MAY 27, 1955
NEW YORK—Someone gave me the other day a most-imaginative poem written by Josephine Young Case. It is about a part of the country that she knows well. Published back in 1938, I still think it is a book that bears rereading in 1955.
Miss Case calls her poem "At Midnight on the 31st of March." What it recounts is an emergency, an imaginative one, but which tested the calibre of all who lived in the community. In a dream they met this emergency and lived a year, and these are the words that John Herbert, one of the characters who became a leader, spoke on the last night of the year:
Looking into the flame which burned so clear,
"The time has come again. The year is gone.
I do not think my candle will fade out.
We have come closer to the heart of things.
Maybe"—he laughed, and looked out to the night—
"Maybe instead we'll see our lights come on.
Maybe at midnight will our world return,
And all this year become a moment's dream
Which I and others, perhaps only I,
Have dreamed in some few seconds of one night.
And at that hour, when power flows on in lines
Not ever really empty, and below
I hear upon the road the trucks go by,
I will forget, we'll all forget this year
That was a moment's dream of something real."
He stood as still as though he were all thought,
Knowing for one that he was better now
Than on that night a year gone by, more strong,
More able to take hold of life, and joy.
"Maybe," he said again, and shrugged and grinned
And started now for bed. He wound his watch
And saw these hands move slowly onward toward
The midnight of the thirty-first of March.
A similar dream might help us all to meet the present!
I read recently that our government is not going to favor the reform of the calendar because of the feeling that from the religious standpoint many groups would be seriously upset by any change. I realize all the arguments in favor of this change, but I think the arguments against it are the stronger and I am glad we are not going to squabble at length about it.