All of this flashed through my mind when the waiter said "J'arrive."
Friday, May 6, 2011
FREE ASSOCIATION, PARIS STYLE
Earlier today, Susie and walked up rue des Carmes to the Pantheon, then down rue Soufflot to the Jardin du Luxembourg. Before going into the Jardin, we stopped at a cafe for coffee. When we were ready to move on, I motioned to the waiter to come and collect my money, and he said, "J'arrive," which is to say, in effect, "I'll be right there." This reminded me, by the quirks of association of which Freud made such effective use, of a line from a poem by the UMass Professor of English who for nine years was my next door neighbor in Northampton, MA. Bob Bagg is a poet and a translator of Greek plays. He graduated from Amherst College many years ago, and married the cello playing daughter of a Smith College music professor, whose widow passed on the family home to him and Sally and their five children. The Godfather of all Amherst College poets is of course, Robert Frost, after whom the college library is named. His first heir, as it were, was Richard Wilbur, with whose wife I danced on New Year's Eve, 1954, in the American Academy in Rome. [She rather teasingly pressed her supple body against mine, which made quite an impression on me, let me tell you!] Bob was, in effect, the heir to the heir -- another in the line of tall, handsome Amherst poets. Bob and Sally's third child, Jonathan, is now a professional violist who plays with the Ciompi, a quarter in residence at Duke University.