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June 03, 1941 - Image 11

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1941-06-03

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Page lee'

THE FIRST DRINK Continued from Page 1

Poor Butterfly? I like Whispering, too.
I like you, even."
Mac didn't say much. Bell saluted her,
and said with a flourish, "For you, my
little lotus-flower, we will play any-
thing." She grabbed her boyfriend. "Aw-
right, then, play anything, and we'll
And off they went.
Bell shook his head. slowly. "Well,
that's that." .
Hunt struck out a few chords. "Let's
go. Whispering."
So they played Whispering; whis -
pering while you cud - dIe near me. It
was a good tune, one of the old ones.
Bell took the first chorus, Mac faked
harmony. Hunt took the second alone,
in two or three different keys. He was
going strong, and made an easy modula-
tion back to the original key, where Mac
picked it up. Wilson was drumming
1-2-3-4, because he owned the P.A. sys-
Bell's shoe-shine friend came up after
the set, looking sympathetic ("It's al-
ways there, kid, whenever you want it
just holler. And it's good stuff, now, I'm
not kiddis' ya.") Mac called him over.
"Say, did I hear you say something about
good stuff?"
The man was a little startled at first,
then smiled all over. "Why sure, sure."
"Then let us all take a five," said
"Five, hell! It's time for intermis-
sion," said Hunt, and reached for what
was left of his Golden Wedding. Sp they
all went out, except Wilson, whose wife
came over. "Now George, if you go out
drinking with those men, I'll-" "Okay,
okay, not so loud. Everybody's look-
in'." God, what a life, they thought, as
they went out past the big tree.
They went out to the big fellow's car,
and Mac got in first, took a seat in the
back. They turned on the dash light.
"It's in the glove compartment there,
Bell," Bell felt around in it, pulled out
the bottle and a lady's glove, put the
glove back. "Ha!" he said, "Partaka,
sir." And he and the big fellow partook,
and handed it back to Hunt. Hunt took
a solid pull at it and handed it over to
Mac. Mac took hold of it and felt the
grooves in the bottle, there were probably
flowers engraved in the glass, he'd seen
them like that. He wondered if it would

gag him, he'd heard people laughing
about someone taking the first drink.
He looked at the others and they were
looking straight ahead, but he was glad
it was dark. He didn't wait any longer,
but put it to his lips, tipped it up high
and took a swig. Not a big one, he held
it to his lips a lot longer than he drank.
All of a sudden his mouth seemed full
of saliva, and it gagged him a little, but
he kept it to himself, nobody knew the
difference. He blinked his eyes and
looked around. No one was watching
him, they were all laughing in the dark
about another of Iuntley's Indians who
found a woman in his hotel room.
It wasn't so bad the second time
around, and he took more. It sent a
warm glow through him, stinging. He
felt comfortable as all hell sitting there
listening, laughing with the rest of
them. There was the radio too, do you
suffer from hyper-acidity heartburn sour
stomach cough that hangs on, it said,
this remarkable remedy will fix you up
in a hurry, yes sir. The bottle went
around again and again, with some lim-
ericks and toasts in between, here's to
the gal who lives on the hill she won't
do it but her sister will. Then there was
another bottle, smooth on the outside.
no grooves in the glass, and a news
broadcast came over the radio. For fur-
ther details consult your local news-
paper, it said, good night. When Mac
got out of the car, he was glowing all
Hello Mac, what are you doin out
here? Say, come on over to the car.
They were his friends, come on over,
and have a swig. Sure, why not, what
the hell
INTERMISSION was announced as fif-
teen minutes, usually lasted twenty-
five, and tonight was half an hour. Mac
went back into the hall, past the tree
that rose up through the middle, stood
up beside the piano, resined his bow. He
ran over a' few scales and double-stops,
and everybody was looking at him and
talking, he must be doing a swell job
of it. So he played around a bit, and
all the runs were coming easy. Hell, he
wasn't drunk.
He sat down, and Huntley was fooling
with a few chords. They started off with
Dinah in F. Everybody likes Dinah, the

standards are always fun to ride, you've
known them so long.
Di - nah -- is there anyone fi - nah.
In the state of Caro-linah
If there is, and you know - her, show-
Then there's Dixie eyes blazin,' gaze-in
to Dinah Lee's eyes. And it's all O.K.
You like it, and everybody goes round
and round the big oak tree so many
faces. You know everybody hello hello.
Hello Bill how do you like married
life you look peekid ha ha. Seems like
everybody's gettin married, not me kid
I got things to do. Hello Ernie are we
gonna take 'em tomorrow, we better,
seven cases bet on the game if you play
ball like you do that fiddle we'll all have
a good time. Hohoho. Did you know old
Norgaart died today, that's tough, but
his wife has the hired man, kids all
gone. Yeah, leavin early, we gotta get
the hay in, it might rain before Monday,
sabbath or no sabbath goddamit. You
tellem boy.
Hello Bert, where you been? Over to
Langston, they ain't got the crowd there
you got here. But they had a hell of a
row, you shoulda seen it, young Swan
and Big Pete's boy mixed it up over some
floozy from Ionia, I don't know why they
do it but when a man's horny he's horny,
I guess.
He was really going,. now. Every-
thing slipped into the groove. He'd never
been able to do this before. Every run
was on the beat, every note was full of
heat, sixty pairs of dancing feet, rah-
Then it was a square dance. Soldier's
Joy and Sailor's Hornpipe honor your
partner and corner the same. Swing
your partner, partners all, promenade
the hall. And the second change, slower,
dosa bellinette, lady to the right, gent
to the left. Getting rested for the Finale.
For the Finale, the grapevine twist, to
the music of The Devil's Dream (in A,
Hunt). The grapevine twist, first lady
o-ver, second lady under; four people
in a circle, two women btween two men,
round and round. Women with feet
straight out, screaming, skirts flying.
Then al-a-man left, swing with your
partner, promenade away . . . And it's
all over, but they might holler for
another yet tonight.

