Tag Archives: TS Eliot

Something time forgot

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read.

Back in the 1960s browsing around book stores a person used to find 33 1/3 LP records of poets reading their own poetry.  I bought several and always enjoyed listening to Robert Frost, TS Eliot, Archibald MacLeish and several others.  Those poor old LPs were awfully scratchy and beat up by the time cassette tapes came along and I converted those I could.

But toward the end of LP-days along came Rod McKuen and I suppose made everyone a bit shy about admitting they listened to poetry.  I’m telling you now I listened to part of a Rod McKuen LP once, so shoot me for a dumbass.

Anyway somewhere back there my tapes ran away with a fancy machine designed to play them and it’s been a long time since I’ve heard Frost, MacLeish, Penn Warren, or TS Eliot, among others.  Missed it considerable.

But here in my dotage in Olathe, KS, there’s a lady who works at the County Library who was once an English Major.  She takes delight in getting me whatever the library has on almost anything.  I’ve consumed books on low sodium cooking, for instance, and am currently reading some new Terry Pratchett.

So lately when I got hankering to find some MP3 recordings converted from those mentioned naturally she was my database.  The bad news is a lot of it is still in libraries somewhere on vinyl, never converted even to tape.  You can find my favorite MacLeish on Amazon on LP for $4.77 used, but nothing even on tape.  Or you can get it Interlibrary loan from NY Public Library on LP.

Anyway I got Frost converted from CD to MP3, along with an assortment of other CD anthologies and spang sent them back to the library, ordering more.  And today I’ve got another stack  she brought home last night.  TS Eliot and The Spoken Arts Treasury Volume 1 [6 CD] of a large variety of poets reading their own poetry if they were still alive when recording devices were invented.

I also have a 2 CD set of the Mills Brothers, 1931-1968 I’ll be converting to MP3.  Truly looking forward to hearing it.

But the technology is moving so fast by the time I get them on MP3 probably something will come along assuring they’ll be lost to history some other way.  Heck, there aren’t enough people interested in Archibald MacLeish, Carl Sandburg, to justify someone commercially to preserve them.  Not anyone after cassette tapes came along.

Ezra Pound spent the years of his life after WWII in confined exile because he got so enthusiastic about Italian fascism, entirely because Il Duce supported the arts.

If poor old Ezry had recorded all those endless cantos he penned from 1945 until he died I suppose it would be one hell of a treasury to convert to MP3.  I’m probably the only person on the planet who wouldn’t listen to it.

Old Jules

The Naming of Cats

First came this at an early age:  The Life and Times of Archie and Mehitabel, Don Marquis .

After the literary Mehitabel, the first namesake to enter my life was in 1967.  She was a stray, moved in ahead of a hurricane reputed to be headed for Houston.  My new wife and I took her in because she was hungry, pregnant, and a violent storm might be coming.

She was near to giving birth and decided my sock drawer was the best option, refused to be dissuaded.  So I built her a cat house behind the apartment.  She didn’t stay around long after the kittens died, evidently because of drinking her milk.

Mehitabel #2 was a bob-tailed calico.  Amazing cat, a loyal companion for 17 years.  I once watched her in horror and awe as she mauled a full grown German Shepherd and similarly sized mutt, though they intended it to be the other way around, then found themselves surrounded, blocked repeatedly in their attempts to escape by a feline seemed to prefer two at a time.

I could spend pages telling Mehitabel #2 stories, but I won’t, except to say she was the mother of Hydrox #1, Hydrox #2, Xerox #s 1 and 2, and The Great Rumpus Cat #1.  I always figured she was reincarnated from Mehitabel #1.

Over the years I always kept the cat population contained in a set of names lying in wait for a cat to fit in them, Mehitabel, Hydrox, Xerox and The Great Rumpus Cat being the primary ones.  The method always worked well for me, but cats needed to fit particular qualifications to seize a particular name.  Hydrox and Xerox were always jellicle cats.  Mehitabel had to qualify by meeting other standards, generally following the Don Marquis model.

Mehitabel #3 came in around 1996, me fresh out of cats, her being a pregnant bookstore cat in Socorro, New Mexico.  When Mehitabel #3 emerged from sleep and demanded I pick her up I asked the lady-owner, “She’s close.  When these kittens are weaned could I have one?”

“You can have HER.”

“I don’t want half-a-dozen cats.”

“I know.  As soon as the kittens are weaned you can have her.”

The enthusiasm and insistence of the lady told me I had the right cat.   Mehitabel and I hit it off beautifully.  But I was on the road a lot, and despite the cat door she was able to use to go in and out, I sensed Mehitabel was lonely.

Mel, a good friend, had a pregnant jellical female, Electra, living in his garage, and when the kittens were born I picked out Hydrox #4, or maybe 5.  Freshly weaned, I carried him home to introduce him to Mehitabel #3.  She hated him.

Mehitabel showed no signs of accepting him, so I went back to Mel and borrowed the second-best of the litter, Niaid, on an indefinite loan to keep him company.  I didn’t try to fit her into the name thing because she was just a loaner.

As the pair matured I’d frequently ask Mel, “You needing this cat back?”

“No,” he’d assure me, “I’m fine.”   Then Mel partnered  with me on the Y2K land, though he stayed in town except for a week leading up to January 1, 2000, so the Niaid issue wasn’t a concern.

Slouching into the Millennium – August 1998

Reflections of a Y2K Survivor

But in the background, throughout her life, Mehitabel bullied both of them unmercifully.  When we went to live in a single-room apartment in Grants, New Mexico, toward the end of 2000, she could lay down the law and they couldn’t get away from her.  But eventually Mehitabel #3 went on permanent mouse patrol, relieving the household of a lot of tension.

That’s where the screw-up happened in the life-long cat naming procedures.  A stray pregnant cat emerged from catdom at a motel Jeanne was staying in while visiting me in Grants, which she took back to Kansas with her.  Named her Shiva, largely because of my lousy abilities at prognostication.

I had no idea the was going to eventually fill the Mehitabel #4 slot.

But she did and it’s screwed everything up from a cat naming perspective.  I doubt I’ll live long enough to get it back on track.  One of Shiva’s litter’s living with me, as well.  Sheeze!  Her name????


Old Jules

The Naming of Cats in T S Eliot’s own voice: