Lacquered mandarin moments,npalanquins swaying andnbalancingnAmid the vermilion pavilions,nagainst the jade balustrades.nGlint of the glittering wings ofndragon-flies in the light:nSilver filaments, golden flakesnsettling downwards.nRippling, quivering flutters,nrepulse and surrender,nThe sun broidered upon thenrain.nThe rain rustling with the sun.nHere again the too-much-of-a-muchnessncloys; and yet the poem is anvaluable experiment. I find that many ofnFletcher’s poems spring to life whennread aloud, so that their rhythm can benfelt and their vowels sounded. Thesentwo lines (from “Green Symphony”)nmake good “poetry in the mouth”:nThe trees lash the sky with theirnleaves.nUneasily shaking their darkngreen manes.nBut I must say that I think, too, thatnpassages in his Autobiography are betternpoetry than many of Fletcher’snpoems. His recollection of pre-WarnLondon reflects his broad awareness ofn”The lights going out in Europe,” thenlosses of the Great War as he knewnthem both in that city and on thencontinent:nHow remote is that day to usnnow! … It was the day whennthe Derby and Ascot still had anmeaning to all Englishmen asngreat social functions; the seasonnof horse coaches, withnscarlet-clad footmen and coachnhorns, running down to thenracecourses; the hour when thenflower stalls of Piccadilly Circus,nnow, I believe, banished,nblossomed forth in new andnmore incredible colors; the timenwhen Caruso and Melba sangnnightly at Covent Garden . . .nthe moment of the Royal Navalnand Military Display atnRichmond, of the “Trooping ofnthe Color” in St. James Park, ofnthe Flower Show at ChelseanHospital. The natural stiffnessnand cori-ectitude of Englishndeportment then unbent;ncontrasts of wealth and ofnsqualor were more cunninglynblended; the grimiest and thendingiest, the most dignified andnthe most absurd, thenworst-planned and yet the mostnlovable of Europe’s great cities,ntook on new life and color, asnthe great clouds, blown by thensouthwest wind past Land’s Endnand Portland, up the Channel,nwere tinged with blue smokenand the gold of midsummernsunlight while they soared overnthe chimney-potted rooftops.nIn other eloquent passages of evocationnand memory, Fletcher’s rich descriptionsnof performances of Stravinsky’s LenSacre du printemps and of Mahler’snDas Lied von der Erde must be amongnthe best responses to those modernistnmasterpieces. Having himself beennthoroughly steeped in the advancednartistic circles of that time, he showednwhat it meant to be aware of annintellectual revolution while it was happening,njust before the War.nWhat’s more, Fletcher’s Autobiographyngives us much of what we looknfor in a work of that genre — personalnrevelation as well as intellectual history.nHis stories of falling in love with thentwo married women who were to becomenhis wives—the major emotionalnengagements of his life—are intensenand moving accounts, being the fascinatingnconfessions of a lonely soul.nFletcher’s celebration of his love fornand marriage to Charlie May Simon isnsadly undercut, however, by our externalnknowledge that even such a lovencould not save him from the mentalncondition that drove him to suicide.nBecause he was often the man whonwas there in some strategic episodesnof literary history, Fletcher’s Autobiographynwill always have somenreaders. But his narrative of his own lifendeserves many more readers than thosenwho want to go over the ground of oldnliterary wars. Fletcher’s own story is anninstructive, reflective chronicle of hisnintellectual quest, his search for beautynand authenticity, and his emotionalnand spiritual adventures, from LittlenRock to London and back. Fletchernbecame a sophisticated regionalist, anlocal globalist, a man for whom charity,nfinally, began at home. After all hisnAUDIOnCASSETTE!nSend fornsample ofnAUDIO DIGESTna monthlyndiscussionnof issues bynprominentnmedia andnthoughtnleaders!nAUDIO DIGESTnBox 6 Springfield, Va. 22150nAudio DigestnBox 6 Springfield, Va. 22150nSend free cassette to:nNamenAddressnCitynState…..nZipnnnOr send $29.90 for anone year subscription.nMoney-back guarantee!nNOVEMBER 1989/33n