Olympos' Pentatonic (1946)
2. Two Studies on Ancient Greek Scales: Archytas' Enharmonic (1946)

3. The Rose
(Ella Young: Marzilian and Other Poems [Harbison & Harbison, Oceano, California, 1938])

The rose that blooms in Paradise
Burns with an ecstasy too sweet
For mortal eyes
But sometimes down the jasper walls
A petal falls
Toward earth and night
To lose it is to lose delight beyond compare
To have it is to have despair

4. The Crane
(Tsurayuki, translation by Waley in Japanese Poetry, the "Uta" [Lund Humphries & Co., Ltd., London, 1946])

Its cry is mournful in the reed plane
as thought it had called to mind something
which it wanted to forget.

5. The Waterfall
(Ella Young: Marzilian and Other Poems [Harbison & Harbison, Oceano, California, 1938])

O shouting multitudes
Leaping from crag to crag
Wrestling with limbs intertwined
Why are you so eager to leave the sunlight
So eager for the pool of oblivion?

6. The Wind
(Ella Young: Marzilian and Other Poems [Harbison & Harbison, Oceano, California, 1938]; Lao Tze)

She is the slender-blossomed thorn,
She is the heartbeat of the Spring,
The faint sweet music before morn,
She, the light swallow on the wing.
Maid moon she is, so young and white,
Shy in the heaven's lordly dome.

I am the lonely wind of night,
I am the spent seas bitter foam.
I am drifted about as on the sea
I am carried by the wind as if I had nowhere to go.

7. The Street
(Willard Motley: Knock On Any Door [Appleton-Century-Crofts, Inc., New York, 1947])

Over the jail the wind blows, sharp and cold. Over the jail and over the car tracks the cold wind blows. The streetcar clangs east, turns down Alaska Avenue, and at a diagonal crosses Halstead Street. North and south runs Halstead, twenty miles long.

Twelfth Street. Boys under lampposts, shooting craps, learning. Darkness behind the school where you smarten up, you come out with a pride and go look at all the good clothes in the shop windows and the swell cars whizzing past to Michigan Boulevard and start figuring out how you can get all these things.

Down Maxwell Street where the prostitutes stand in the gloom-clustered doorways. Across Twelfth
Street either way on Peoria are the old houses. The sad faces of the houses line the street like old men and women sitting along the veranda of an old folks' charity home.

Nick? Knock on any door down this street.

8. Lover
(George Leite: published in the magazine Circle [Berkely, California, Vol. 1, No. 3])

So now lost and turn blood into night into dark
it means the dearest and most burned is alone in the night in the black tarn
if you see the mad horse and he shows a yearning fear
Black stamp cuddle close it is almost time to shout it is almost time to scream
it is dark blood boils lost dark blood boils lost dark blood boils lost beauty

9. Soldiers - War - Another War
(Ungaretti, translation by William Fense Weaver, published in the magazine Circle [Berkely, California, Vol. 1, No. 10])

We remain like leaves on the trees in autumn

Far away like a blind man they have led me by the hand

Another War
In this darkness with my frozen hands
I can make out my face
I feel myself abandoned

10. Vanity
(Ungaretti [see Intrusion 9])

Suddenly tall on the ruins is the clear stupor of immensity
And the man bent over the water surprised by the sun makes himself out as a shadow
Rocked by the water and slowly shattered.
11. Cloud Chamber Music