3601 49th Street, N W Washington D C 20016 18 November 1965
My dear Red: oh, nobody knows better than I all the reasons thaat keep writers from writing letters. I have begun to hesitate to write to my friends whose lives and energy I value and od not want to misuse, just because they instantly get the idea 6bht they must write me in turn. Don't mistake this flor generosity - its just a alleval look at one of the facts of life: and I love to write letters, and love to get them from my friends, but for a good while now - too long - I have been living in a snake pit between Hell and High Water, and that is not a restful place to get bogged down in.
Two hours ago I had in my hand the bid envelope consisting your poem: I mean to point you out some lines that I loved at first sight, and then second, but I cannot remember lines as I once did: (once I knew all of Shakespeare's Sonnets by heart and in their right order - or what was then taken for their right order. I was reading the other day some critic who set out to prove that Shakespearewrote all those sonnets to HIMSELF, and that if you jostle the sonnets around in acertain order, it can be proved. I think that is what he said. It was late at night and I was sleepy: and I long ago decided for myself that I for once didn't care who Shakespeare wrote those aonnets to, I was just glad he wrote them: and much as I love John Crowe poetry, and have and will, I never paid any more attention to his criticism after I read his blast against Shakespeare's Sonnets..) Well, that poem has vanished out of this little office, I have retracted my steps all over the house and I cannot find it. But it is not lost. I bet, I hope, I must believe that My beautiful and long-suffering Miss Miller has toted it down stairs and filed it away. When you all get well and come to see me, you will be astonished at the operation we are carrying on in that basement.
You remember? I had two nearly fatal rounds of pneumonia in two months last year, and here, just a year later, I am not well, and I take care of myself, and follow docto's orders, and have refused about thirty speaking engagements- except one at the Library of Congress-
and spend twelve of fourteen hours a day in bed, and try to eat properly, and as a result I am apparently withering away. So you are now called upon to rise up and assert your authority as sole haed of house under God, and restrain Bleanor for her good and everybody else's