When I left last year, I left the books I was in the middle of where I had last put them down--one way of making two strands of a life feel connected. Beside my bed, Virginia Woolf's diary, read a long time ago, good bedtime reading. I'm in, I think, 1932, just after she published The Waves. Lytton Strachey has just died, she goes to Greece--for the first time?--with Roger and his sister, and here the entries become much more excited by her discovery of Greece, which she compares to England in the time of Chaucer, and her reflections on beginning to lose friends. She's a wonderful writer, and when she is jarred out of her routine noting of social engagements and her private, writing life, you feel you connect with the source of her life, in ways you don't just reading the day to day chronicle of events and places.

I'm also reading, more closely than before, the poems of a friend with a wonderfully fine, nuanced mind, poems that feel as if a surgeon (the conscious writer) were probing with an instrument the various regions of his brain and recording the images, feelings and thoughts each probe momentarily calls up, poems that are cerebral, but far more. Another thing they make me think of are Piranesi's prisons.