Hey let's play Sugar Blues on that
trumpet of yours, Bell. Sure, Mac. And
he blew a hell of a lot of dirt out of it,
and the crowd liked it, and hollered for
more, and he blew dirt a second time,
and it was hotter in spring than it was
in the city.
Now you, Hunt, and pound hell out
of it. Sure, Mac. And he pounded hell
out of it, and went off into something
of his own, and came back again, every
note in the slot. Oh Golden Wedding,
Golden Wedding, glow-worms glowing
what a helluva time we had.
I wants play St. Louis Blues; they
say it can't be done on a fiddle ....Sure
Mac. here it is, G minor, if anybody
can do it you can. -Saint Looie woman
... with her diamond rings .. . She pulls
that man aroun' . . . by her apron
strings . . . Hello Mr. Handy. There's
the tone, pull on it, the solid vibration.
Four fingers falling from H to G try
double-stops it sounds all right. By God,
and there was Paganini, whose fiddle
strings were made from the guts of his
first wife, and he couldn't do any better,
he never even heard of the Saint Looie
woman. Ha. A fiend, no less. He fooled
with the wheels and lost the spokes.
You're O.K. tonight, Mac; I didn't
think you had it inya; kid.
And they went on with some more,
and everybody was having a good time.
It was drawing near the end, now, the
Last half-hour. The crowd dwindled, the
fog of tobacco-smoke thinned, and the
music grew tamer. Things were clearing
up. Finally they played Home, Sweete
Home, first as a waltz, then in 4-4 time,
and it was all over. The four of them
got $7.40 apiece, when everything was
squared up.
Hunt let them out at the gate. No
frogs and crickets now. He could see the
grayish blur on the ground ahead of him
where the planks of the bridge stood out
against the dark dirt of the lane, and he
remembered what Pete Miller the neigh-
bor told him when he was seven years
old. There's a troll under that bridge,
son, so listen now: You wants sneak
over it real soft-like, and when you get
to the last plank. stomp on it and run
like hell.
And so he did, and ran like hell up
the lane.


Open House, by Theodore Roethke
Alfred Knopf, 1941
ITH Open House, Theodore Roeth-
ke adds another volume to the
constantly growing number of books
by University of Michigan graduates.
Mr. Roethke was graduated from the
University in 1929, and is at present
a member of the English Department
at Pennsylvania State College. Open
House, a collection of poems, is his
first book despite the fact that his
poems have been appearing in the
best literary magazines for a number
of years. Whatever periods of appren-
ticeship and development the author
may have lived anc written through,
in this book he writes with firmness
and strength. Open House is finished
mature work.
The poems that comprise the volume
are divided into five sections. The
first group contains a series of some-
what difficult poems-personal poems,

many of them, that hint at private re-
velations concerning the poet which
the reader cannot always grasp. A
second group is made up of poems on
nature and the seasons. and for this
reviewer contains the most enjoyable
pieces. The third group contains once
more personal lyrics, the fourth, light
verse showing a markedly clever vein,
while the last section is varied and
seems to include the most recently
written pieces. There is considerable
range within the seventy pages of the
As a craftsman in verse, Roethke is
entitled to special praise. He is, at
least in this volume, primarily a writer
of lyric poems. Confining himself
largely to straight iambic meter, he
produces .skillfully varied and rhythmi-
cal lines that are deceptive in their
seeming simplicity. In particular, he
is adept at handling stanzas in the
short three and four stress lines, at
keeping them live and supple and avoid-
ing the tendency towards monotony.
His language is simnple, hard, clear, and

sharp. The concluding stanza to "The
Heron" illustrates these virtues in dic-
tion as well as the rigorous selection of
detail by which an effective picture is
He jerks a frog across his bony lip,
The wide wings flap but once to lift
him up.
A single ripple starts from where
he stood.
As might be expected from one who
writes with this sharp lucidity, Roethke
is no conventional romanticist. There
is no extreme subjectivism in his writ-
ing, no play of emotion for emotion's
sake. Rather, he is direct, restrained
-a nice balance of emotion and in-
The content of the volume raises a
question of some interest in our time.
In an age such as outs, what should
a poet write about? Should he deliber-
ately seek out the great issues-war,
social ills, economic and political prob-
lems? Mr. Roethke certainly does not
do this. Only one poem, "Lull," touches
on the war, and that is a general con-

demnation of hatred and its result,
While out of frightened eyes
Still stares the wish to love.
Also, there is no central thought that
integrates the collection of poems. The
author is neither despairing nor optim-
istic about the world in which we live.
He seems to have no comment to make
about it save in the form of lyrics re-
cording separate and particular mo-
ments of experience. If this limita-
tion puts him among the minor con-
temporary writers, it should be said
that he writes well and beautifully of
these moments of experience.
--A. g. Bader
The editors wish to thank Slater's
and Walir's for the losn of books
reviewed in this issue.

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