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In Other Words

“I am an unabashed lover of all things UMass, including UMass magazine. But I’ve got to say that your 'Interview with a Falcon' [Summer 2016] was one of the most interesting pieces I’ve read over the years. Creative, humorous, and educational—and I enjoyed it tremendously. Thanks . . . and GO UMass!”
Kevin J. Garganta ’75
Assonet, Massachusetts

Beach Basics

I found your story about the UMass geoscience students studying the sand budgets of several Massachusetts beaches [“Sand vs. Sea,” Summer 2016] interesting on several levels. Their work is an excellent field study for future sedimentologists, but I suspect it will not yield much new knowledge.

I worked as a field assistant for another PhD student doing a similar study of beach profiles the winter of 1969–70. We were part of a fairly large group of sedimentology students under Professor Miles Hayes. He and his students published several detailed studies of beach dynamics in the early 1970s as products of the Coastal Studies Institute. For my part, every weekend for a year I visited and profiled five beaches: Salisbury, Massachusetts; Hampton and Rye, New Hampshire; and York and Wells, Maine. Other students were studying Plum Island and Monomoy Island.

Beaches are interesting. Finer sand makes flat beaches, while coarser sand makes steeper beaches. Winter storms erode beaches, moving the sand offshore into longshore bars. These, in turn, resupply the depleted winter beaches during calmer summer weather. Longshore currents move sand laterally until interrupted by barriers such as inlets or groins. Unfortunately, beach management efforts nearly always create more erosion problems than they solve, and they are prohibitively expensive. Natural beaches are healthy; developed beaches never are.

James W. Mulholland ’75PhD
Granby, Colorado

 


UMASS Proud

Kudos to the editors and writers for the Summer 2016 issue of UMass magazine.  One of your finest efforts.

I await the publication of each issue with anticipation because I know I will always, and I mean always, learn new and exciting things about my alma mater and my fellow alumni.

This year I am observing 50 years since I received my degree, and I am in awe over how UMass has grown in stature and in what the campus has become. Living in Concord, which is only 75 miles from Amherst, I have come “home” to UMass many, many times for sporting events, concerts, etc. On occasion, I have, on the spur of the moment, gotten in the car and driven back to simply walk the campus and marvel at the transformation since I was a freshman in 1962. And, with each visit, my admiration and love for my school grows stronger.

To the staff of the magazine, keep up the excellent work. Inquiring minds want to know.

Brian Silman ’66
Concord, Massachusetts

 


Loving Leon

Thank you for your interview with Donna Leon [“Blunt Force,” Summer 2016]. I have read every Commissario Guido Brunetti book she has written. I would also like to add her latest, The Waters of Eternal Youth, to the list of her best books.

I eagerly await the publication of her next book. Brava!!!

Joyce Wagner ’71, ’72G
Northridge, California

 

I’m surprised Donna Leon didn’t include the irritating “up-talk” paramecium that has invaded our speech. Great article. Thank you for publishing it.

Marilyn Day
Westford, Massachusetts

 


A True Gift

I was delighted to read that Diana Mara Henry had made a gift of her iconic photos of the women’s movement to the UMass Rising campaign [“UMass Rising,” Summer 2016].

Though we had never met Diana before, my family had the privilege of staying in her home in Springfield when we gathered there for my mother’s funeral in 2000. Diana was a kind and gracious hostess. I remember sitting down for breakfast in her dining room, becoming aware of the photos on her walls, and rising to study them. They gave me such a close look at the strong, determined women involved in the women’s movement.

My daughter Kari had several conversations with Diana about her photos, the book she was putting together, and her concerns about what should eventually be done with her photos. Within the year, she had sent Kari a copy of her book of photos. She also encouraged Kari to continue writing.

Our family would like her to know her kindness to us was much appreciated. I also want her to know that I am so pleased that she has seen fit to make UMass a gift of her photos.

