McNair to Hall: March 18, 1978


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From Santiago, Chile
Dear Don & Jane –-

On the flip side, please find recent poem.

Have belatedly discovered, through CSC Calendars
that friends have mailed, about the readings you
both did in Alumnae Lounge. Colby is lucky. I’m
sorry I missed them.

All is well here, Classes have started once
again, but I seem to have time withal to
write. Am still working on translations of
poems by Gonzalo Rojas – Also have been helping
Miriam Diaz w/ Adrienne Rich translations.

Won’t be long now, Don, before I teach
“Stone Walls” – which, as I say, I like in revision
(it seems more coherent, among other things) – still,
I miss some of the images in the earlier version
that I’ve dug out & reread. It’s painful
sometimes, isn’t it, what one has to throw away?

Jane, how’s the book going? Hope all
is well with you both in your respective
enterprises. Oh – forgot to mention, Don, how
very much I liked your Frost chapter of
Remembering Poets, whose I recently read in
Commentary. I walked around with it in my head
for days (should I say daze?). I will write more about it later, but honestly it was just
wonderful. For now, I am compelled to finish this up so it’ll make the Sat. afternoon mail-

Best to you both,



the one without legs reaches
up as if he would have us pull him
out of the sidewalk

we cannot pull him
our money will not help
the big-chested man whose legs
are folded in front of him
like socks

when we turn an old man
is making an earnest expression
with half of his face
two sisters remember songs
behind their white eyes

where do beggars go when the streets
are full of rain
the man in a cart rowing
his half-body away
with his hands

the girl on wood crutches
doing her slow breaststroke
into our dreams

A note from McNair about this letter:  My enclosed poem “Beggars” results from my numerous encounters with beggars on the streets of Santiago.