November 25, 1968
"It is a city I love. Flying out today was beautiful. I don't mean the bizarre, macabre beauty of the disintegrating slums, the old fallen splendor, but the subtle beauty of all the suburban ponds and groves, with men solemnly bathing in the early morning and white cranes standing lovely and still amid the lotuses and flying up in twos and threes against the fresh green of the coconut palms. Yet the city, too, its crumbling walls alive with Bengali inscriptions and palimpsets of old movie posters. And the occasional English spire, 18-century domes... I do not tire of Calcutta." AJTM p.171
Merton catches up to his mail, or his mail catches up to him, in Calcutta. His list of correspondence is, of course, long..."There is one from Dom Leclercq... contact prints had come from John Griffin of the photos I had taken in Dharamsala... Mother Myriam Dardenne of the Redwoods... Father Flavian says "Come home if you get sick... Naomi Burton is going ahead with publication of "My Argument With the Gestapo"... The "Time-Life Bible" with my piece in it is coming out after all, so I will have some money. Dan Walsh has sent a big check for my travel fund. Most generous! Bob Lax says Emmett Williams wants some of my stuff for an anthology of concrete poetry. My talk in Bangkok is to be on December 10th..." AJTM pp.171-72
With this the Himalayan portion of Merton's pilgrimage is over. He spends a couple of days in Madras, makes a visit to Ceylon, and is then off to Bangkok via Singapore for a talk he is scheduled to give on December 10th, just over two weeks.
November 25, 1963
Today was the state funeral for President Kennedy. We all had the day off school. I distinctly remember watching the funeral on our black and white TV. A sad day for all...
"Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony."