Reading the Early Letters

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i.m. Anthony Hecht

Why should it shock me that his younger self spouts wordplay like a great baroque jet d’eau, German abbreviations, French bons mots, lettered allusions up and down the shelf of the Bard’s dramas? And the KJV? Even in wartime, juggling bric-a-brac! A bright disguise, put on for family? A carapace his later poems would crack?

False questions. My small shudder at the heart drums from the memory of those pinched and bland and few scribbles I sent from school back then to parents shy of words and starved of art. All parties artless, failing to understand what mattered— ……………………….Fifty years, and I wince again.