Haines falls, N.Y.
14. September. 1927
Margaret dear, I am so glad you have run away from the City1 for a while—and that you have somewhere to run to. It is absolutely necessary to the artist, writer, creator, as a self-protective measure. Else he would be smothered by the mass,—with its "mass production". (Incidentally—what a travesty of creation mass production is! The individual worker reduced to a zero.) And I should be delighted to share your brief outing, if I might. Vain wishes alone are vain. But some wishes, clearly conceived and deliberately held, are always accomplishable. Is it not so? I am not fretful, therefore, at delays. As John Burroughs says, "I know my own will come to me."2 And your own will go to you. Therefore be very careful how you wish, precious Margaret. For if these two wishes should chance to be identical, there would inevitably result an ecstatic cataclysm of nature somewhere between the two wishing points. This is notall jest. If it were I wouldn’t say it. Not to you.
In reverting to Krishna,3 I like what you say about Messiahs and mothers. Also I am glad you recognize the near-impossibility of devoting a life to creative undertaking in both physical and spiritual realms.4 Almost a super-human task. I neverdeliberately avoided domestic responsibilities. But I did instinctively, as I see now. If I had acquired a family, I would have passed out long ago. I could never have supported them. I have hardly succeded in supporting myself. And the shame, worry, and despair of that failure would have killed me, as it has killed many hardier men than I.
O yes, my dear, "Swing in your own orbit," as our radiant friend said.5 Stick to the creative, if it proves to be your calling, as it seems to be. And leave the procreative to others. Few people understand how closely these two purposes are linked in the essence of humanity. It is very difficult however to exercise them both in one life time. But don’t avoid love. Only distil it with spiritual creations. Masterpieces are almost as rare as messiahs. And though less godlike are still very needful. I don’t think we shall be taken to task at the last for neglecting our duties to the race.
This is all rather pedantic, I fear. But it is true. Only—just here in the conversation I should want to kiss your cheek—both cheeks— and beg to be restored a proper status of delightful human companionship. For youare a generous dear. You give so liberally of your precious time and thought, and I value it all enormously. Such understanding is so terribly rare in life. There are doubtless many who know. But one so seldom meets them.
It is a heavenly September day in the mountains, and I am thankful for the serene beauty of it.8 and the first five of six other early books.9 But don’t buy it. You shall have it. Behind the Arras is out of print and hard to get.10 But it is included in the Two Volume Collected Poems.11
Oyes, Margaret, I love being Carman to you. Or anything else you choose.
My first name (of the two usual ones)12 I was always called at home as a boy and often since by certain intimates. My Vancouver family the Fewsters13 always call me that. But I don’t care for it much simply as a name. It never seems to fit me really. I have had many familiar more-or-less intimate names. But what I often think I need is a new name. Do you know all about that mystery of the New Name? Where does one get it—if not in being admitted to some Indian tribe? If I could be endowed with a new magical name, perhaps I could get away from my old tiresome evil self and write all new, in a new style, wondrous new beautiful things.
With dear love to you
P.S. The writer of the foregoing epistle is commonly so known, but is really anonymous!