"I Haven't Written In Vain"---W.H.Auden|
"I assume that all readers of THE NEW YORK REVIEW OF BOOKS know something about the activities of the Catholic Worker movement, even if they have never read its newspaper or visited one of its hostels or communal farms. So, since the philosophical outlook that inspired it was Peter Maurin's Christian 'Personalism,' most of what I have to say will be 'personal' in a lay sense. Let me begin by saying that I am eternally grateful to DorothyDay for conveying to me the nicest poetical compliment I have ever received She had been in iail in the old Women's Prison at Eighth Street and Sixth Avenie (NYC) for protesting against air-raid warnings. There the prisoners got a shower once a week. It so happened that a poem of mine had recently appeared in THE NEW YORKER, of which the last line ran: 'Thousnds have lived without love, not one without water.' One of Dorothy Day's co-in-mates was a whore who went off to her weekly shower quoting it. 'My God,' I thought, 'I haven't written in vain.'"------W.H. Auden, NYRB, Dec. 14, 1972.