May 18th 1948
DELASEM / Sit down, you say, stand still and you will learn some
things about this war. Don’t believe everything you want to believe
because you are a British officer, an Irish poet. / When I moved from
Bordeaux to the Haute Savoie it was not a good time. / I carried ink and
type to that Doctor of Judaism, Father Marie-Benoit: such a man, in a
damp cellar in a monastery of Marseilles. A Capuchin, of course, they
are always up to something daft. But hundreds crossed into the Italian
zone, and hundreds more to Switzerland and Spain. / How strange it
was that we should meet at Camberley as I spoke about the Madonna in
the art of the Veneto. Believe me, every girl of the Veneto is beautiful
and deserves to be the Mother of God/ Your face lit up when I said that.
I was sure you were a Catholic, instead of the Church of Ireland agnos-
tic that you are, believer only in the sacredness of psalms and poems. /
Where did you learn all those ancient prayers? / Now the Communists
here in St. Remo attack Pius XII, but Pius told Lospinoso to keep his
mouth shut, and through this the rescue went on. I’ve seen the estimates
/ 50,000 souls, but thousands lost. / Blame Europe, Mister Geraldine,
don’t blame poor Pius. Even the Regime Fascista attacked my Church
for obstructing the Final Solution, for that crime against a New Europe.
/ Beware, dear poet, of this phrase, The New Europe. I’m beginning to
hear it again. / Diplomats of the Hospice Santa Marta signed 6,000
passports. And my countryman, the Primo Notario, has played a
wondrous game. / Ah, such coffee! Such a joy to see Italy rise again.
Here is my medallion from the late Cardinal Boetto: Ne pereant proba-
tiones. / God willing, all who survived will make a Holy Land.