, , , , , ,

Oh my gosh! This author was hard to track down!!!

Noel Peattie

Noel Peattie was born on November 28, 1932 in Menton, France. He grew up in Santa Barbara, California, graduated from Pomona College in 1954 where he majored in philosophy, and held master’s degrees from Yale (philosophy) and the University of California, Berkeley (library science). He served as Acquisitions Librarian at the University of California, Davis from 1966-1992. A poet, Peattie published Western Skyline, In the Dome of St. Laurence Meteor, King Humble’s Grave and Sweetwater Ranch. He also wrote Sipapu, a review of small press counter-culture literature, which he issued biannually for the library profession. Peattie passed away on January 13, 2005. Source: Noel Peattie Obituary in the Davis Enterprise, January 21, 2005. (http://socialarchive.iath.virginia.edu/ark:/99166/w6jw9gj4)

I liked Peattie’s poem because, though I’ve a few more years to go before I hit 70, I feel pretty like he says in this poem. Then when I was looking for information on him I ran across something that he wrote that I thought was very pertinent for our day and time. He had asked the question, “What kind of society do you want, anyhow?” To which he replied:

“The answer I propose is: that the society I desire, and which, on a universalizing principle, I want for all, is a society which protects, promotes, and honors the inner life.

I would further suggest, is that the demands, heard from pole to pole, for freedom, justice, security, equality, education, a safe environment, and a better life for the world’s children,—are all grounded in, and reach downward to, this elemental human need: silence, solitude, and the right to rule one’s own thoughts: the sanity of the inner life.

And Finally: this inner life, I contend, is an endangered species: assaulted without, and subject to disease within.”


I have to say, I loved what he said about the inner life. I hope you enjoy his poem…

* * * * *

A Difference of Fifty-Three Years

Here is a magazine called Seventeen.
It comes out on the stands every month.
The girl on each cover is welcome
as cherry pie; she’s tubbed, pure,
her hair is up, or ribboned.
Her life is all dresses,
parties, and little pink wishes.
She says to the world, Oh hurry,
hurry up, please, and it does.

Here is a man about seventy.
Why isn’t there a journal called Seventy?
Because he isn’t as welcome;
because nobody wants to be like him.
He says to the world, Slow down;
my flat feet can’t keep up with you.
He whispers, I’m still alive.

But it doesn’t slow down, the world.
It keeps on hurrying; for, see there,
an impatient virgin is waiting.

(Every day, an old man is buried).
Every month, there’s another young girl.