Sunday, 23 May 2010


The following is adapted from a real letter that my father, Huw Wheldon, visiting America in 1959, wrote to my mother. It is what might be called, after Duchamp, a ‘found’ poem.

So then, after washing, a cigarette, and the treasured letter. A treat. To be read with minute care, so imagine a monk adoringly fingering his way through the palimpsest; and I immediately know all and how absolutely impossible it is to write a letter with any meaning because we are beyond sharing the world’s news and the going joke and can now only share life. So the letter becomes not inadequate but irrelevant. The relevant thing is: everything. So I want you to know that I could not find my comb until I found it and I want you to know that the day is as hot as the devil and I want you to know the colour of the carpet and the look on that chap’s face and that just now I had a piss and what is more I am at this very moment breathing, sometimes in and then again, out. Not that these things or perhaps any thing at all is of the slightest interest, and if they happened and you were here they would be trivial and perhaps even boring or tiresome, but they exist as part of my irresistible and flowing and absolutely living, nose-picking, glorifying, boring being, and putting it bluntly it is a jarring thing for you not to know about them automatically, and for me equally not to know that you are grizzling over the sink, or thinking about Aldous Huxley, or feeling the edge of desperation like a bad tooth on the edge of the tongue simply because you are looking at a single delphinium, and as usual, it implies the world, not to mention what the hell to do about the lupins, and eternity.

This appears in this month's issue of Acumen Literary Journal, Acumen 67