Britt C. Cain ’67
Austin, Texas

 


soaring POETRY

Letter from UMass Alumni '42

The article on “Interview with a Falcon” triggered a memory of a poem I wrote many years ago. I had been sick and frightened by the doctors’ diagnosis that I’d be in and out of the hospital the rest of my life. I was about forty then. Interested in meditation, I started to practice Transcendental Meditation—and I began to mend. I could hear the falconer—my center no longer fell apart. I made liars of the doctors…what a joy! I am now ninety-five and still teaching not only French and English, my majors, but of all things—Tai Chi which I learned twenty-five years ago. Perhaps I should add that I started the first dance club at UMass (Aggie in my day) and did choreography and performed at Bowker, etc. Please do what you like with enclosures. Perhaps my recovery will give HOPE to someone struggling.

GGE
CLASS OF 1942

Read the two poems submitted by GGE below.

“The Second Coming,” by William Butler Yeats

Turning and turning in the widening gyre   
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart;
the center cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, 
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere   
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst   
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.   
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out   
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi 
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert   
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,   
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,   
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it   
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.   
The darkness drops again; but now I know   
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,   
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,   
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
​​​

And here is GGE’s answer to Yeats. She says, “I wrote this poem more as an amanuensis than a poet, in one sitting.” 

Turning and turning in the widening gyre 
The falcon can hear the falconer 
Whistling and beckoning him 
To join the eagles and the hawks—those 
Who dare to fly high and expand 
The seeming boundaries of the sky. 

Things no longer fall apart 
The centre does hold 
And those who vision 
And are bold, stretch 
Their cosmic arms
And embrace the universe.
The cosmic kiss sweetens the world
And the cosmic laughter pours a gentle
Rain that blesses all mankind.
The cosmic love unites heaven and earth,
Tightens the centre and radiates
An invisible, orderly beauty. 

A unifying harmony that orchestrates
The parts into a melodious whole. 

Music is “loosed” upon the world,
The tides swell with sweetness 
And ceremonies of innocence are everywhere 
Celebrated. The best 
Are confident and full 
Of joyful promise; the worst 
Are fading out of sight. 

Yes, some revelation is at hand,
Yes, the Second Coming is at hand, 
Yes, the Second Coming is birthing in 
The Transcendent and now sings 
In the atmosphere. 

The vast image of Spiritus Mundi
Has come out of hiding; It is abroad
In the world as Jederman’s inner
Christ, blossoming like a fragrant rose.

Each of us is a messiah; 
He is not out there, Elepherios, 
The white-robed Deliverer— 
He, the messiah, is within, 
Deep, deep within, and in 
The warmth of the inward journey 
He wakes, begins to pulse 
And bloom, resurrected and 
Ascending to the lips of man 
After the cruel crucifixion  
Of noisy and corrupt disbelief. 

The vast image is not a lion 
Nor a man, but a wave of sweetness, 
A fresh, wholesome sweetness 
Pervasive, tactile, even 
Palpable under the warm
Compassionate sun. 
In the forests and on the deserts 
Birds dossie dos, 
Light melts the darkness 
And now I know 
That twenty centuries of stony sleep 
Are cradled awake by a  
Single collective glow—Jederman 
Murmuring ancient syllables 
That burst into light, gentle
Feux d’artifice healing volcanic ruptures. 

The “rough beast” in man

The Second Coming

Has been transformed 
By sweet sound: 
The kiss of song within the “rough beast” 
Is giving birth to the Prince— 
Not a myth but a reality, 
Not in a manger but in every humbled heart 
The “rough beast” is no more, 
Beauty, transcendent beauty has kissed 
Him awake— 
His sloth and false fur shed, 
The messiah now leaps like light 
Within Jederman 
A new, true Lucifer, 
Light not stolen but 
Sung into existence. 
The faint pulse of light grows 
To a cosmic wave of effulgent 
Alleluias. 

Jederman is a new Prometheus,
Unbound 

—GGE