ding of a young British Empire. “ThernBamboo Flute” is the imaginary correspondencernof two painters, John Zoffanyrnand Tilly Kettle, who emigrated to Indiarnsome 50 years later, when the Britishrnwere just consolidahng their control ofrnthe subcontinent and the romance of thernRaj was seducing them.rnIn this poem, Hope depicts a meetingrnof cultures still new and strange to eachrnother as the painter Zoffany queries hisrncolleague Kettle about India. Zoffany isrnpreparing to emigrate after a disgrace atrnthe court, where hi^ royal portrait hadrnbeen poorly received. Kettle has alreadyrnspent time in India and returned to makerna name for himself with exotic orientalrnsubjects. Hope contrives two letters inrnwhich the painters discourse amiablyrnabout art while relating respective professionalrnsuccesses and woes. A third letterrnbriefly introduces Zoffany to a colonialrnofficial and affords a glimpse of lifernamong these expatriates so far from theirrnhomes. But the fourth and longest letterrnis very different. Now in India for somerntime, Zoffany has dabbled in its languages,rnarts, and religion, to which hernfeels himself increasingly drawn, untilrnone night something very peculiar happens.rnZoffany receives a visit from a mysteriousrnartist with a sheaf of Indian paintings.rnThe stranger says he had oncerncalled on Kettle, during the latter’s sojournrnin India. Kettle had proven unreceptive.rnMaybe, the stranger suggests,rnZoffany would understand better if hernheard the folktale which inspired one ofrnthese scenes. It was the story of the godrnKrishna who, enchanted by the sight ofrnthree milkmaids bathing in a river, ravishedrnthem with the sound of his flute.rnHere were the Sirens of another culture;rnyet they were mute, and it was Krishnarnwho sang, with his Orphic (and phallic)rninstrument. So Hope, through the wordsrnof Zoffany’s visitor, takes his readers intornan extraordinary meditation on art andrnpoetry as conduits to the divine:rn”Now, sir, that is the tale we lovernand know.rnIt tells more tlian the brush itselfrncan show;rnBut what it does not tell you mustrnfind out.rnYou think it a crude folk-tale now,rnno doubt.rnPointless, perhaps, and unbecomingrnand oddrnTo all your Western notions of arngod.rnBut to us Hindoos here, it has anrnendrnBeyond itself and meanings whichrnextendrnUp to the heights of man’s philosophy.rnHere is a simple one for you to see:rnYou are a painter. Let this mythrnimpartrnA parable of the artist and his artrnAnd those who view his work; butrnit is truernOf the composer and the poet too.rnAs the god had to see the milkmaidsrnnudernIn absolute nakedness, the poetrnshouldrnView nature, see into the heart ofrnthingsrnAnd show them to themselves inrnall he sings.rnAnd as the milk-maids danced forrnhim alone.rnEach poem is a tryst with the unknown;rnNaked we meet him in his nakedness:rnThe divine music asks of us nornless.rnTill we become the melody within.rnNow, if you think this way, yournmay beginrnTo see our Indian painting withrnnew eyes.”rnHe paused and smiled and then, tornmy surprisernHolding me with his gaze, itrnseemed he grewrnLarger and all his body turned darkrnblue.rnYou will scarce credit this, but, sir,rnI swearrnQuite suddenly, he was no longerrntherernAnd all the sounds of night andrnman were muternExcept the faint strains of a distantrnflute.rnThe visitor is Krishna himself, vouchsafingrnthe foreigner a glimpse of India’srnvery essence. So we come the long wayrnback to Keats, whose theory of “negativerncapability” offered the poet as a passivernvessel for insights from some ineffablernand indefinable source. Hope proposesrnquite a different view in The New Cratylus,rnwhere he contrasts dreamy works likernColeridge’s “Kubla Khan” with the tediouslyrnself-conscious artifice of somern17th and 18th-century Pindaric odes.rnHope concludes that neither the spontaneityrnof the dreamer nor the consciousrncontrol of the craftsman can produce thernfinest poetry unaided. Instead, great poetryrnsprings from the complex interplayrnbetween a subconscious element herncalls “dream work” and the directed effortrnof craft. Moreover, Hope refines thernnotion of negative capability to includernsuch impersonal sources as history andrnscience, which can be incorporated byrnthe poetic imagination.rnThough Keats was himself a consummaterncraftsman, his argument for selfnegationrnthrough immersion in the sensesrnhas helped to lure generations of poetsrnaway from craft and deeper into the mirernof self-absorption. Solipsism among poetsrnand other artists has in turn renderedrnthe 20th century more vulnerable to therntotalitarian impulse, which is nothingrnbut selfishness writ large and projectedrnon society (pace Ayn Rand). At century’srnend, Hope has afforded us tlie antidote ofrnhis thoughtful prose and the living bequestrnof his poetr’.rnAlan Sullivan is a poet and critic livingrnin America’s Outhack, North Dakota.rnPOLITICSrnSixty-Eightersrnby Tomislav SunicrnFrom the United States to France,rnfrom Germany to England, thernpost-World War II generation is nowrnrunning the show. They have traded inrntheir jeans and sneakers for politicalrnpower. Thirty years ago, they rocked thernboat at Berkeley, in Paris, and in Berlin;rnthey marched against U.S. involvementrnin Vietnam, and supported the Yugoslavrndictator, Josip Broz Tito, and his “socialismrnwith a human face.” They made pilgrimagesrnto Hanoi, Havana, and Belgrade,rnand many of them dressed in thernVietcong’s garb, or Mao’s clothes. A certainrnbimbo named Jane Fonda even paidrna courtesy visit to North Vietnam andrnposed for a photo-op with her rear on arncommunist howitzer. This generationrnprotested against their wealthy parents,rnyet they used their fathers’ money to destroyrntheir own welfare state. A burningrn44/CHRONICLESrnrnrn