Middlebury, Vermont
May 21, 1943
Selection (2 p.) from typed manuscript. RBMS / C-4 / Cook, Reginald Lansing, 1903 – 1984 / Verbatim, vol. 1.

When I returned from my walk, hot and sweaty, Frost was sitting in a chair in the front room. After a drink of Pepsi-Cola we went downtown to shop, first at Wood's Market, next at the Grand Union, then at Marshall's Hardware Store, and finally at Durfee and Waite's furniture store. We drove down to the Eastern State's Farmer's Exchange where he bought a couple of bags of grain, and to Concetto Paulino's greenhouse where he bought two boxes of petunias. He was interested in Paulino and in Mr. Parent, who had dropped in to buy some young plants. We stopped to look over the falls at the bridge when we were first downtown, and as he looked at the water thundering over and the whirlpool racing around below the falls, he wondered "how the banks could ever hold the rivers in leash."

As we passed the Congregational Church, he said, "I don't go to church but I look in the windows," (i.e., he knows what's going on inside the church—in religion). He praised Churchill; struck out at Stalin, whom he thought would probably wait patiently to get from the U.S. what others like Trotsky, for example, would get only by impatience. He was upset at Robert Dragon, who is supposed to plough his garden, because he goes fishing on the first sunshiny day rather than stick to his job. But he was amused at the Dragons who are having a big pre-wake celebration in anticipation of the death of the old man. The latter has been dying these many months.

I drove him up to the Homer Noble farm. At the turn-off, by the mail box, he got out to recover his rubbers and topcoat hidden in the wayside bushes. We fed and watered the chickens, fetched wood, hefted the bags of grain, and then went inside to talk. He had a stack of books and among these was T.S. Eliot's Four Quartets.

He first asked me to read and discuss it, but I deferred to him. He read here and there, especially from "East Coker," and what a job he did on it: He analyzed its structure, word usage, thought content, examining it closely. Certainly he made it seem like very inferior poetry—very decadent.