marlene mountain
letter essay
june 1989

loss of

dear cor 6/15/89

It was good to get FP with your article on Nick--and the loss of innocence. I appreciate what you're saying, what you're struggling with. And I know it's been difficult--it's been an awful experience for me over the years and, I might add, a very lonely one. It seemed that no one knew what I meant, or if they did they just didn't want to hear it in the sacred poem. What hurt most I think was that I felt (paranoia?) that my anger about what was/is happening to nature was written off as some frustrated bitch's diatribe. My dark side and uncalled for/passe stridency (as Rod put it), etc., when indeed I was 'merely' continuing to point out reality as I saw it, and therefore with realistic words/feelings. Bringing bad news (reality) to haiku lovers/nature lovers has been a big no-no. Well, to begin to see what was happening and to let it come out--that was harder on me than it was on those who might have read what I was trying to say. It is my love of nature (not lack of interest, etc.) and seeing what was happening that caused the anger. And that danged 'inner necessity' wouldn't let me drop the subject.

Then, of course, my innocence about a billion other things was falling away--at the same time. Including haiku. I deliberatly set about to find out the worst, about the condition of women world-wide, the lies of history, the romantic over-lay on everything, the understanding of male art and my part in it. And on and on. Seeing and acknowledging my collusion in so many things was really tough. Sometimes I wonder that I didn't go quite mad. But, the main thing that has happened is that I've dealt/am dealing with it--what I can of it. And I love these other 'truths' (that make one gulp) that I'm finding. In truth, I've not 'lost' a thing.

Back to your article. Normally, I'd have lots of trouble with the use of man for people. But in this case, man is the correct word. (Are you aware that 'pollution' means 'emission of semen at other times than in coitus'?) What's happening to nature is that part of it/she has become 'man-made.' So instead of saying 'Nature . . . has become menancing to man [people] through man's [yes] . . ., I would have said man-made nature has become menacing. ['less and less nature is nature' from POP.] That distincion is important to me.

All in all, I'm moved by what you've said. The perspective you shown. And, the 'call' for honesty about nature/haiku. Hopefully, we won't get a rash of POP. I had to write POP, etc. in part because of my earlier innocent writings. (Perhaps others won't react in the way I've had to.) At some point I expect to balance out. But if it never comes, then it doesn't.

One thing I want to mention is the dates you often give John and me. We saw an old copy of Amer Haiku in the fall of 1968 in Georgia. John hadn't written before then. [incorrect info by mm-see below link-mm] We both got involved in writing at about the same time (not the 70s for me--see mine published in MH and Haiku in 1969). I wrote lot of things prior to 1970, including some one-lines (some things ahead of the 'times' that weren't published, and some awful stuff). I was struggling in part with the visual; and John with his background in Am/Eng Lit came to haiku--shall I say-- easier. (To my knowledge, he has never struggled with a concept.) I was already a Zen fan/haiku (Japanese Masters) fan from my reading of 'The Way of Zen' back in 1964. And my abstract paintings had expressed the 'little said on white space' and the 'wordless poem' before I had read about it. (I eventually discussed the concept in my MA thesis, 1965.) John, with his hugh ego, paid little attention to what I was doing in Georgia. He was the poet and I was the wife. Fortunately I didn't buy that completely. Some day, maybe, I can get my early stuff sorted out.

I'm still struggling with getting the sequences/renga on disks with the right margins, etc. About done. 'a japanese connection' is misdated on the content sheet I sent you. The lines are much earlier. I think it would be interesting to start with 40 (because of the content) and have 'connection' and the earliest sequence 'Fishing' (MH v.2:2, Sp 1971) as forerunners, the former as 1 line minimal (and about Japan) and the latter as 3 line with 'nature' content. And I'd forgetten about the 100 link renga I was in, and the 'found renga' about men/women from the bible concordance. More and more I see 'the book' as sequences and renga. One-line is a given. Though there are a few things in non-one line that relate--particularly a seq. that includes 'moon gazing/for a moment/i change me name.'

I called Rod Sunday. He's getting rid of his press. Says there're at least 2 books in 'tonight' with it expanded. I think there's one. A rather stange journey that I don't think should be divided. But, Cor, I just don't know if there would be more than a handful (friends) who'd even want to wade through it. As usual I have my doubts. Self-exposure is tough. But on the other hand, maybe it ought to happen. We'll see. For me, it has to do with what I write this year.

Here's a piece about my trip. Obscure, I guess.

Again, thanks for your thoughtful article. It's time had come--your time had come. My small poorly-written essay on 'raining at every window' was hard for me to do. I didn't want you (in a way, no one) to suffer from the loss of innocence--yet . . . . . it's all there is, the only place to 'go.' There is haiku after innocence.

Have you had a chance to read the essays, etc.? Could you see if Hiro might have interest in reading them? I think I've finally had just a glimpse of how to write that 'last' article I've been stewing over. It'll take some doing. I dread it.

We've been drenched by rain and more rain. Seems never-ending. But the nesting birds are finally beginning to come around again. And, I think--pretty sure--I have an albino wren that was hatched near-by. Seen it in the yard 3 times now.

all for now


[mm note: see from the mountain 8c john wills' haiku]

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